The F-Shaped Reading pattern

Getting Attention with the F-Shaped Reading Pattern

F for Fish

When you write to be published, you want people to read your words. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a blog, an article, a news story… holding people’s attention is key.

In that case, knowing a bit about how people scan articles is useful, as you can tailor your writing in order to hold people’s attention.

In this post, we’re going to be learning about the F-shaped reading pattern, which will hopefully enable you to write in a way that is easier to read.

People scan text

It would be lovely if the average web user read every word on a web page before clicking off. Or would it? If you think about how you surf the web, you often click and scan a few pieces to see if the article has what you’re looking for. Otherwise we would all waste hours reading irrelevant material, or worse, adverts telling you about the magic new plant that means you will never have to diet again.

You want to let your reader know what will be in your article as soon as possible, so they can recognise anything useful and keep reading.

The Nielsen Norman group has released a study showing that many people will read the first couple of paragraphs of a webpage, and quickly scan the rest. You can see the pictures that illustrate the “F” that we’re talking about on their page – I recommend having a look at the heat tracking images, they’re illuminating.

How to write to maximise efficiency

The F-shaped reading pattern relates to the inverted pyramid model of writing that Frank wrote about recently. You need to put the most pertinent information in the first paragraph that people will see when they come to your work.

This will take practice – I’m still learning to write like this myself – but being mindful of your reader when you write is one of the most important aspects of improving your writing.

If you manage to capture your audiences attention in the first few lines of a page, they are much more likely to read your whole article. You can do this by prioritising the main point of the piece, and by using subheadings to quickly get across what the rest of the piece contains.

F Shaped Reading Pattern Marketing?

I hope that this has been useful for you – sorry for the delay between my posts, I’ve been doing a bit of behind the scenes work. In fact, I’m sure I can tell you about it – we will soon be offering a free web series on how to improve your email writing skills. It will be available through our page, so keep your eyes peeled!

In the meanwhile, you can always get the first chapter of our book, Write Now, for free. This is us using an F-shaped marketing pattern, in a way – you can read the first chapter and see how useful it can be! Sign up for the first chapter here.

I’ll see you next time, folks. I hope that you have a productive week!



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