Creating an effective website layout – Part 3: The myth of the fold
Part 3 in the effective website layout series is all about the myth of “The fold”. If you didn’t get chance to read part 1 (all about sign posting and navigation) then click here, and for part 2 click here to catch up!
This one is short and sweet – I thought it deserved its own post as there are lots of theories about the dreaded fold.
There are many theories about making sure things are “above the fold” – this basically means ensuring all your important content (and in some cases the entire website) is visible without scrolling the page. In years gone by it was a frequently requested “feature” when creating a website design, but with the dawn of mobile devices it’s harder and harder to do since viewing devices now come with a wider variety of screen sizes. We tracked down some evidence that argues the fold is a myth!
A study by CX Partners revealed that website visitors only looking at what’s “above the fold” is not necessarily true! Their heat maps show that if you put less content above the fold it actually encourages users to explore the content below the fold. They found that the cause of a lack of scrolling was putting too much above the fold and creating a layout that suggests there is nothing further to investigate – it’s not because users didn’t want to scroll.
These days we think that web users are used to having to scroll and don’t expect everything they want to be at the top of the page. When was the last time you landed on a web page and expected not to scroll? Having said this, it’s still important to ensure that your most used features and content are near the top and in plain view, as you want to grab and direct people to the right place as quickly as possible. Less is definitely more in most cases and the less vital items/information can appear further down the page.
Check back next week for Part 4: Converting users into customers!