How We Read Online

I stumbled across an interesting account on how we visually view material online. According to eye tracking studies by Nielsen Norman Group’s we tend to read online with an “F” or “E” pattern. This information is from 2006, and perhaps with newer web page designs and technology such as the iPAD we might want to reassess the reading “hot” spots, but I found it helpful and fascinating non the less.

Do you scroll below the fold? It seems that some authorities have made minor concession to the earlier message about the below the fold being the unread portion. Articles that are longer are read below the fold if they are interesting and informative.  So, are you reading your online content in an F or E pattern? Have you changed your viewing style since becoming an owner of an iPAD?

Take some time to become conscious on how you read online.   I believe we will soon have classes on How to be A Better Online Reader as well as How to Write for the Online Reader.

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1 Comment

Filed under Communication Strategies, Knowledge, Productivity, Techniques, Time

One response to “How We Read Online

  1. Fred

    Ironically the article about reading below the fold had most of its information below the fold. I tend to scroll and read below the fold because I am primarily an old-fashioned book reader who came to the internet rather late. I tend to be more an E reader because I like to read the final line. Most of the problem comes from the librarians’ adage about the internet – “Wisdom dies as data flies”. There’s just such an overwhelming cornucopia of material on the internet that the reader is scanning rather than reading for golden nuggets and summaries and to quickly gain the essence without much self filtering. This gives rise to the E scans, F scans and hot potatoes. In reading conventional books, you usually read all of it, which in Bingo is called a “black out”. I don’t have an IPad and my computer went on an eternal loop when I clicked the link. I think the big issue here is advertising. A savvy friend of mine said the marketers have not yet figured out advertising on the internet, but with all these studies that Terry is kindly guiding us toward, you can bet they are figuring out a way! And if your business is web-based, you will of necessity need to know this too.

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