A few days ago, we had the chance to dive into what seems like an age-old topic: where is the fold, and does it really matter? Historically, ad networks have been most concerned with the idea of a fold, but they haven't actually drawn a line in the sand as to how far down the page this imaginary line exists. So naturally, we dug deeper to unveil just where the fold exists for one of our clients.
Before diving head first into measurements, lets look into the various screen resolutions that are being used on our clients website. What we found was that 94% of daily visitors browse the site with an 1024x768px or higher screen resolution. Only 6% of their visitors use an 800x600px resolution.
Visualizing the Fold
Now we are armed with enough information to answer the question: Where is the fold? Since the number of screen sizes is growing on a daily basis, it is somewhat of a moving target, but the analytics we collected allowed us to accurately visualize where to draw the fold lines.
Here's a visual representation of how we solved the problem for Playlist.com:
The screenshot above shows us that a vast majority of Playlist.com's visitors can see everything up until the bottom of the advertisement on the right side of the homepage. The beauty of this graphic is that we can reuse it on any page of their site, simply by obtaining a screenshot. We easily proved where the fold existed for most of our client's users, but we weren't done there — we had one more question.
Does the fold really matter?
Yes it does. Users still need a compelling reason to scroll down and see what the rest of the page has to offer. If it's not interesting content, chances are they'll find somewhere else to spend their time.
"The biggest lesson to be learned here is that if you use visual cues (such as cut-off images and text) and compelling content, users will scroll to see all of it....
The most basic rule of thumb is that for every site the user should be able to understand what your site is about by the information presented to them above the fold. If they have to scroll to even discover what the site is, its success is unlikely. Functionality that is essential to business strategy should remain (or at least begin) above the fold. For example, if your business success is dependent on users finding a particular thing (movie theaters, for example) then the widget to allow that action should certainly be above the fold."— Milissa Tarquini Director of UI Design and Information Architecture at AOL
This article isn't meant to suggest that you make the fold line your primary focus in your designs, but it is a good nugget to keep in the back of your mind during the design process.
- Blasting the Myth of the Fold - http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view...