Engage your Readers

It is the job of the website to encourage the reader to engage in the content, this is done through the manipulation of the layout. All of these aspects contribute to the readability of the text. Readability is determined by how far the text is read and understood. The readability of a website is determined by factors such as the text layout.

Rather than attempt to force a reader to engage with what is intended, from recent scientific studies it has been shown that, it is more effective to cater for what will be engaged with. Scientific studies showed that web surfers natural visual flow read in the shape of an 'F' shape. Whilst reading a website most people start at the top left corner and left sides, whilst only occasionally glimpsing at the right side of the screen. It is in our nature to read from left to right, and this is clearly reflected when we read any print media; such as websites. As this has been proved scientifically, it has been used in order to influence the way a website is read through Visual Hierarchy.

Visual Hierarchy can determine how and what we read from the order something is placed, this technique is commonly used on websites. Building upon the 'F' layout, Visual Hierarchy is used in order to place content dependant on their importance. By placing content in priority order, it invites the reader to follow the content and engage with it. As websites commonly attract the attention through images, it is important to direct the reader to the content taking advantage of the 'F' layout. By prioritising all the relevant information on the left hand side, it is more likely to be understood and remembered. The Visual Hierarchy for the 'F' layout works well as it leads the eye onto the sidebar. For some websites could be an advertising pitch or 'call to action' on the sidebar that could go unnoticed.

Text separators are used to divide the content into sections. Text separators, with use of the 'F' layout make a website clearer and more understanding to the reader. A common way to divide content is to use boxes. Text boxes are an easy way to separate content from the rest, whilst still keeping the page neat. The 'F' Layout and text separators working together allows the website to be organised and influences the reader to carry on reading to the next point.

Contrasting different sections of content makes a website easier to process for an audience. A good contrast will make the text easy to read, easy to understand and easy to remember. An effect of contrasting will signify to the audience the most important aspects, inviting the audience to pay attention. This will allow the website to be skimmed through with ease, but attention to be drawn to the bold text.

All of these contribute to the science behind how web designers encourage the user to read the content. They are all factors on how the text layout can influence the order a website is read. The 'F' layout is a primary base for an effective website. As we read from left to right, this is channelled into the way we read websites and then taken advantaged on through use of Visual Hierarchy. With tricks like this it enables to get the most out of the readers when engaging with the websites.

Jakob Nielsen 1995 people read the web - SCIENTIFIC STUDY

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