The F Pattern Jakob Nielson 2006
Implications of the F pattern • Users won't read your text thoroughly. • The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words • Exercise: Phantom of the F
Consider… “Nicks Nixes Flicks”? Dumb computers don’t get it.
Also consider… “Green Bean Comes Marching Home”? What green bean? Ambiguity: Bad for SEO
Ambiguity is NOT only an SEO problem… Farmer Bill Dies in House Iraqi Head Seeks Arms Kicking Baby Considered To Be Healthy
Headlines should be… • Accurate • Informative • Invitational • Free of ambiguity
Short sentences and paragraphs • Use concise sentences/short paragraphs to aid scanning • Use active voice mostly.
Layered stories • Chunking: Breaking a complex story into easily understandable sections. • Encourage readers to proceed to the next chunk. • Use multimedia to complement text (or the other way around)
China environment story • The structure? Advantages? • As an everyday reader, how would you read the story? Which parts would you read first? How does the structure work for your reading flow? • What strikes you the most in terms of narratives?
Bullet points and lists • Use bullet points at the beginning of story by giving an overview of its main parts (example). • Use ordered (numbered) lists only when the order is important.
Quality, not quantity
Main story links • Fit them naturally in the text • Avoid using “(click here)” • No more than 6 words • Information-heavy words (action-packed verbs and/or informational nouns) • Try to make clear where the link will lead readers to • Link to specific web pages, not the home page
Link functionality and maintenance • Always test the links in your story before publishing • Make sure accessing the story doesn’t require subscription or special privilege. • Clear all browser cookies and access the link • Log out your account on the link’s website • Access the link outside your organization • Check and update links from time to time
Four Questions for Hyperlining • Does the URL to which I am referring the reader reward him or her with additional content that a reader of this story likely did not know, or know how to get easily? • Does the text I am selecting to link this text give the reader an obvious clue as to what the hyperlinked page will contain? • Am I using the shortest possible amount of text to provide that clue? • Would the content of the linked text, or the context surrounding it, reasonably mislead the reader into believing that the linked page contains something other than what it does?