Published on July 30, 2009
Rethinking The Fold Chuck Mallo4 July 2009
What is The Fold? Originally a term coined in the newspaper prin<ng business years ago. Newspapers are folded in half, leaving 50% of the content below the fold. Newsprint designers had to be cognizant of the fold and design layouts and ar<cles so the important headlines and features were above the fold. Most important stuﬀ here LD FO Why we shouldn’t worry about E TH Less important stuﬀ here 2 The Fold
The Fold online Wikipedia says: This term has been extended and used in web development to refer the por<ons of a webpage that can be visible without scrolling. However, some have suggested that this term is inaccurate as screen sizes vary greatly between users, especially in an era where websites are viewed with mobile devices as much as home computers. Why we shouldn’t worry about 3 The Fold SOURCE: h8p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Above_the_fold
The Fold online In the early days of the internet, screen sizes were small and the average screen resolu<ons were much lower than what we enjoy today. % of users viewing websites with a screen resolu<on of 800x600 or less 2002 2009 51% 7% Why we shouldn’t worry about THEREFORE: Web designers (many of them migra<ng from the print industry) put a lot of eﬀort into making sure users didn’t have to scroll much to see the whole page. 4 The Fold SOURCE: www.thecounter.com
The Fold online Today, screens are much larger and screen resolu<ons are much higher. % of users viewing websites with a screen resolu<on of 1024x768 or more 2002 2009 46% 80% Why we shouldn’t worry about THEREFORE: Since there is so much more screen real estate to work with, modern‐day designers are less concerned about users having to scroll down to see important page elements or calls to ac<on. 5 The Fold SOURCE: www.thecounter.com
Where is The Fold? 430px That’s one of the problems when contempla<ng The Fold. Where exactly is it? 600px Due to the wide variances in screen resolu<ons, screen sizes and browser window sizes, reaching a consensus on the “average” placement of the fold is problema<c. 860px Why we shouldn’t worry about The fold is not a single loca<on, but a broadly dispersed distribu<on with three peaks located at roughly 430, 600 and 860 pixels. These peaks correspond to the three most popular screen resolu<ons used today: 800×600, 1024×768 and 1280×1024, minus about 170 pixels used up by the non‐client area of the browser.* 6 The Fold SOURCE: h8p://blog.clicktale.com/2007/10/05/clicktale‐scrolling‐research‐report‐v20‐part‐1‐visibility‐and‐scroll‐reach/
Scrolling below The Fold In the early years, there was a common misconcep<on that users didn’t like to scroll. Today, there is plenty of data that proves that users don’t mind scrolling. In fact, research shows that most users are comfortable with scrolling and do so regularly, regardless of page height. Percent Scrolled to the Bo4om Why we shouldn’t worry about 7 Page Height (Pixels) The Fold SOURCE: h8p://blog.clicktale.com/2007/10/05/clicktale‐scrolling‐research‐report‐v20‐part‐1‐visibility‐and‐scroll‐reach/
What the experts are saying “ This myth that users won’t scroll to see anything below the fold – is doing everyone a great disservice, most of all our users. Milissa Tarquini Director, User Interface Design and Informa<on Architecture at AOL “ Users are perfectly willing to scroll ... if the page gives them strong clues that scrolling will help them ﬁnd what they’re looking for. Jared Spool Why we shouldn’t worry about CEO & Founding Principal of User Interface Engineering “ We should start thinking of “the fold” as something other than a hard line with an “above” and “below” porUon, and we should stop thinking of the verUcal posiUoning on a page as equivalent to priority. 8 The Fold Christopher Fahey Designer, Teacher and Co‐Founder of Behavior, an interac<on design consultancy
Rethinking The Fold Should we try to eliminate pages that scroll? Should we try to cram as much content as close to the top of the page as possible? Should we get rid of good content just to reduce the height of a page? Does “the fold” really mager? NO. Why we shouldn’t worry about 9 The Fold
Rethinking The Fold Should we make sure that our primary calls to ac<on are close to the top of the page and visually dis<nct? Should our page templates be laid out in such a way to feature important content at the top of the page? Should we employ a content strategy that calls for concise content throughout our site? Yes! Why we shouldn’t worry about 10 The Fold
Further reading BlasWng the Myth of the Fold hgp://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/blas<ng‐the‐myth‐of Unfolding the Fold hgp://blog.clicktale.com/2006/12/23/unfolding‐the‐fold/ ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0 Part 1: Visibility and Scroll Reach hgp://blog.clicktale.com/2007/10/05/clicktale‐scrolling‐research‐report‐v20‐ Why we shouldn’t worry about part‐1‐visibility‐and‐scroll‐reach/ ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0 Part 2: Visitor A4enWon and Web Page Exposure hgp://blog.clicktale.com/2007/12/04/clicktale‐scrolling‐research‐report‐v20‐ part‐2‐visitor‐agen<on‐and‐web‐page‐exposure/ 11 The Fold
Sites that don’t bend at The Fold Apple The White House Adobe Starbucks Symantec Neblix Microso^ Southwest Airlines Geico Intel Why we shouldn’t worry about Nike Motorola Hulu Barnes & Noble Vizio Capgemini 12 EDS AIGA The Fold
QuesWons? Chuck Mallo4 Interac<on Designer email@example.com Why we shouldn’t worry about 13 The Fold
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Rethinking The Fold. Recently I assembled some thoughts regarding The Fold and what we (anyone involved in publishing websites) should do about it.
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