Does the fold matter?

A lot of emphasis is put on having important website information above the “fold”. Do you think this really matters?

Here are my thoughts:

What about you? What do you think about the fold? Share your answer is the comments below.

  • Sulcalibur

    I know many people will probably hate me for saying this but YES it does matter. You don’t see ‘Hey buy my app’ in the footer. Along with responsive web design getting rightfully so popular people should be concentrating on the heights as well as the widths. This will be a rough guesstimate but it will give users a rough idea of the heights of the screen estate and the most important ‘sale’ should be above there, even if it is to get the user to scroll to see more.

  • welshstew

    I always thought this was a good response:
    http://iampaddy.com/lifebelow600/
    and this is a good read on short vs long pages in terms of conversion when looking at eCommerce: http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/seomoz-case-study/

    I think the answer is always going to be: give consumers the choice. Give those that want to convert early an above the fold CTA, and repeat the CTA at appropriate times through the “scroll”.

    • http://boagworld.com/ Paul Boag

      Love that first link. Proves the point by the very nature of the site.

  • Heath Huffman

    First grab the attention above the fold, this will then lead to the scroll…. wait, did I just make a rhyme?

    • http://boagworld.com/ Paul Boag

      Nothing wrong with a rhyme. A great way for people to remember stuff :)

  • http://twitter.com/KurtEmch Kurt Emch

    I often find myself trying to identify as to whether the fold is a content issue or a layout issue. Unlike newspapers where there is a certain harmony between the content and layout, the web does not have a defined ruler measurement to where the crease appears, so it’s been abstracted to where the bottom of the screen starts scrolling… which depending on your device, number of toolbars, monitor size, etc is vastly different.

    I’d say embrace the scrollbar if it makes sense, just like any other user interface concept that allows easier navigation. And like you said – give your visitors a reason to scroll. After all, scrolling is so intuitively ingrained in how we interact with a website, and I’d even say it’s a given on mobile devices.

    • http://boagworld.com/ Paul Boag

      It would be interesting to know for sure re. your last point. I have not seen any research on scrolling and mobile devices. Have you?

      • http://twitter.com/KurtEmch Kurt Emch

        Not sure if such a study exists, but would be curious to see one. You can see the evidence that encourages it at least – like how the iOS ‘elastic rubber band’ effect gives you that bouncy reward when thumbing to the end of a scrolling page.

  • http://twitter.com/jawittdesigns Jason Witt

    Does the fold matter? Well, NO. There is no fold. The fold is an illusion. What can be considered the fold on a 17 inch monitor, isn’t the fold on an iPad or a 42 inch television. It’s impossible to design a “fold” for all screen sizes.
    If it’s a matter of grabbing visitors attention with call to actions and such. Well, just put those as far to the top of the pages as possible.

  • http://www.justinmcgonigle.com mrpainter

    Personally, I don’t think the fold matters since many screen sizes are
    different. However, I do think that important elements like the main
    nav, the logo, the search box and the like should be at the top of the
    page so that they are noticed right away.

  • http://twitter.com/FaceFirstCor Corey Paige

    This is a well-timed discussion for me and I couldn’t agree more with your answer, Paul. We just launched a redesign of our site and the fold was discussed at great lengths. We decided that our priority this time around was not to have the “most important” content towards the top, but rather the most engaging (an illustration in our case). We rolled the dice a little and it remains to be seen whether or not it’s an effective strategy, but we thought it was worth a shot considering the way browsing has changed in recent years. I normally wouldn’t link to my site, but in the interest of the discussion, I hope nobody minds:
    http://www.facefirstcreative.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamalnichols Jamal Nichols

    Yeah it matters, but not as much as it used to

  • Darren

    I’m a bit late to the party here!

    Below the fold as the term suggests relates to print based media and I don’t believe it can relate to the web. That said, one area that does relate to this is where content is poorly laid out on a site so that it’s not always clear there is more content ‘below the fold’. There are some great example of badly presented content and some great example of well presented content, I always think http://www.amazeelabs.com/en is a great example of a site where content flows well down the page which encourages the reader to move down the page

  • Archer

    I think landing pages/websites do have a fold (granted it’s a range due to screen size/resolution/etc) – however, moving beyond the fold is so fluid that the ‘below the fold’ information is more of a grey area. I believe websites should think of it as a story. If you want them to continue scrolling down absorbing content, then whatever is above it needs to be desirable enough for the user to continue downwards.

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