Once upon a time, there was really only one screen size that web designers had to worry about. But the good ol’ days of the standard 800×600 size is long gone. Today, we have a variety of sizes from wide screen monitors and laptops to tablets and smartphones. In fact, just this past month, the most popular screen size is now officially 1366×768. The biggest question designers and their clients need to ask is: how important is it to stay above the “fold”?
Obviously, there is no real “fold” in web design. It’s merely a printing term that refers to the front page of a folded newspaper, and the phrase “above the fold” was carried over into web design. However, it’s important to remember that a newspaper’s goal is to get you to look inside, not just the front page. That should be the goal of your home page, as well.
The reluctance to scroll was certainly common back in the early 90′s, but for years the stigma of a scrolling website remained prevalent. Even though back in 1997 Jakob Nielsen wrote about the growing acceptance and understanding of scrolling, we still occasionally come across clients who wish to avoid scrolling altogether on their home pages.
Don’t get us wrong — the “fold” still plays an important role in web design. For example, you wouldn’t want a photo gallery to hang below the fold, so that users have to scroll to see the entire image. At the same time, we should know that (according to a 5-year-old study) at least 91% of websites have a scroll bar. If we say the majority of folds lie somewhere around 600 pixels in height, more than 3/4 of those website were scrolled. See graph below:
What’s the moral of the story?
We shouldn’t be overly concerned with the so-called “fold”. Website visitors are scrolling to find the content they seek. Let’s be mindful of the “fold,” but don’t let it determine the content (i.e. we shouldn’t try to squeeze everything into it). It also means that we should be paying more attention to the footer, to help visitors quickly locate where they want to go on your site.
For more compelling information on this topic, click HERE!