The Way People Read Websites

here is a big difference between how we read a website and a newspaper, but how does this effect our decisions when building a website.

Designing a website can be a complicated but fulfilling task for any website owner. Many designers take the time to create a wireframe of what they would like, paying special attention to every element of the site. They ensure that the content is relevant and interesting, while also the page is easily navigated by its visitors. Therein is the problem.

Reading V Scanning
Websites are designed and built the way the designers would like to see them. Often times, they spend painstaking hours on facets of the design that only other designers would care about. In reality, visitors scan sites, rather than actually read them. Let’s take a moment and think about how much time a person actually spends on a website when they are just browsing. Typically, they are in a hurry. Analytics will tell us the average amount of time a person is on there, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s just assume it is a short period of time. With that in mind, when you are developing a site, you have to come to the realization that not all of the content is going to be read by each visitor.

You must develop the site in a way that catches their attention. Make sure that this catchy content is where a person would usually train their eyes as well, which starts at the upper left of the page, then follows down to the beginning of your content area, and will then zigzag to your sidebars from right to left. That is where a typical web surfer will look, so if you don’t catch them there, you will probably miss them. Another thing to consider is that shoppers usually don’t attempt to find the best deal for them, but rather will choose the first reasonable option they see. This is an interesting concept because when business owners spend time developing products or services, they are typically attempting to create the best options for potential customers. However, research has found that shoppers will take an offer that is reasonable for them, and end their search. Therefore, instead of building out your website that requires a visitor to continue to delve deeper into your site to get the offer, lead with an offer that appeals. This will capture more potential customers and hopefully end their search.


Don’t fix it if it aint broken
The last thing to consider is that many people are not early adopters, and will be okay with muddling through an older or less efficient way of doing something if it does not cause pain for them. That is something that is often lost on developers. If someone doesn’t have a problem the way something works today, they will not be looking for a solution, regardless of how much better the alternative is.


The conclusion
People are creatures of habit, and if they are comfortable, they will continue to do it. So, what does all of this say about the design of your site? Well, it means that you should treat your site less like a work of literature and a more like a billboard.