As part of a recent project I collaborated on, the brief required a substantial amount of information to be ‘above the fold’. This excerpted article by Design Your Way discusses what above the fold actually is and asks is designing above the fold still relevant?

“Web designers and clients often talk about designing above the fold. Many of them use the phrase without knowing where it originates. The phrase comes from the newspaper industry and refers to the need to always place important news stories or photographs on the front pages of newspapers on the top half, above the fold.

It persists in web page design circles although everyone knows that site visitors can easily scroll down a page. However, this old idea that the non-existent fold is important persists.

When presenting clients with a web site design, web designers often get the questioned about the fold. Many clients want everything placed above the fold.

However, to do as they wish would make carefully designed web pages illegible, cramped, unreadable and so uncomfortable for the reader to view that it would not achieve the web site’s primary purpose, which is to sell the client’s goods or services.

Like so much folklore, the fold guideline became a rule of web design, simply because it was discussed so much that web designers followed it unquestioningly.

Users do scroll…

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The fold rule had some validity before the smart-phones movement. However, now that larger monitors are the norm and that smart-phone and tablet users are so used to scrolling, when using the mobile web, the fold is no longer an issue. Several research studies have proved that today’s users scroll and the above the fold standard is no longer necessary.

Often, the mere fact that there is less content above the fold encourages users to explore below the fold, especially if the web page’s design tempts them to do so. Something that bridges the fold entices viewers to scroll down to see what is there.

Also, users now know that scroll bars on their browser mean that there is content further down the page and they also realize that scroll bars can also indicate page length.”

Continue reading the full article on DesignYourWay.com

 

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