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The Fold is Dead

By Jessica Brown

Avatar for Jessica Brown

A journalistic approach

Coming from a background in journalism, I’m no stranger to the term “above the fold.” In journalism, above the fold meant that you would keep important stories, headlines, and images at the top half of the page, so that when the newspaper was folded, you would still be able to see this information.

In web design, above the fold means that important information is kept toward the top of the page so that viewers can see it without scrolling. It’s been common practice to put calls to action and attractive images above the fold, just in case someone doesn’t want to scroll in order to see the rest of your content.

But here’s the thing: We’re used to scrolling.

FoldGraphics-03Scroll to see the whole

Responsive design has changed the way we build websites. A page can look completely different on a laptop as it does on a tablet or phone. Mobile versions of sites require a lot of scrolling, and yet mobile browsing is at an all-time high. Even MAC and PC display differently.

We need to stop worrying about what is above the fold, because the fold no longer exists.

Prioritize your web content

For decades, businesses have tried to cram too much information at the top of the page. You know what they say: If everything is important, nothing is important. While it is important to keep your most vital information at the top of your content, stop worrying if your website doesn’t say EVERYTHING above the fold.

FoldGraphics-02

Prioritize your content. Have a hierarchy of what you want to mention, keeping in mind that users often stop reading toward the beginning or simply scan the information instead of giving it a close read.

Have some faith in your customers. If they want to know more about your company, they will not be offended that they may have to scroll in order to find out.

8 thoughts on “The Fold is Dead

  1. Very true.

    I’ve noticed in recent years that advertisers are using the term ‘fold’ less and less and are instead using the term ‘high visibility’.

  2. Whist the “fold” concept may eventually die out it remains a truism that we have just one opportunity, and a brief one at that, to capture the attention of our visitors.

    The headline is all important but must be supported immediately by relevant content to engage the attention of our visitor, otherwise they quickly become an ex visitor.

    Thanks for your thought provoking article.

    Kind regards

    Russ

    1. Russ,

      I agree completely! The idea behind “the fold” still remains important. High-quality content is only useful if it is getting read. And the first step to getting read is a catchy headline and engaging lead paragraph.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Jessica

  3. A really nice article, thank you Jessica. I will try and remove the advertisements which show up just after my navigation bar! I have to carefully re evaluate all that I have been doing in the past few months. Thanks again! I was just focusing too much on the ads.

  4. nice simple article i like that you are pointing out the difference of displays on different hardware, its good to keep that in mind.

    cheers

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