Above the Fold Web Design

March 13, 2012 2 min read

“Above the fold” has become a ubiquitous design term. It refers to the graphics, images, and words on a webpage which viewers can see without scrolling down. The common belief is that viewers need to be grabbed by the above the fold design, to entice them stick around on your website and not lose interest, hitting their back browser button before giving you company’s services, products, and message a chance. “Above the fold” didn’t originate with websites and graphic designers however. Its origins could easily be traced back to print newspaper which always featured the most eye-catching headlines on the top portion of the first page so that even when the newspaper was folded, it could still grab new readers’ attention. Of course back then it was referred to “above the crease” or “above the scroll”, but the historical and modern definitions and terms still focus on one thing: grabbing attention.

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Above the Fold Research

There have been countless studies completed on how viewers respond to information above and below the fold. Most of these studies indicate that the first thing viewers see on a webpage is the top left hand corner, followed by the top center, and then wherever graphics, colors, fonts, or words catch their eye after that. This is why many successful web designs feature a company’s logo and tagline in the top left hand corner and the product or service they are promoting in the top center of the page.

What gets Attention?

Web designers and people looking to improve their website still must make an effort to place high quality visuals and clear messages above the fold. A boring message or shoddy image won’t get results whether it is above the fold or not. Some of the best ways to grab above the fold attention is with:

  • High resolution images viewers can relate to or will be shocked (tastefully) by
  • Clear, succinct messages and catchy headlines
  • Color themes that match the personality of the company

A Word on Mobile

As more website viewers whip out their smartphone for online browsing, “above the fold” takes on a whole new meaning. Companies that want to stay current with the mobile browsing market need to create a mobile friendly website which features the most important function buttons at the top of the screen so viewers can quickly find what they are looking for without waiting for large images to download.

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