Some time ago I read a very interesting book by psychologist Susan M. Weinschenk (@thebrainlady) about intelligent design. I found it very interesting to explain a topic that concerns all the designers of the online world: the way in which users visualize the screens, and based on that, what we have to take into account when organizing and hierarchize the elements that we want the user to see first. In that way we will have clear how to improve the user experience and boost the usability of the web.
Nowadays, people browse websites according to their experiences, so the visualization depends on their behavior and what they expect. As we all know, in our culture it is read from left to right, and on screens it is the same. However, users do not start reading a web from the upper left corner, because over time they have become accustomed to seeing elements that are not relevant (blank spaces, navigation bars, even logos), so they usually focus on the center of the screen and the margins are ignored.
More and more the user tends to cut to the chase, does not like to wait, and looks only for the information that interests him. When you visit a website for the first time this is what you usually do: a sweep with the look from left to right, then in reverse and at the end of top to bottom. If something flashes in the periphery or sees a large photograph with a face, as a reflex it will go towards that image that caught its interest and will deviate from its usual path.
A user has a mental outline of what he expects to see and where.
Since the Internet has existed, users have been creating a pattern of where to place the elements in a web. In Google, for example, you already know that in the center of the screen is the search field, there is no loss. Users are already mentalized by habit where the basic functions of a website are. I’ll give you another example, if you click on the logo of a web page on the top left, it usually takes you to the home page. Also, if you usually buy in the AppStore, the most usual is that you direct your eyes towards the search field before the web is finished downloading.
4 basic tips on how to improve the user experience
1. Design the web according to the natural path (from left to right and top to bottom) and based on standard patterns.
2. DO NOT make the user have to do back to return to the necessary information. Avoid it anyway! It is important that in a site, you have everything at hand without having to use the browser to retrieve the information.
3. Locate the most relevant information in the upper third and in the center of the page.
4. Try not to place anything relevant in the periphery or edges of the website, users will not look at it or it will take much longer to find it.
And the most important thing will always be: design according to the user and make life easier.