In web design, there’s a term that web designers generally despise.

Above the Fold

First off, let’s dissect what it means. It’s a graphic design term that refers to items of important news or visually appealing content that appears on the top half of the front page (in a newspaper).  Because of the way Newspaper vending machines display a newspaper, the goal was to select to most eye-catching headline/photo and put it “above the fold”. Let’s be clear.  I have no problem with Newspapers doing this.

In the web world, when clients mention “Above the Fold” it usually means “Let’s cram as much important information as we can in a small area”. The logic? We want to make it as easy for our users to find what they’re looking for without scrolling. However, overloading them with information does just the opposite of its intent.  Imagine if a Newspaper tried to cram as much “important” information above the fold. You buy the paper and realize that everything else inside was an afterthought. Disappointing, right?

But People Hate Scrolling!

Actually they don’t. Why? Thanks to mobile devices, people are kinda used to scrolling. And especially thanks to responsive web design and apps, people expect to scroll.

In fact, the great thing about spacing out your design (aside from white space and breathability) is for you to tell a story. One of my most favorite examples is this site:

Scroll through to find how how it works. Then you get to the end and there’s the call to action. There’s no chance it would have been nearly as compelling if you would have stuck that information “above the fold”.  No way.

So there you have it. This is my case for why Above the Fold is no longer relevant in web design. May it rest in peace.

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