The German goldsmith, Gutenberg, invented the printing press in the 15th century, laying the foundation for modern-day printing technology. Often hailed as the founding father of paper printing, he inadvertently illuminated how the human eye perceives content on a page.
This understanding later became known as the Gutenberg Principle. Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, UI/UX designers unearthed insights from this time-worn Gutenberg Principle, finding it equally relevant to how the human eye perceives distributed elements in digital designs.
Typically, when presented with a content-filled page, one’s gaze begins at the top left, shifts to the top right, drops to the bottom left, and concludes at the bottom right. This viewing behavior forms a pattern reminiscent of the letter “Z”. Such an understanding explains why classic desktop websites often position the company logo at the top left corner, with critical elements anchored on the bottom right.
For a compelling digital experience, blending the Gutenberg Principle with other UX tenets such as ‘Occam’s Razor’ or the ‘Zeigarnik Effect’ is advised. Some UI/UX researchers even employ “eye-movement trackers” to delve deeper into users’ visual journeys.