Study Reveals Content is Viewed in F-Shaped Pattern

Understanding how users view websites is among the most important tasks for designers.

Creating a perfect website where every aspect, feature and piece of content receives the same amount of attention is virtually impossible. For this reason, it is important for designers to understand users habits while viewing websites in order to figure out where they are looking most.

Nielsen Norman Group, an evidence-based user experience research, training and consulting group, conducted a study back in 2006 in which it found that users view a webpage in an F-shaped pattern.

In the study, Nielsen looked at how 232 users viewed at a variety of websites and discovered a dominant reading patter which looked similar to an F-shaped pattern. Nielsen discovered that users typically have two horizontal reading movements and then vertically scan the left side of the content area which creates a rough F-shaped pattern.