Reading is hard. And people are busy. So, when we’re pressed for time, the last thing we want to do is plow through a dense document.
In fact, Nielsen Norman Group, experts in eye tracking and other research that shows how people engage with online content, recently proved again that digital readers don’t actually read: They scan.
“When writers and designers have not taken any steps to direct the user to the most relevant, interesting, or helpful information, users will then find their own path,” writes Kara Pernice at Nielsen Norman Group. “In the absence of any signals to guide the eye, they will choose the path of minimum effort and will spend most of their fixations close to where they start reading (which is usually the top left most word on a page of text).”