Why is the F-Shape Reading Pattern Bad for Your Website?
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Why the F-Shape Reading Pattern is Bad for Your Website

As digital marketing experts, we understand that your website is a place that you can call your very own. It is a spot on the Internet where you get to control the message and content. A place where you get to broadcast to the world about how great your product or service really is; however, even if you carefully handcraft every word on your website, viewers may not actually be reading it because of the F-shape reading pattern.

To help you write successful content for your website, our team has put together some helpful information about why the F-shape reading pattern is bad for your website.

What is the F-shaped Reading Pattern?

In 2006, researchers from the Nielsen Normal Group, who specialize in eye tracking, noticed a trend in the way people read content from websites: readers would scan a webpage in an “F” shape. This means that people would read the first sentence of the first paragraph before skipping down the page, looking at the first word on the left until they found another interesting sentence to read. Very few people were reading full paragraphs—or at least reading the content in a traditional way.

What Does this Mean for Your Digital Marketing?

The F-shape pattern means viewers give priority to the first line of a paragraph and that the first few words within that line are the top focus for the typical viewer. This means that most viewers will not even read this line of text, and, if they do, then that means they are invested in the article.

Why Does the F-shape Pattern Matter?

Understanding the F-shape pattern and how it works helps professional content writers in the digital marketing industry create content that captures the audience’s attention. The F-shape pattern also shows us that viewers get fatigued and ignore relevant content further down the page. Your potential customers could be missing your call-to-actions simply because you buried them at the bottom of a content rich page.

Is your content capturing your viewer’s attention? If not, let’s talk about content marketing. 

Should Everything Important be in the Upper Left of a Website?

When the F-shape pattern became well known, many web designers misunderstood it. Designers assumed this reading pattern applied to the entire website, but this reading pattern applies to the content areas of your website, which could be described as walls of text. This is why the F-shape pattern is bad: not because the viewers are skipping your content, but because your content is not formatted for easy reading.

How can the F-Shape Pattern be Used to Create Better Digital Marketing?

A website can inform and entice the viewer within the first sentence. Understanding the way in which a website’s content is being consumed is key to communicating with potential customers. Since viewers are always looking for relevant content to their search queries, it is important to help them find the information they are looking for. A skilled content marketing team can generate copy that informs the viewer, while also engaging them right from the first sentence.

Great content marketing is also full of formatting, such as headlines, sub-headings, and bullet points. Formatting helps break up the wall of text and guides the viewer down the page. By doing this, we can break the undesirable F-shape pattern and create a better pattern like the cake pattern.

Using Other Reading Patterns

There are other reading patterns that prove content creators can use different tools to encourage your website’s visitors to engage with its content; however, this does not just apply to your website. With well written copy and a smartly formatted layout, your digital marketing can become more engaging and drive higher viewer engagement.

Using other reading patterns and avoiding the F-shape pattern can turn your website into a high performing and converting machine. To learn more about why the F-shape reading pattern is bad for your website, get in touch with the digital marketing experts today.

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