A key part of creating a website that works for your business is offering a positive user experience. This means designing a website that's easy for users to navigate through without being distracted by clutter. Aesthetics come into play through the use of captivating images and attractive fonts that lure the reader in. However, a website design that takes into consideration how the human eye will process the content on the web pages is another critical component of creating a website that will produce results for your business.
Studies indicate that there are two basic reading patterns for cultures that read left to right. Here's a look at each of these reading patterns and how they can impact website design:
1. The F-Pattern
When viewing a text-heavy website, the majority of people will follow an F-shaped pattern when processing information. The reader will first scan a vertical line down the left side of the text to look for keywords or points of interest in the first sentences of paragraphs. If something intrigues them, they'll continue to read normally across a horizontal line. As a result, the eyes move in an F-shaped pattern.
If you're designing a web page that has a lot of text, you should know that your website visitors are more likely to scan the text than read it. Because of this, start paragraphs, subheadings, and bullet points with relevant keywords that will draw your audience in.
2. The Z-Pattern
Many web pages are not centered on the text. In these scenarios, the human eye follows a Z-pattern when processing information. First, the website visitor will scan a horizontal line across the top of the page for the menu bar. Once the eye reaches the end of the horizontal line, it shoots down left and repeats a horizontal search on the bottom of the page.
A reader is most likely to use the Z-pattern to process a more simple website design where the call-to-action is the main takeaway. Some best practices for designing a website to appeal to readers that use the Z-pattern include placing the logo design on the top left-hand side of the page, adding a colorful call-to-action at the top right-hand side of the page, and situating the primary call-to-action at the bottom right-hand side of the page.
By predicting how the human eye will process your website design, you'll be much more effective with converting visitors and having a website that truly works for your business.