The F-shaped pattern has been the commonly understood way in which web users browse sites and search results. Has user behaviour changed since then, or have perhaps the changes that Google and others have made to the presentation of search results made a difference? An eyetracking study carried out by ConversionXL looks into this question, comparing the results with previous studies. Here are a few key findings from the article… The F-pattern no longer holds up The F-pattern was something discovered during testing by Jakob Nielsen. The finding being that users read or scan pages in two horizontal movements followed by a vertical movement. Thus the F-shape. For search results, as in the example shown on the right below (this is from 2006) we can see that the first two or three results attract most attention, while results below four or five downwards attract less interest. Now the SERPs are different. We have more images to catch the eye in some results, as well as features like rich snippets, which stand in contrast to the more text-heavy Google results of the past. Perhaps as a result of this ConversionXL were unable to replicate the F-shape in their tests. In the example below, the first result gets the maximum attention, with very little below the third result. Google was right to remove right hand side ads Google’s removal of right hand side ads earlier this year is backed up by the study. In a nutshell, ads on the right didn’t get much attention, but…
Article Source: How do people view search engine results pages?