Saturday, 10 November 2007

Above or beyond the fold

For years the mysterious ways of allowing for the fold in web design gnawed away at me. Should this element be so low down? Should that list be above the fold? Where exactly is the fold for different users and browsers?

I try not to worry about where the fold will fall, and what might lurk beneath too much, as common practice, in recent newspaper website design in particular shows there's plenty of room below the fold for content.

Common design sense still dictates as long as the vital page components are clearly visible near the top of the view port, you should have some control of your visitors attention.

Milissa Tarquini writing for Boxes and Arrows states:
Branding must be above the fold. Navigation must be above the fold – or at least the beginning of the list of navigational choices. (If the list is well organized and displayed appropriately, scanning the list should help bring users down the page.) Big content (the primary content of the site) should begin above the fold.

Indeed as Milissa points out:
Because people think users don’t scroll. Jakob Nielsen wrote about the growing acceptance and understanding of scrolling in 19972, yet 10 years later we are still hearing that users don’t scroll.