Knowing how users navigate web pages can help determine information architecture and navigation design in order to make websites more usable.

One of the most popular methods to find how users scan web pages are heat maps. Companies, like Nielsen Norman Group, track the direction of users’ eyes when using a web page. These experiments are conducted using consenting volunteers.

… we found that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.

Jakob nielsen, nielsen norman group

WATCH

Red – Most viewed areas

Yellow – Areas with fewer views

Blue – Least-viewed areas

Grey – Did not attract any fixations

READ

How Users Read on the Web

Jakob Nielsen goes over interesting points regarding how people use web-based interfaces and statistics about different forms of writing.

F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Content

Nick Babich discusses when the F-shaped pattern should be implemented in your interface’s design and how to best utilize the F-shaped pattern.

LISTEN

Kara Pernice, the Senior Vice President of Nielsen Norman Group, goes over what the F-shaped pattern means about people and how important it is that we know how people scan.

One interesting fact she brings up is that people who read in languages that are read right to left, like Arabic, still use the F-shaped pattern, just reversed.

WORKSHOP

Using what you’ve learned from the resources provided, create a prototype of a web page that utilizes the F-shaped design. If you choose to use text, make sure to place the most important text in the first 1-2 paragraphs. Use three media pieces on your web page (photo or video) and place them to help structure your F-shaped design.

Write 2-3 paragraphs about why you chose to design your web page prototype the way you did. Make sure to go in depth about the most important information you wanted users to see.