The F-Pattern: User Interface Design for Scanning Websites

It is not uncommon for web users to scan websites rather than read them from top to bottom. Captivating users with content is difficult and chances are they are not going to read an entire article. They are more likely to skim a page searching for highlighted keywords, informative titles, and lists. For the best results, it is essential to make your content scannable.

What is the F-Pattern?

The F-Pattern is a common type of layout used by content-rich websites such as news sites or blogs. It follows the most common user eye-scanning patterns. Readers tend to scan a web page horizontally across the top of the screen, then a vertical line down the left side of the screen, and then they read the screen normally from left-to-right. This creates an F-pattern.

How to Effectively Use the F-Pattern

You will want to place your most important information across the top of the page. This includes your logo which is typically placed in the top left corner. It is also a good idea to place your navigation along the top of the screen as well. Users are usually searching for key information such as “Help”, “Pricing” or “Contact” pages.

Users will then tend to drop down along the left vertical side of the screen so placing key elements here are also helpful. Keep in mind that users tend to leave a page within 3 seconds if they haven’t found what they are looking for. Breaking up your page about every third row of content with an advertisement, graphic, or call-to-action can help break up the monotony and grab the reader’s attention.

Using the F-pattern in your layout helps readers to follow your content naturally as they skim the page. By placing important information in the most commonly viewed areas, you are not only helping the reader to find what they are in search of, you are also helping to increase your conversion rate.

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