Should You Design Above the Fold? 3 Things to Consider

NewspaperDesigning “above the fold” is a term that originated in newspaper layout strategy. Everything above the half fold or on the front pages of a newspaper was considered above the fold. Translated to the web for desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices, this concept refers to the portion of the webpage that is visible without scrolling.

In the earlier web years (1990’s and early 2000’s), designing above the fold became a sort of mantra for many designers. The most important content needed to be right in front of the user’s face, without them having to scroll. This is partially because, at the time, some users weren’t familiar with the concept of scrolling.

Today, however, with devices and system sizes changing at a constant rate, this formerly hard and fast rule is beginning to evolve as well. The general design consensus, as with all layouts, remains in considering the “fold” and where it may lie for more common monitor and device sizes.

above_below

Combadi’s blog does a nice job of presenting visually interesting content but entices us with travel trips and plans further below.

So, should you design above the fold? Well, here are three things to consider:

Does size really matter?

The vast majority of screen resolutions are at 700 pixels. However, many users are now viewing sites on tablets and mobile devices, so any fixed number becomes almost a moot point. That said, you do want to make sure your site is designed to be optimized on various devices.

Scrolling for… fun?

With so many fun scrolling trends happening at the moment like parallax scrolling, websites are as enticing as ever to scroll and explore. If your site is well laid out and the hierarchy of content has been carefully considered, then visitors will likely enjoy scrolling to get the whole story. There’s no need to cram everything at the very top — a strong narrative structure will make the entire site feel “above the fold.”

SpellTower  Spell_Tower_Full

SpellTower‘s site is a great example of a well laid-out website with pithy bites of content delivered via parallax scrolling — which in whole makes for a concise narrative. When the user visits their home page, they’re first introduced only to their logo, name and two arrows temping the user to explore. As the user starts scrolling, SpellTower supplies tight and bright story morsels of information about their product and services.

 

Rewarding persistence?

If you’ve established a clear heading and website description at the top that leads visitors down the page, consider offering them a “prize” at the bottom. A little surprise and delight may encourage them to linger and explore the rest of your site.

Ultimately, if your users have sought out your site, then there’s a good chance they’ll stick around. Give them some worthy content to explore. Don’t just cater to the limited attention span users; make sure they can navigate to what they’re looking for easily — but take some room on that page to tell your story.

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