An understanding of the way people read online is crucial for anyone who creates content for the internet. It affects the way you layout your pages as well as the way you structure your content.
So what are the key things to remember?
- People are busy, stressed and impatient – they’re looking for the information they need. Prioritise your most important information and make sure they can find it by putting it at the top of your page or story.
- First impressions are formed in 50 milliseconds. So you really need to grab their attention! How? A great image is probably the best way to do this.
- Most people will only read 20% of your page content – 75% of people just scan your pages. That means you need to consider making your key points stand out – try using numbered lists, pull quotes or box outs to draw attention and use a layer cake approach with headlines and bullet points to guide the reader to the information they are looking for or that most interests them.
- People typically scan in an F pattern. That means the information on the left and top of your page will get read first. In fact the left of a page gets viewed 80% of the time with the right only 20%. Use that premium real estate wisely! Find out more about research into the F Pattern from NN Group.
- Some readers adopt a spotted pattern – this can be encouraged by making items visually distinct to attract attention.
- Many people never get ‘below the fold’ – that means they don’t scan past the place your website page ends. So getting your most important information close to the top of your page is essential. For longer form content, you could try encouraging scrolling using a synopsis, multi column design or table of contents.
Still need help creating online content that resonates? Get in touch.