How to : Grasp your reader's attention


"Eyetracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe."
Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F's top bar.
Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second ...
Read More on the F shaped findings

I think this can help us all in writing content which can be read better by the user. Here is a list of what I learnt to do from this study:
  • Content on left: Always set your template so that the widgets and other things are on the right column and the main content is on the left side.
  • Show popular posts: As you can see I have placed the popular posts right on the top right, the first horizontal bar which people read.
  • Use lists with meaningful bolds: More often than not, the reader is likely to scan through your page at amazing speeds. Make it a point to make your content scannable by writing in lists. Also, the title in bolds should be enough to get the gist of the post.
  • Use Images and Videos on the right: The right vertical is mostly ignored by the readers according to this study. So, I think the images and videos which capture the attention of the user should be used on the right instead of the boring no image texts.
  • Use Taglines on header: This is like the first impression thing when you meet somebody. Its the most prominent part of the "F" and should be used intelligently. Use keywords, dashes or commas, anything which gets the message across. Choose words which state the purpose of your site the best. You might offend some people who love there language by using dashes, but it will be benificial to most. Here is an example:
    • Our solutions are:
      Scaleable and Robust
      Modular and Integrated
      Efficient and Cost-effective
  • Learn to write effective headlines, titles: The attention span of a reader is less than a teenager. You get just 50-60 characters to convince people to read your article. It is even worse on a search engine when your post is listed amongst 1000 other posts. Its better to note to use the below as a checklist whenever you write a headline.
    • Clearly explain what the article (or email) is about in terms that relate to the user.
    • No puns, no "cute" or "clever" headlines.
    • No teasers that try to entice people to click to find out what the story is about
    • Skip leading articles like "the" and "a" in email subjects and page titles
    • Make the first word an important, information-carrying one.
    • Do not make all page titles start with the same word: they will be hard to differentiate when scanning a list.



I believe this study only strengthens what we all already knew. The good thing is it has given us another chance to get our basics in line and start writing better content. After all, we can force nobody to read what we write.

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18 comments:

Adrienne Zurub said...

Great Information! I'm going to restructure some of my writings based on your article.
Thanks!

Adrienne Zurub
author of 'NOtes From the MotherShip~Naked Invisibles'
ONE MILLION BOOKS

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