- Author: Cynthia Kintigh
Jakob Nielsen has two recent posts on usability studies on vertical and horizontal placement on Web pages. If there was ever a reason to take a hard look at how you've placed information on your site - here it is.
According to Nielsen:
"Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold. Although users do scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention below the fold."
And with regard to horizontal placement:"Web users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page and 30% viewing the right half. A conventional layout is thus more likely to make sites profitable."
In short: Your most important information should be placed above the fold and to the left.
Nielsen summarizes by stating:
"Simply put: Stick to the conventional layout, because it works perfectly with how people look at Web pages:
- Keep navigation all the way to the left. This is where people look to find a list of current options.
- Keep the main content a bit further in from the left.
- The most important stuff should be showcased between one-third and halfway across the page. This is where users focus their attention the most.
- Keep secondary content to the right. It won't be seen as much here, but that's okay — not everything can get top billing, and you need a place to put less-important material."