Above-the-fold placement, a term dismayed designers have heard all too often. Yes the fold exists, but it’s only relevant because whatever is shown at the top of a page should be meaningful. Since screen sizes shift in size based on device and resolution, each user is experiencing a different fold. The function of a smart design is to make the adjustments to diminish the fold as a priority.

Understanding the fold on a webpage is made simple when resolving these six questions:

1. Are Users Even Scrolling?

Confident in users motivation to scroll, Apple decided to remove the scrollbar entirely from Mac OS X Lion in 2011. Understanding user motivation and behaviour, Apple believed users familiarity with their design’s functions would trump the confusion and reduced use of a scrollbar-less page.

They were right.

After analyzing 2 billion visits of an average media page, a data analytics provider, Chartbeat, discovered that nearly 66% of user attention is spent beyond the fold. Proof people are willing to scroll.

2. What Devices Are Being Used?

Whether using a desktop, mobile or iPad: The fold is unique for every device our audience is using. According to MOVR, some mobile users aren’t even seeing what’s above the fold:

On mobile if the page is loaded, 11% of users will start scrolling within 4 seconds
21% of users have already scrolled before the page is even fully loaded
More than 50% of users scroll at least 250px in length
3. What Screen Resolution Do Most Visitors Use?

The fold for the most common device sizes can be determined by analyzing your site’s web traffic and browser/device stats. Knowing the most popular screen resolution of your users is vital to creating a page that will entice your target audience.

The most popular screen resolution for any webpage can be easily determined as one of the enhancing add-ons in Google Analytics.

4. Where Are Your Visitors Scrolling/Clicking?

Employ a heat/scroll map service provider to gain a better understanding of how an audience engages with a website, and what can be improved and removed.

After analyzing nearly 100k page view, ClickTale found that users scrolled on 76% of the pages, and 22% of users scrolled all the way to the bottom.

5. Are You Utilizing Responsive Designs?

Since every device we use will have a different fold, it’s important to create a responsive design that will automatically configure to enhance the users experience. If a webpage is designed responsively, optimal viewing is available dependent on the device, not the fold.

6. Where’s the Incentive?

What’s the greatest factor in whether a user will scroll or not? It’s simple: build the user a story. Although a visually stimulating design can pull a user into a webpage, a captivating piece of content is what will encourage the user to stay.

Users are scrolling. If the content above the fold has compelled the reader, there’s no doubt their curiosity will creep to the bottom of the page as well.

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