I'm working on a UI that has a list of items (a dozen years) in a multi-column list.

I know from past research that users will read list of items across columns top-to-bottom rather than left-to-right.

I'm having trouble sourcing those studies though.

Does anyone have an actual study that demonstrates this? Rather than a blogger's opinion on it.


1 Answer 1


It is why text columns in newspapers work.

The reason is in gestalt laws, the law of proximity: We perceive items placed close together as belonging together. Columns are further apart than the items within them.

Here is a nice (if old) page illustrating this: https://isle.hanover.edu/Ch05Object/Ch05ProxSim_evt.html

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.