What Does “Above the Fold” Mean?

“Above the Fold” is a web design concept that’s been co-opted from the newspaper business.

Newspaper

Back in the day, anything on the top half of the newspaper’s front page was considered above the fold.

Above the fold is where publishers put the most important headlines and articles of the day.

And it also sold more newspapers.

Does Above the Fold Apply to Web Design?

In the web world, the term refers to any content that appears on a web page when the page first loads. If you have to scroll down using you browser’s scroll bar, that’s considered content that’s “below the fold”.

And it’s important for the web as well. First impressions matter on the web. Ever heard of the blink test?

The Message Got Lost

But somewhere along the line, above the fold changed. It morphed from its original newspaper intent of “entice and tease” to ‘cram it all above the fold”.

Paddy Donnely author of Life, Below 600px, says it well:

Many web designers, after presenting a site design, hear the client worriedly ask ‘But, where is the fold?!’…switching on the guides in Photoshop to show them the fold usually results in a response like ‘Hmm, yeah, we’re going to need those articles, and those links, and those 6 images all above the fold.’ And there goes any sense of white space, readability and story telling you had planned for their site. Getting Back to Newpaper’s Original Intent

Just like people are enticed and teased by a good newspaper headline, they should be drawn into the story on the web as well.

But this doesn’t mean putting in everything and the kitchen sink.

This was never the case for newspapers and it should never be for websites. In fact, even less so. Is scrolling a browser window really that difficult?

And this should not only apply to the home page design as well.

Above the Fold Design for Different Page Types

Above the Fold on Your Home Page

Your home page above the fold content should communicate what you do in 5 seconds or less and draw people in the company’s narrative and story. That’s it. It’s ok to make them scroll!

Above the Fold on Blog Pages

Blog pages are content-oriented. People are there to learn something or be entertained. You want to grab them with the content ASAP. Your key point and keywords should be above the fold. Interesting images are great here too!

Check out our infographic on the Anatomy of a Business Blog Post.

Above the Fold on Landing Pages

Landing pages are different. They have one purpose in life – to convert the visitor to a lead. For this reason, keeping things above the fold may be a more important consideration than other web pages.

Your Unique Selling Propostion along with an enticing call to action and a form should probably be above the fold.

Read more: Google’s Algorithm Penalizes Pages with Too Many Ads Above the Fold