Fire Starters: The Imaginary Fold

Chat bubble illustration that says fire starters

In the ever-changing world of marketing and technology, Fire Starters are team discussions designed to spark innovation and conversation at Blue Flame Thinking.

Members of our team sat down to discuss the “fold” of a website, whether it truly exists, and how it affects design, user experience, and performance.

Tyler Wayner

The fold does not exist; we are not reading newspapers anymore. The idea of the fold came from reading newspapers. People used to fold them in half, which made the top part the most valuable. I think with the early web it made more sense. But when we got smartphones and new devices, everyone saw something different. The idea of the fold is still there. You should still keep the most valuable content at the top, but the term “Above the Fold” doesn’t mean anything since there isn’t a defined fold.

Laurie Moran
Bio Headshot of Laurie Moran- Director of New Business Development

One of the challenges is changing the way people think. Traditionally everyone wanted to see their content above the fold so to them, everything should still be “Above the Fold”.

Josh Stauffer
Josh Stauffer, CEO and President of Blue Flame Thinking - Bio Image

If we look at analytics, we know that the most-viewed content is at the top and the least-viewed is at the bottom. So, we know what the user sees first is the thing they are most likely to engage with; everything else is secondary.

Sydney Barcey
Sydney Barcey

When users land on your page you only have a few seconds to engage them and confirm they landed on the right place. So, if you do cram a lot of information too soon the user will leave and you’ll end up with increased bounce rates.

Tyler Wayner

We need to start thinking more about responsive content instead of getting hung up on the term “Above the Fold”. What will content look like on different devices, and how do we build to meet the individual needs of all site visitors?

Sydney Barcey
Sydney Barcey

Right, you don’t have to cram all the information at the top of the page so users don’t miss it, but rather make sure the information at the top relates to what they’re looking for. It’s OK if the information is farther down the page; it just needs to be clear.

Tyler Wayner

One thing companies have been doing a lot to get everything at the top of the page is adding sliders, cramming as much content as possible into each slide. This creates the opposite effect; no one is going to read through each slide. Instead, we should consider breaking down the content throughout the page to tell the story.

Beth Henkels

It also seems to be less about Above the Fold and more about the user experience, making sure the page is being used as intended.

Haley Rose

Another way to quickly show content that is farther down the page is to place anchor links at the top of the page. This also depends on the type of content being served.

Tyler Wayner

I agree. If your page is very long, anchor link navigation is a great tool to help users quickly find what they are looking for.

Beth Henkels

Another consideration is showing scroll indicators where the content Above the Fold is only a portion of the content on the page. I think subtle animations showing there is more content below the fold will work better. It also depends on the demographics; knowing your audience is key to creating the most effective indicators of additional content.

Tyler Wayner

Yeah for some users having an animation telling them to scroll is needed. Most of the time just making sure that part of the next section peeks above the bottom of the page shows there is more below and users know to scroll.

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