This post is meant to be read left to right, line by line, top to bottom. In fact, all my posts are meant to be read that way. However, most of the time that is not what's happening.

Most of the time a visitor browses through my text and word-spots: They read the first sentence. After that they spot five interesting words, and read another one or two sentences.

If their random sample of words and sentences is interesting enough, and they have the time to focus on learning, they will read my post the way it's meant to be read (left to right, line by line).

This is how we read things online. We don't read the way the author wrote the article to be read. We are constantly bombarded with information and the only way we can navigate through this digital jungle is to be frugal with our attention.

Not everyone who asks for our focus gets it. We want a sample before we make a decision to invest our time on a web site or an article.

Assume that you get five words to communicate your message. Assume that a visitor only sees the top left and perhaps the bottom right corner of your site. Squint your eyes, let them navigate your site freely, and scan the content. What do you see?

Additional notes

Often people scan content using an F-shaped pattern. Here is Jakob Nielsen's original study about it: This is a longer article that revisits the F-shaped pattern of reading: