What can “Where’s Waldo?”, the lovable children’s book series of the ‘90s, teach us about designing better page layouts?
A lot, it turns out.
In UX, we use different page layouts to help organize information and guide the users’ eye path. The “F” pattern, for instance, is commonly used for article heavy sites to guide the users’ eye path downward while supporting headline scanning. Reddit, Google News and Buzzfeed all use the “F” pattern layout.
One of the earliest layout patterns, and the one still most commonly used today, is the Gutenberg diagram. Originally conceived in the ‘50s by Edmond C. Arnold to help organize newspaper layouts, the Gutenberg diagram breaks the page down into quadrants and explains how the user interacts visually with each quadrant. In the diagram, the primary optical area is the upper left quadrant where the eye path naturally begins.