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The F-Pattern in Web Design

The F-Pattern in Web Design

04 June 2020

Do You Still Need to Use the F-Pattern in Web Design?

The way we organize information on a page has been evolving since humans first put utensil to surface. More recently, web designers and marketers are always updating best practices for organizing text in a way that helps readers to absorb the message.

One of these best practices with the most staying pattern has been the F-pattern. With changes in the way we access information, designers are wondering whether the F-pattern is still relevant.

What is the F-pattern?

The F-pattern refers to the way that readers scan content on a page. Certain parts of the page tend to be read in full, usually the top section and a selection of content in the middle. Readers may then stop to focus on additional sections, making the pattern look more like an ‘E’ than an ‘F.’ The spine comes from readers scanning text along the left-hand margin.

For more than a decade, eye-tracking studies have helped web designers determine where to place the most important information on a page. Heat mapping technology allowed researchers to analyze patterns for how readers read to help designers create accordingly.

As users shift to spending more time on mobile, the F-pattern seems to hold true. Mobile devices have smaller screens, but users still focus on the top section, will scroll a bit to read more, then scan to the end.

Should you still build your webpage around the F-pattern?

The F-pattern teaches web designers and copywriters alike that the most important information should be at the top of the page. While this is a principle of journalism, it also deemphasizes the importance of supporting information further down the page.

The F-pattern allows users to dictate how web designers create pages instead of letting designers try innovative approaches. The best web designers can create a layout that draws visitors into the site and informs readers.

You can’t revolutionize user behavior; site visitors are still expecting to quickly scan the page. However, you can make it easier for them to move through and absorb your information. The F-pattern may no longer be relevant, but readers still don’t want to see intimidating walls of text.

Instead, consider these design and copywriting principles:

  • Focus on shorter sentences and paragraphs.
  • Offer more headers and subheaders to create an outline.
  • Feature elements that break up text such as images, list, spacing and hyperlinks.

Instead of worrying about patterns, think about how you can make it easy and fun for readers to visit your site.

For more on the latest web design trends, contact IDMI.Net.

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