An Oldie but a Goodie

Posted 2 AprilTagged software design

Screen resolutions and the Fold!

Where did ‘above the fold’ come from?

The term first came into play during the printing era, where the upper half of the front page of a newspaper or tabloid was where an important news story or photograph was, and is still. often located.

Papers are often displayed to customers folded so that only the top half of the front page is visible, and therefore this is considered to be the most important section of the newspaper for customer engagement and to express the most important story of the day.

But does this practice on paper, translate to the web?

Above the fold on websites

Similar to a folded newspaper, above the fold on a website refers to the portion of the webpage that is visible without scrolling. However, as screen sizes vary (there are over 3000 different screen resolutions / devices / settings to cater for in today’s world of laptops, phones, tablets and browsers), there is no set definition for the number of pixels that define the fold. This is because different screen resolutions will show different portions of the website without scrolling. Further complicating matters, many websites adjust their layout based on the size of the browser window, such that the fold is not a static feature of the page.

But does this really matter?

We don’t think so, and here’s why…

When you are creating a website, or any software application for that matter, it is all about how you design it. And we really do mean, design it.

If you know and understand how your users are potentially going to use your website (everyone does things a little differently so we go on statistics and averages), and how you want them to use your website, you can design for both purposes. Increasing engagement and increasing the chances that the fold just won’t matter to them.

Now are we saying that the ‘fold’ is irrelevant and shouldn’t be factored in at all? Absolutely not.

If you don’t grab / entice / enthral your visitor as soon as they load your website, no matter what device they are on, then they won’t bother scrolling down to view the rest. So it is important. However, by designing your website in a way that makes a user scroll almost automatically and without thought? Then you have pretty much done the best job you can at making the fold disappear and become unimportant.

Take facebook for example – go on… Load it now.

What’s the first thing that you do? Look at the pictures / stories and scroll? Did you do it without even thinking about it?

Well that’s good design – it’s about user engagement and making you want to scroll down the page, to the point where it’s done almost unconsciously.

If you can design a website or piece of software that is intuitive and engaging, then the fold can be used as a tool to layout your content in the best way possible, to really draw your users in, so that they are focusing more on what you want them to focus on, than anything else.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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