Designing Above the Fold…Does It Matter?

If there’s one thing that most designers will tell you is important when designing a page, it’s that all of the important content should be “above the fold.”  It’s a common practice that dates back to when humans read something called “newspapers.” These archaic gray monstrosities were often printed on thin paper and folded right in the middle.  Therefore, it was standard practice to put the most important content “above the fold.” The difficult thing about designing above the fold on the internet is… well, we never know exactly where the fold is!  Nevermind the fact that most people use a variety of screen resolutions, ranging from the dreadful 800 x 600 up to the glorious 2560 x 1600. On top of that, people also can have an unknown variable of toolbars.  Currently, I have 3 toolbars on my 1680 x 1050 monitor, cutting out about 85 pixels from the top of my browser. So what can a designer do?  Typically, the thought is to design a page for the least common denominator, assuming that your average viewer will be looking at your page on their grandmother’s 13in. CRT display.  This means putting all the stuff you deem as important up at the top and all the rest slapped down at the bottom.  The obvious problem to this is that it will look weird on regular monitors. So what can you do? First, you can take a look at your site statistics and figure out what percentage of users are looking at your page with various resolutions. If no one is looking at your site at 800 x 600, don’t worry about designing for them! Second, you can determine which parts you absolutely want above the fold, like a call-to-action form, and place that higher up on the page. Then you don’t have to worry about whether or not you have an H1 and an H2 above the fold. Third, and most importantly, you can ignore the problem altogether and read this interesting article about whether or not “designing above the fold” is worth the effort. The article comes with heatmaps and actual user testing. Read this article…it’s worth your time. I highly suggest reading this article and making your own opinion.  The most important thing that I took away from it is that your site should have enough important, relevant content on the page that makes me actually want to scroll down the page. Imagine that?  People will scroll down the page if there’s interesting content! It sounds so simple, but I think it’s a concept that most people forget.  If you have interesting and relevant content on your page - information that people are actually looking for - it won’t be a chore for them to read it. Then, your content will be digested by more people and visitors to your site will stay longer, improving your bounce rate. That will help the overall ranking of your site. So as a designer, this is an exciting revelation. Great content makes or breaks a page, not the designer!  Well, I’m off to forward this article to our copywriter.  The burden is all on you from now on, Ashley!  Guess I’m off to lunch now.

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Scott Rehnberg

By Scott Rehnberg, Relationship Marketing Manager

Scott Rehnberg is ProspectMX’s Relationship Marketing Manager and go-to guy for outreach. Scott has had years of relationship building and customer service experience with his work in various fields and industries. Scott brings fresh ideas and a keen eye when it comes to gathering the right resources, leads, and links for our clients. His driven attitude and passion for the marketing industry has already been changing and improving the way that we work, and he continues to successfully grow both our company and our client’s companies.