Email Design Tip – What the F!

Email Design Tip – What the F!

What’s the F all about?

The way people read on-screen marketing and the areas of the screen they focus on is fascinating. We’ve all heard about how, in general, people read newspapers by focusing first on the right hand page before working towards the left, and also the way many people flick through a magazine from back to front. Reading on-screen marketing follows an equally bizarre pattern. In this email design tip we look at the F shape created by studying the focus points of how people read. This shows that you should really think about where you put your biggest call to actions and your key messages in any marketing.

How do people actually ‘Read in the F’?

  1. Readers pan in a horizontal movement across the top of the content. This forms the upper horizontal bar of the F.
  2. Then moving down the page, readers track across again in another horizontal line, not quite as far as with the first, forming the lower horizontal line of the F. Arguably, this is where your main call to action or key message should be.
  3. Ultimately, viewers pan down the left hand side of the content, in a vertical movement, forming the stem of the F. This final movement is often done at differing speeds, indicating either a constant line or a series of dotted hot spots.

As important as it is to note where people do look, it is also valuable to note which areas are ignored.

We spend painstaking hours formulating wording and creating imagery all around the marketing message, thinking that every part of the design needs to be perfect. If we are able to see which areas of the email design are not going to be focussed on as much, then we can use these areas for elements of content which are less important but still necessary; terms & conditions, lengthy explanations etc.

The high visual traffic areas can display important information, key to the sale such as; USPs, product imagery, offers & promotions etc.

The diagram below demonstrates how this research works using eye tracking heatmaps and helps us to understand more about reading in the F.

email design tip heat maps

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