You’d think that today’s responsive web designs with video and ever-shifting screens would make the whole idea of the importance of the top section of your website as antiquated as the Sunday newspaper. And yet being “Above the Fold” it still matters.
What is Above the Fold?
In web design “Above the Fold” is the portion of a Web page that is visible in a browser window when the page first loads. According to usability expert, Jacob Nielsen: Above the Fold means, “viewable without further action.”
Today’s website are responsive and flexible
With mobile sites becoming more dominate web designers are using “responsive” design to address the range of viewing devices. This means that one website is built where the content is resized and re-organized based on whether you view on mobile or tablet or computer screen. You will see most of the same content but it will be re-fit to the size of your device’s viewing screen. And since people are now used to swiping screens and scrolling all over the place, why would anyone care about being Above the Fold?
Why does Above the Fold still matter?
Even though today’s web pages are made-to-scroll, Nielsen says that you shouldn’t ignore the Above the Fold placement because long pages tend to be problematic and challenge user’s limited attention span. People prefer sites that get straight to the point. The bottom line according to Neilsen is, “Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold. Although users do scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention below the fold.”
A recent study by Google Display advertising revealed that ads Above the Fold had 73% viewability compared to ads below the fold with 44% viewability.
Amy Schade, an information architect, writes, “What is visible on the page without requiring any action is what encourages us to scroll.” This means that effective storytelling and graphics are even more important. When the most compelling content is at the top of the page it encourages users to dig deeper and invites them to scroll and click in for more information. This creates more engaged users in a method we call “progressive disclosure.”