Day#81: The truth about F shaped patterns

Day#81: The truth about F shaped patterns

Hi everyone! If you haven’t learnt about F shaped patterns yet, you are certainly in for a treat. I loved learning about how users interact with tech and heat mapping tools really provide lots of insight into the way in which users interact. The F pattern is most widely known however often people are unaware of the below patterns

  • “Layer-cake pattern occurs when the eyes scan headings and subheadings and skip the normal text below. A gaze plot or heat map of this behavior will show horizontal lines, reminiscent of a cake with alternating layers of cake and frosting.
  • Spotted pattern consists of skipping big chunks of text and scanning as if looking for something specific, such as a link, digits, a particular word or a set of words with a distinctive shape (such as an address or signature).
  • Marking pattern involves keeping the eyes focused in one place as the mouse scrolls or finger swipes the page, like a dancer fixates on an object to keep balance as she twirls. Marking happens more on mobile than on desktop.
  • Bypassing pattern occurs when people deliberately skip the first words of the line when multiple lines of text in a list start all with the same word(s).
  • Commitment pattern consists of fixating on almost everything on the page. If people are highly motivated and interested in content, they will read all the text in a paragraph or even an entire page. (Don’t count on this to happen frequently, though. Assume that most users will be scanning.)”

The idea behind blindly believing these theories in UX is that you may be following a principle that is not relevant to current trends, functionality or even your platform. It is your responsibility as a Uxer to work on ways to solve problems with your project and if that follows in line with certain key principles then great! If you discover something completely new along the way about your users, then don’t be afraid to run with it as well.

For example with the F shaped pattern people would fixate on certain parts of the content because it was laid out in a very basic web format, this was the case with initial web design. There was no layering in headers and sub headers and content was not separated by images, video and other media. I always love learning about these theories but always try and understand the concept on a deeper level and ask the WHY’s on the theory to understand it more. I for one think that the F shaped pattern was more common in earlier web design however now layer cake, spotted and marked patterns seem more likely to be popular. Happy researching!

Some resource material referred to in the post

F shaped pattern of reading on the web: Misunderstood, but still relevant 

F shaped pattern for reading content

Bye for now

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