The F-Shaped Reading Pattern

Posted: 9/08/2010

Ever heard about the F-shaped pattern that readers usually follow while navigating your web page?

A very interesting article by Jakob Nielson brings an insight of how users behave while reading your blog or web site.

According to their eye-tracking study, reader's eyes follow an F-shaped pattern concentrating more on certain areas on your webpage and thereby turning a blind eye towards the remaining space. "Eye tracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by vertical stripe." summarizes Jakob.

A Brief Overview
  • On a web page, the first horizontal line/part catches the eye first, therefore your first paragraph will be read the most. This is the top bar of the letter 'F'.
  • Then the readers come a little lower, focusing on the second horizontal part of your webpage covering smaller area as compared to the previous one. Thereby, forming the second bar of the letter 'F'. Although the distance between the two bars may vary. 
  • The third step is vertical visualization, which according to Jakob is a "systematic scan" forming the stem of the letter 'F'. 
  • The first two paragraphs of your webpage are the most crucial, because visitors don't read your content throughly. To make your content noticeable, try to incorporate maximum information in sub-titles, bullet points or paragraphs. 
Interestingly, according to Eye tracking Studies, on an average, users have time to read only 28% of words while visiting your webpage.  

Click on this link to learn more about Jakob's study on F-shaped pattern for reading. 

You can also download a free pdf version of this article.
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8 Responses to 'The F-Shaped Reading Pattern'

  1. Anonymous Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2010/09/f-shaped-reading-pattern.html?showComment=1310274480089#c5578555621254896757'> July 9, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    You mean people read English left to right and top to bottom? And their attention span diminishes over time spent on the article? How novel!


  2. Anonymous Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2010/09/f-shaped-reading-pattern.html?showComment=1310299488324#c3516663154269427933'> July 10, 2011 at 5:04 AM

    DING DING DING we have a winner!


  3. Anonymous Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2010/09/f-shaped-reading-pattern.html?showComment=1310321208609#c1210794336266610236'> July 10, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    The wiki page is read like an F, because theres blank space in between the top and middle bar


  4. Jean Paldan Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2010/09/f-shaped-reading-pattern.html?showComment=1328874356298#c7696710391553232144'> February 10, 2012 at 4:45 AM

    I show this to clients all the time. It's fantastic. Thanks. x


  5. David Matusz Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2010/09/f-shaped-reading-pattern.html?showComment=1328923894027#c7356456056695419940'> February 10, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Interesting...good post Jakob


  6. Ejunkieblog Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2010/09/f-shaped-reading-pattern.html?showComment=1329119003401#c3429284863868305599'> February 13, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    It is a fascinating fact about reading patterns. :)


  7. Ejunkieblog Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2010/09/f-shaped-reading-pattern.html?showComment=1329119041467#c8207574253256666239'> February 13, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    It sure is a very interesting research by Jakob.


  8. Ronaldo Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2010/09/f-shaped-reading-pattern.html?showComment=1342698880948#c9049425248232439101'> July 19, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    Thank you.


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