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Viki, Internet Researcher
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 860
Experience:  I have eleven years experience writing statewide educational tests for all levels.
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How does the average readers eye scan across an 8.5 x ...

Customer Question

How does the average reader's eye scan across an 8.5 x 11 page? Or, if I have a 2-page newsletter, how does the average person's eye scan across the inside spread?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Viki replied 10 years ago.

The average reader who reads 2-300 words a minute does not read in a smooth, continuous flow, one word after another.

In actuality, the reader's eye will start out reading the first word, then the next, and then it will wander to another line on the page and then go back to where it left off. After reading a couple of more words in the sequence, the eye will retrace words that have already been read, then it will jump to a totally new line, and so on.

Most readers are compelled to go back over material that has already been "read" to make sure that it has been understood correctly. This is called back skipping and regression. This is why websites are designed to be more user-friendly to readers who scan rather than read word for word. Text is broken up using sections and unordered lists to make it easier for people to read.

Viki and 20 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Viki's Post: Hmmm. I appreciate the effort, but not really helpful. I know that the eye follows a predictable pattern upon first encountering written text (and web text, though the pattern is different). This scanning or tracking occurs even before you settle in to read any of the content. it's like a "what's worth spending time on" quick overview. You can actually diagram it out quite clearly. It is that definition of "scan" that I was referring to and an example of the diagram I wanted. I apologize if my question was unclear. I will reluctantantly accept the answer you provided because you tried. Alas I'm not likely to come back to "Just Answer" any time soon.
Expert:  Viki replied 10 years ago.

I'm sorry I misunderstood what you were looking for- Are these the sort of patterns you were referring to? - scroll about 1/3 down for a diagram

These articles may be of some use: -Figure 8


Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Thank you for the extra information. Alas it's still off the mark. My question deals with how we encounter PRINT information, not web. We do scan it differently. Let's just drop it, but consider this your first disapponited answer.