In the days when print media was king and newspapers dominated the market, the term “above the fold” was coined. This was the top half of the newspaper above where the paper would be folded. When placed on display for potential buyers, the part “above the fold” was meant to draw in the eye with bold, attention grabbing-headlines and shocking images.
The space was obviously reserved for the top stories of the day, but was also cleverly utilized in order to create in the customer an impulse to buy. Anything that was considered secondary news was usually relegated to the area below the fold or inside the paper. So what does this mean to website owners?
Well, your website has a fold of its own and it is also a very important part of “selling” your website to your audience.
The Fold in Web Design
When it comes to your website, all of the information “above the fold” is what a person sees as soon as they open your website. Anything that they have to scroll down to see is considered to be “below the fold”. (To continue the newspaper analogy, anything on a page “inside” of the site would be considered inside of the paper.)
Whereas a newspaper has a clearly defined border with set dimensions that makes the fold equally defined, a website’s fold is a little more fluid. Screen resolution and screen size for the browsers can alter the size of the fold to show different portions of the site.
This is further complicated now with users having mobile devices all with different dimensions and browsing resolutions. But it is ultimately an important concept to consider for one main reason—a 2006 study by Jakob Nielsen revealed that 77% of website visitors never scroll down “below the fold.” They simply look at the top part of the site and then, based on this, decide if they wish to continue looking at the rest.
What Should Go Above the Fold
In order to get the attention of your audience, you need a few important components to draw them in.
The first of these is a compelling headline. This should be something bold and attention-grabbing both in terms of content and in the colors and fonts that you use.
The Hero Shot
The next thing you should consider is a hero shot, an eye-catching image of your product with an appeal to how this product will help the customer.
A call-to-action is another item that can pay-off here as can a video explaining something about your product, your service, or your site. You basically want to hook the person in so that they want to continue with the rest of your website.
Other Design Considerations
There are actually numerous online tools that will help with the placement of your content above the fold. Since this can be hit or miss depending on the viewer’s dimensions and resolutions, this should not be taken as an absolute, but as more of a guideline.
There are also tools such as Website Creator that can help you get your website launched and with powerful hosting and web building tools.
Everything Old Is New Again
There’s an old saying that “everything old is new again.” That fits perfectly when it comes to the best way to design your website. By using the old school design ideas of newspapers (especially those from the early 20th Century when bold headlines ruled) you can help draw in your audience and hopefully keep them browsing on your website. In order to do this effectively, you will need to take advantage of design tools that are meant to specifically help you optimize your web page’s layout.