The “F Pattern” And What It Really Is

They say that the “F is for fast”. This is usually the way you can describe how a visitor looks at your website. It is said that you only have 3 seconds to capture the attention of your visitor, so if you have something to say I recommend that you do it “above the fold” and have a strong call to action that gives value to that person.

Really though, the F does not actually stand for fast. The F is the pattern in which most people’s eyes focus on while visiting websites, as you can see in the picture below. There have been eye tracking studies which  reveal how the majority of people read content while looking at websites, and the results can be very useful for people who design websites.

There are 3 distinguished eye patterns

First, the majority of people will read your site in horizontal manner. This usually starts from the top left of the page moving over to the right of the page at the same height from which they began, which forms the top of the letter F on the pattern.

Second, the users move down the page just a little bit and make the second horizontal look at the website. This typically covers a smaller area than the first horizontal look and this line forms the bottom line in the letter F on the pattern.

Third, the users view the site in a vertical manner on the left side of the website. This is what forms the F’s stem in the pattern.

This study isn’t exactly saying that all people visit a website in this manner, but it’s more directed to simply how a good majority of users do. Whether or not you take this into consideration could mean a huge difference when you are planning the design or redesign of your website.

What does this have to do with my business?

Every website should have a goal for you or your business, whether it’s a brick and mortar business or an e-commerce business. If you own a local business your goal should probably be for collecting an email address or for users to call your business and trade show rental displays to inquire about your goods or services. If you own an e-commerce website your goal will probably be something like increase sales on your products.

If you have a strong call to action that is above the fold, which is the top part of the website that you can see without scrolling down, it can drastically increase leads and sales. This is often one of the steps taken into consideration when internet marketers talk about on page optimization, at least marketers who know about the F Pattern.

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