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Internet site navigation typically follows an "F pattern" - the user scans the left side for links and reads major headlines. This behavior can be expressed as a heatmap where red color shows where the user's eyes rest the most. Typically all of browser and web site controls are centered in the top left corner.

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I'm interested if similar heatmaps exists for interaction with mobile devices? (in particular iPhones with larger screens, where the user physically cannot reach the top of the screen with one hand).

Are there heatmaps showing how users interact with most common iPhone apps, like messages, mail, calendar, etc?

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If you mean apps to use in your development, yes, there are many commercial and pretty good tools like AppSee, Heatmaps.io and so on. I don't know and I doubt there's anything free other than free trials for those commercial apps.

If you mean research, there's a lot scattered around the web. The old and classic mobile UX research by Mozilla is always a good place to start enter image description here.

Now, based in my particular experience and testing, there's not such thing as an F pattern in mobile, and that's because space is really limited and placement of elements will determine the heatmap at first sight.

In general, and again, BASED ON MY OWN RESEARCH, there's a tendency to scan top and then center if you use a flat design with very simple elements, but if you use pictures with people, the position of the main character's head/face will draw the first eye contact. For us, this was (is) very useful to place CTAs, since most of my work is about sales and CTR, but maybe it will help you, so there you go.

Finally, keep in mind you'll need to consider whether you're building a mobile app or you're building a responsive web page, since approaches will vary enormously (obviously, you won't have limitations in a mobile app and you'll have some limits in a webpage, and you'll need to consider heatmaps for all device sizes)

  • Thanks for bringing up focal points like people's faces and calls to action! – Alex Stone Apr 8 '15 at 17:32

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