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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Respect the Fold

While screen sizes are constantly changing these days and responsive design is all the rage, user studies tell us that content "above the fold" — a term borrowed from print terminology and used to reference what is visible on the webpage without scrolling — is still very important and relevant. Regardless where the fold lands, what is at the very top of your webpage needs to be some of the most important content you are offering - or at the very least hold the promise of great content if a user scrolls.

So how do you make the most of the very top of your webpages? Here are some quick tips to consider:
  1. Exceptional Visual Elements
    Engaging graphics and great pictures can help draw the eye down the page. They don't have to be large but they do need to be high quality and placed in a way that enhances content.

  2. Compelling Content
    Write with user-focused language and give site visitors information they are looking for. Your visitors should be so engaged with your content they want to explore, scroll and navigate.

  3. Detailed Links
    Show users what is available below the fold with clear, well-placed links that will take site visitors right to that content. This includes descriptive navigation as well as links within on-page content.
And if you're still not sure that the fold matters much anymore, recent quantitative studies estimate the fold's impact on the user experience. On average, content above the fold was viewed 84% more by users than content below the fold. (Nielson Norman Group, Feb. 1, 2015)

So respect the fold when considering website layout, content placement and navigation. Your website visitors engage with top-of-page content so help them uncover your important below the fold elements. And they will scroll, click and navigate if you deliver on the expectation of valuable content.

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