Eye movement studies have revealed some interesting information on how your visitor views your web page. According to a study conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group, website visitors read or scan your website in an “F” pattern. They first read across the top part of your content material in a horizontal movement from left to right. Then they move down the page just a little bit and read across the page in another horizontal movement, but shorter than the first. Lastly, they scan the left side in an up and down or vertical movement. (The heatmaps below show the eye movement, with red indicating the areas where the eye looked the most, yellow the next, followed by blue, and then grey indicating no eye fixation)
What we learn from this study is that your most viewed, thus your most important area, of your website is the upper left-hand corner of your page. Your most eye-catching stuff should be in the upper left-hand corner and across the top of your page. Another aspect that the Nielsen Norman Group’s study discovered was that Internet viewers hardly ever look at banners that appear to be an advertisement. Banner ads, although once thought to be effective, are considered invisible to the modern-day web surfer. So don’t waste precious resources on ad-looking banners.