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Blog - Web Design & Development

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Above vs Below the fold web design

Above the fold is the showcase to all visitors, for web designers a key component of web design. It is the portion that is view-able when landing on a website. The concept of “Fold” comes from the days of Newspapers, who referred to the fold as a crucial role in captivating the attention of readers in order to encourage them to purchase the newspaper. With bold headlines and eye-catching images, the reader was bombarded with captivating facts and imagery.

This concept has transferred itself to the next nature home of the Website Designers. These professionals also saw the advantages of placing important information and imagery above the fold. This is accomplished, with Above The Line (ATL) tailormade awareness to the mass audience. When the desired results start to appear, the process of advert communication is repeated and continues as the results continue growing. With Below the Line (BTL) it becomes necessary to specifically target the individual user/consumer, build strong bonds with them and at times be in direct communication with them. By concentrating on these values, your brand will become more trusted, and relationships will grow strong and trustworthy. Blogging has replaced magazines for a more influential outcome when coming to a decision to purchase.

When measuring above the line, it comes with difficulties in measuring the Reach, the frequency and what Gross rating points have been achieved. Whereas  with Below the line measurements will allow for more improved insights into your ROI (Return on Investment) in such aspects of:

  • The number of Website visits.

  • Their positive or negative engagement.

  • The important Click-through rates.

  • Conversion Rates.

  • Cost Per Click.

  • Cost per Acquisition.

  • The Social media “Likes” their followers & impressions.


BTL measuring tools consist of Cookies, Google Analytics, Social Analytics, Ecommerce Tracking & Goal Tracking. There has of course been much debate on what belongs above the fold and what actually belongs below within the Website Designers community.  Even their clients are unsure and question what the true location of the fold should be. Many Designers cringe at the very mention of this concept, for the Designers, it is paramount to give credence to the fold and the respect it merits. A rule of thumb to designers has always been that website users spend eighty per cent of their time looking at information above the fold. When they scroll, they will allocate twenty per cent of their attention below the fold. With the birth and continued advancements of mobile SmartPhones and Tablets and the ever-changing desktop screen sizes, the fold has become increasingly inconsistent. Web Designers simply do not rely on a general rule anymore on the actual location of the fold, the variants are just too broad to be exact, and no shoe will fit all anymore.

Responsive Design

As users, we know so well that with each new rollout of the latest mobile or tablet version from any company there will be a wide discrepancy in screen resolutions. Many screen heights are in the 768-1080 px range. But there is a good number that differs. So the fold location is reliant on a broad variety of variables including the screen size, screen resolutions, the browser size, and the responsive design techniques as well as many more facets. It has become apparent that pinning down a general location of the fold has become impossible to gauge and the rules are focused now on good visibility and usability rather than a strict guide of where the fold is thought to be.

Everyone agrees all Brand Imagery, Messaging Intros/Previews, Site Navigation and Calls to Action should be undoubtedly above the fold. That does not mean cramming everything into what becomes poor usability. Try the tactic of grouping manageable chunks and spread them out with a structured hierarchy and acceptable levels of whitespace to promote scanning and skimming. A Preview as the word says should head any page, providing the information that will be found throughout the page. Let your users anticipate what the content will be, encourage them to scroll up and down the page and keep them interested in reading your material. Remember users expect to scroll, it is a natural aspect for them, and everyone who can read can also scroll.

In conclusion, we can clearly see the fold will in itself never truly disappear, not even as a concept, the only thing that has changed over the years the rules are malleable and can be bent to suit. With the advent of so many different devices and resolutions, the fold differ can be far too much from user to user and cannot be relied on as a regular thing. The one rule that is consistent is always to make sure to place the most important elements above the fold. This will help you to find an improved balance between usability and the fold itself. With Website design content is the King, and by placing your focus on usability, you are giving the content its rightful place to rule.

At DYSC IT Solutions. We will gladly assist you further to find that ideal design.
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