12 October 2009

Above the Fold: Fact or Fiction?


In the web design industry, "above the fold" is a term commonly used by professionals and clients alike to describe prime content placement.  For those that do not know, above the fold is a graphic design term that refers to the most important content being in the top half of the page or above the fold in a newspaper.  For a long time standing, the standard has been to keep all important information above the fold and is an expected request of the client.  However, recently the concept is becoming more of a myth as users become more accustomed to the idea of scrolling long pages of content.

Now don't get me wrong - it is still necessary to keep the most important information/content on a page above the fold.  It does not make sense to place your global navigation in the footer of a page.  However, user testing is showing that it is not mandatory to cram all the information in the top half of the page and that doing so actually discourages further exploration of additional information on a page.  Users are used to scrolling and actually use the scrollbar to assess the length of the page and the amount of content below the fold.  This fact has been proven through user testing and eye tracking where it is found that users pay alot of attention to the scrollbar.  A great article reporting these findings can be found here.  Take a look and let's work to debunk the "above the fold" myth!!

1 Response to "Above the Fold: Fact or Fiction?"

Dave Peele

Feb 23, 2010 4:25pm

Another clever site debunking the myth of the fold - http://iampaddy.com/lifebelow600/.  Really nice!!

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About the Author
Dave Peele

Dave is the resident developer, accountant, daily operations manager and Chief Common-Sense Officer here at Rockbeatspaper. When he is not implementing wonderful designs into highly functional web sites and managing his Sudoku addiction, Dave enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter & son, attending church, working out and watching Carolina basketball. GO HEELS!

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