In Web Design

I know there are still many believers out there who advocate for everything to be above the fold. I’m not saying that the fold should be ignored.

However, before you sit down with your designer and tell him/her to make sure everything fits above the fold, I recommend that you understand a little more about it.

Where It All Started

The term “fold” originated from the crease where a newspaper was folded. In order to attract readers to purchase newspapers, the most interesting headline would be placed above the fold. When the newspapers were folded and stacked, the exciting headline would be noticed and more people would buy them.

Why It’s Still Relevant

As I stated earlier, I’m not going to say that the fold should be ignored, but that it shouldn’t be used as the ultimate benchmark for where the content should stop. Just like they do with printed newspapers, you should aim to place content that will encourage the user to discover the rest of the website closer to the top.

Don’t You Scroll?

Aren’t you scrolling right now as you read this article? With smart phones and tablets aren’t we constantly scrolling?

I’m not quite sure where the “users don’t scroll” myth came from, but it’s only a tiny bit true. Yes, some users don’t scroll, but those users aren’t as interested in your product or service and will leave your website shortly. So set yourself free from this misconception and embrace the fact that users that have a higher chance of converting into leads will scroll. And aren’t those the users you want to attract anyway?

You Can Convert Below the Fold

That’s right, it is possible! A call to action above the fold isn’t going to guarantee a conversion. The user sees it at first glance, but so what? Does that mean he/she will click on it? What if the user wants to learn more about the product or service first?

You see, it’s not about where you put the call to action, it’s about how you present it. A call to action without context and lead copy is sort of like a price tag without a piece of clothing.

Let’s See Some Proof

Let’s look at one of several studies that have proved that sometimes you convert more below the fold. How did they do it? By simply adding some engaging copy and creating context for a call to action, the page converted more below the fold than when it was unsupported above the fold:

Moving the call to action from above the fold on the top right:
Myth of the Fold Study
…to below the fold on the bottom right and beside content that created value and added context:
Myth of the Fold Study

The result? Increased conversion by 20%.

Click here to read the complete study.

Design as if There’s No Fold

You know where you want your users to click, so create a flow that will encourage that. Most users are discoverers and want to explore a website before they take an action. This means there will be scrolling. To help your designer create that flow, you need to answer these questions:

  1. What does your company or organization do?
  2. What’s unique about your product or service?
  3. Why should a user click on that call-to-action?

So, What Does it All Mean?

The notion that the fold is the end-all and be-all of a website is not true. You need to focus on crafting the content and calls to action to educate and engage your users and then encourage them to convert. In the end, it’s all about creating the right information flow.

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