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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.

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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

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