How Readers Read Websites
A fellow we've often called the smartest guy on the internet - the user interface expert Jakob Nielsen - has released some details from his latest study on how website visitors read websites.
F for fast. That's how users read your precious content.
How do they scan?
Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F's top bar.
So, what does this mean for you?
Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Exhaustive reading is rare, especially when prospective customers are conducting their initial research to compile a shortlist of vendors. Yes, some people will read more, but most won't.
The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. There's some hope that users will actually read this material, though they'll probably read more of the first paragraph than the second.
Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your content in the final stem of their F-behavior. They'll read the third word on a line much less often than the first two words.
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