F-shaped pattern for reading: what is it and how to use
There may be billions of people in the world but we are not all that different. We are very similar in some ways, which helps content producers or those who are investing in interactive marketing to adapt their creations to the most widely-known traces. Have you ever heard of the F-shaped pattern for reading?
Different pieces of media are read differently. Consider how you read a book or an academic paper. You patiently go from page to page, reading every word, right? However, it seems that we are in a rush when reading web content. We want to get to the main bits quickly.
The F-shaped pattern for reading is a handy tool that will help you structure your web content in a way that is adapted to your target audience’s expectations. By improving their experience, your odds of success increase dramatically.
- What is the F-shaped pattern and how was it invented?
- Why is the F-shaped pattern useful?
- How to fit your website into the F-shaped pattern?
What is the F-shaped pattern and how was it invented?
Thanks to all the technology we have available on the web, it is possible to track how readers consume content online in quite literal terms. This means we have information on how our eyes travel through a page while searching for the information the visitor is looking for — they are called heat maps.
Such results gave us the concept of the F-shaped pattern for reading. The analysis showed that people usually read the first few lines of content while looking for what they need. Then, they scan the lower portion of the page until deciding on what to do next. This forms the shape of a letter F.
The most important piece of information to take from this is that not everyone will consume all the content in your web pages. People do not read them like books, so you cannot treat them as so. You can improve the user experience of your website by anticipating this behavior and making it easier.
Why is the F-shaped pattern useful?
The design of your content can be highly improved by the right UX decisions. This includes using the F-shaped pattern to organize your page in a way that is easily read by your visitors. Otherwise, they might want to leave and not come back.
Below are the main reasons why working with the F-shaped pattern is useful to your business.
You probably want to deliver a positive experience to your audience, right? That is the best way to make them happy and contribute toward the results you aim to reach. Also, a comfortable read is more likely to be consumed in full, so that means your work will not be wasted.
Designing for comfort is one of the most important principles of good UX, which should govern your entire web experience.
Proper content prioritization
When you have lots of information to display at once, it might get difficult to prioritize. In these situations, it is quite valuable to obtain information on exactly how that content will be read. That is exactly what the F-shaped pattern does.
Think of a news website cover. It has all those links to pieces from different subjects that fight for the user’s attention. By learning about the F-shaped pattern, you can build that section in a way that the visitor properly perceives it.
Optimization for scanning
The harsh truth of online content publishing is this: not everyone will read what you wrote. Most people will skim and scan, looking for the exact piece of information they need and leave. Since you cannot fight this nature, you can at least help them be satisfied with your content.
That is what the F-shaped pattern is for. By optimizing your content to be appropriately scanned by the visitors, you have bigger odds of pleasing them. This might be critical to obtaining their preference in future visits.
How to fit your website into the F-shaped pattern?
Now that you know the advantages of the F-shaped pattern, you are probably interested in using it on your website, right? The process is quite simple but it may require lots of work depending on the current state of your content. However, the benefits will be felt quite quickly.
In the following topics, there are the best ways to work with the F-shaped pattern on your website.
Organize your writing
Since the F-shaped pattern relates deeply to how a piece of content is consumed, you need to make sure it is written appropriately. This means creating your blog posts, news pieces, and others to be easily scanned by your visitors.
Make sure you include the most important pieces of information at the top. Also, use the correct hierarchy to organize the rest of your post. You can bold some sections to attract your user’s eyes and try other resources like bullet points or lists.
Create proper headings and subheadings
Web standards have helped us come up with a universal structure to organize our content in ways that are supported by all browsers and readers. That is the case of headings and subheadings, that help with the hierarchy of your content and create more F-shaped patterns inside your page.
You can see an example of headings and subheadings in this very article. See how each section is carefully divided? This helps the reader navigate, decreasing the odds of them feeling overwhelmed and aimless even when working with interactive marketing.
Cut unnecessary parts
Thinking of the F-shaped pattern also helps you cut what is unnecessary off your content. Use this format to take a look at your pages and see if some blocks or pieces obstruct your reader’s ability to move in an F-shaped way.
This helps streamline your design and make sure that each element on your page contributes to a good experience for your visitor. Therefore, their overall impression of your content and your business will improve.
Considering the F-shaped pattern for reading is a great way to adapt your content to your reader’s behavior. Knowing how this concept works is a great way to provide a better UX for your audience. Now, it is time to make a content marketing assessment and find all the bits that need adapting to your website. Consider the tips on this article and jump-start your strategy.
The F-shaped pattern derives from performance data, which helps plan your steps. Learn about other important metrics that you can use to measure your success in this blog post.