“F” is for functionality

What do users see when they see your website?

According to a study conducted last year by the Nielsen Norman Group, they see a big F. The study, which used special eyetracking equipment to measure how much users looked as specific parts of a web page, showed users tended to view sites in a pattern that looks roughly like an “F,” scanning across the top and down the left-hand side. In addition, they spent almost no time looking at large images, banner ads, or other graphic content. In fact, they often skipped over meaningful content if it looked too much like an ad.

What does this mean for your site design?

Never forget that your customers come to your site looking to solve a problem. They want to buy a product, or find out information. It doesn’t mean that they are indifferent to design — a poorly designed site can look unprofessional, undermining confidence in the solutions you offer. However, design should never get in the way of the functionality of your site. It should never be difficult for your customers to find the solutions they are looking for.

Design enhances functionality. But functionality always comes first.

Ref: Eyetracking Study