“People scroll… seriously, they scroll” – Paul Jarvis, from his book Be Awesome at Online Business.
Whether on a desktop or on a mobile device, I pinky promise, cross my heart and hope to die… people really do scroll. It is not some made up thing by web designers to fool you.
Now, back in the day, when the web was a brand new place, it is true that people did not scroll. But, all the way back in 2007, a ClickTale study revealed 76% of visitors scroll on websites and many of those people made it down to bottom – no matter how long the page. There have been more studies since then, and some great examples in a post by Milissa Tarquini called Blasting the Myth of the Fold.
“Above the fold” is a term that was first used to describe newspapers. On the web it’s used for the content that the viewer sees when they first land on your site, before they scroll. For years, people have wanted to cram lots of stuff there, because they were scared people would not scroll. Now, I’ve already talked about some research-y stuff – so let me indulge here and appeal to your logic a bit.
- There are SO many different size screens now, with tablets, phones, laptops and high-res desktops… there is no set size for “above the fold”. So, even if you’re obsessed with it, you can never expect every user will experience your site the same way and see the same stuff “above the fold”.
- Due to all these new devices, many having a touch screen interface, it’s really easy and natural for people to scroll with their fingers.
- When you cram a bunch of stuff into a small space, people get confused. And you know what a confused mind does, right? Nothing. Yep, nothing.
- It’s fun. There are many cool sites that are built around scrolling and it can make a website become a total experience. Check out a few of these sites: http://shibui.me/web/scroll/index.html,
http://kennedyandoswald.com/#!/premiere-screen (that on has an audio element, which I normally hate, but this it’s a total experience) and http://www.numero10.ch/fr.
The bottom line? Most people make it to the bottom of you home page. Stop fretting about “above the fold”.
Do a few things in that top area of your site, like make it painfully obvious what you do and put an obvious place for them to go to or do next a.k.a. your main Call to Action. Other than that – just know deep down in your heart, people scroll and let the rest go.
Ahh… now don’t you just feel better?!