How Do People Read Online?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Most of us are writers, one way or another. We share our thoughts in blogs and ebooks. And you may have noticed that I have been experimenting recently with emphasizing certain parts of my posts, breaking up longer texts in chapters, and playing around with various formats.

I am doing this to test the so-called F-Shaped pattern of reading. This is a description of how people read online. It was first identified in 2006 by the Nielsen Norman Group. They recently published an update, clarifying that:

  1. Scanning on the web does not always take the shape of an F. There are other common scanning patterns too.
  2. The F-pattern can be bad for users and businesses.
  3. Good design can prevent F-shape scanning.

Let’s examine all this in detail, shall we?

What Is The F-Shaped Pattern?

F-shaped pattern | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: Nielsen Normal Group

As you can see for the heatmap above, people’s eyes focus on certain…

View original post 1,120 more words

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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4 Responses to How Do People Read Online?

  1. Thanks for the share, Charles 🙂


  2. ThriveOn35K says:

    That is very interesting. I fear that when people read my pages that it turns into a zzz shaped pattern. That is probably worse than an F-shaped.

    The heat map was very nice. It looks like more headlines would help since the two main concentrations are there.


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