All about the ‘F’ Factor in Web Design

Web designer working on business websiteSuccessful web design is more than a good mix of the aesthetic details—colors, images, and typefaces. Sometimes, it takes a bit of science to pull it off. According to eye-tracking studies, web visitors have a specific behavior when consuming content on sites. Experts explain that readers scan content in an F-pattern layout.

How the Eyes Move

Across different sites, web users’ eyes tend to land first on the top of the page to see the headlines, reading content in a horizontal movement. Then, they will move down the page a bit, and then continue on scanning horizontally. Lastly, they will go towards the left side of the page in a vertical movement. This could be either a slow type of scanning, reading thoroughly the content, or a quick skimming.

When you check out heat map studies, the eye movements aren’t as straightforward and clean-cut as described here, but as you would notice, they form the letter “F,” thus the label “F-pattern.”

What This Means

Web design agencies like XXIIBrands note that the best way to plan your site is to plot design elements with the F-pattern flow in mind. Given that the top portion of the page attracts eyeballs first, you want to place your best content here, with an eye-catching detail on the left corner. So, you can create a banner of the brand promise at the top part of the site, while your company logo is on the left side. You also want to put the search bar at the top, usually at the far right, so users can easily look for what they’re looking for when they land on your page.

As the users move down to the page and then read horizontally again, you want to hold their interest by introducing visual variations to avoid monotony. Web designers often follow the rule of breaking visual flow every 1,000 pixels under the fold. So, after the first rows, consider using a different content layout or a distinct color scheme to avoid boring users.

Your web design shouldn’t just have appealing aesthetics. Use science, the wonders of eye-tracking data to increase website conversions.