For a long time, it was a hard and fast rule: websites had to be designed such, that the most important information was ‘above the fold’. And above the fold meant here ‘what you see without scrolling down’. It was the digital translation of the ancient newspaper rule that the biggest news had to be on the top half of the newspaper.
But was it true?
Did websites indeed have to be designed like this?
Did ‘the fold’ matter and more importantly: does it still?
Lately there’s been a lot of discussion about this concept. Many people still design websites for above the fold, but more and more there’s been talk about the fallacy of the above the fold rule. After all, mobile browsing has radically changed viewing experiences for sites, as has the great variety in screen sizes and resolution. There’s no one defined viewing experience for a site, so to design it as if there is, is indeed outdated.
Yet the above the fold-rule isn’t completely without merit. Let’s face it, the top of a site is usually the first thing people see when they visit. I know I quickly judge any site I visit for the first time by what I see without scrolling. That does make it a good reason for spending some extra time on designing that part. I came across this infographic that offers some suggestions on how to do that:
Even though this infographic offers some valid suggestions, I don’t think it holds true for each and every site. Lately I’ve been seeing some really creative designs that don’t look anything like the ‘standard’ shown above, yet offer compelling enough an impression for me to actually scroll down.
So as for the answer to the question on how to solve the above the fold dilemma, I think that it’s not a matter of designing your site in such a way that certain info is above the fold. I think it’s about designing it in such a way that people are intrigued, captured, motivated to read more. Then they will scroll down, no matter what specific info is or isn’t above the fold.
How do you feel about the above the fold rule, do you think it’s still true?
[via Blog Tyrant]