Anyone worth their marketing salt has heard the term “above the fold” and the associated myth that stems from it. The idea that people won’t read anything above the screen end is an antiquated concept borne from newspaper days and while it may have held some credence then, in the age of multiple devices and responsive design, it’s time to accept that there is no fold.
We really need a different term to describe the needs of digital design and user experience.
In the era of super slow dial-up internet and flash web pages, there may well have been a case for users staying put on the defined screen boundaries, but web 3.0 has heralded many adaptations. We’ve got responsive web design for a start, which makes scrolling – primarily vertical, but increasingly horizontal – a natural response for accessing content which is just as valuable as material higher on the page. Obviously flash loading pages are a thing of the past, and even scroll bars themselves are sophisticatedly integrated in to the site design. Further, home page menu and content panels encourage users to access informative or interesting content which may be further down the page, but cleverly, just a simple click away
There could even be anecdotal evidence to say that users – used to scrolling hand patterns due to slow loading pages – have got the muscle memory engrained so that now when confronted with pages, they scroll automatically before the top of page’s content has fully loaded in a pencil tapping, ‘time’s money’ kind of way, guaranteeing
Of course, page design has and does still matter. Remember high school essays? There was an introduction, then paragraphs (or content panels) with a topic sentence and content that related to that particular point. Web design is still like that. Make your key messages stand out in breakout boxes or side panels, then use links or scrolling to elaborate and provide more specific information if the user is looking for it.
The written word is not dead. There’s a glut of evidence around to show to that people are texting, instant messaging, snap chatting and emailing more than ever and actual phone calls, face to face meetings, are happening far less. How you put your brand and your message in front of users visually and through the written word is vital.
- Every website is different
- Create an experience that makes sense
- Think about how your users will navigate the site
- Make sure the design is intuitive for them
As far as ads or click throughs, better conversion rates relate to the quality of what is above the ‘fold’ far more than the ‘quantity’ – and that’s why design, and user experience matters – know your user and their patterns.
There is absolutely NO advantage or use in obeying rules that no longer apply, or swallowing old myths. Welcome to the world of wrinkle-free pages and zero fold lines; focus on good content delivered in well-conceived design. So talk to Kenobi about your enhancing your digital design via UX (user experience) audit and recommendations.