5 Reasons why the ‘Fold’ is Absolutely Irrelevant in Modern Website Design

By July 17, 2018 January 11th, 2019 Blog
The Fold Web Design

There is no doubt that website design is changing every single day. There is always something new to report on the web design news. There is a new trend to keep up with at all times. A few years ago, there was something called the ‘fold’. Okay, it still exists but people are not even bothering about it all that much. Creating web pages that show ‘above the fold’ on a device was one of the hottest best practices for web design. However, today no one seems to care about this fold any more. People are saying goodbye to it and welcoming a totally new experience of browsing.

Website design practices continue to change owing to the developments in internet technology that are being witnessed. The way people are viewing the worldwide web and its contents is totally different from what people were doing some ten years ago. If you were told, ten years ago, that there would be phones without keypad buttons, what would you have said? Today, smartphones are the order of the day. People are on their iPhones, tablets, gizmos and whatever other mobile device you can think about. Google has gone ahead to admit the fact that a majority of people browsing the internet are using mobile devices.

Mobile friendly website design

Mobile responsive websites are the order of the day today. The site is going to be displayed on screens of various sizes and shapes. What with auto rotate nowadays, the size of a page can enlarge and become smaller by simply turning a phone. A decade ago, people wanted to see pages above the fold of their desktop computers and laptops but with mobile responsiveness becoming a crucial element of the design of a website, the fold is slowly disappearing. Well, people still request for this type of web design but then not all that much.

What does this ‘above the fold’ actually mean? The idea came from a hardcopy newspaper. When folded, there are some things that you do not get to see. These are the items that are below the fold. People purchase the newspaper based on what is above the fold. Newspaper vendors fold the papers keeping the most exciting content above the fold so that people will buy. Your attention is drawn to the content without distraction from other pieces of content in the paper.

This concept has become irrelevant today in the world of website design. As a matter of fact, it should be banned. They are alright for a casual website that does not have any intentions of growing out of itself. For a professional’s site, then you will need professional website design services. This above the fold issue is not all that professional. Here are several reasons why the fold is utterly irrelevant:

1.Multiple screen sizes

This has been mentioned already- people are viewing online content on different types of screens. The design of the site should adapt to the screen of the viewer. Once upon a time when the resolution size of computer monitors was a mere 800px X 600px, this technique was ideal. However, such small screen sizes no longer exist. With devices that have resolution in the neighborhood of 1400px, you will need to use a totally different one that will work for your phone.

2.Scrolling habits

People on the internet know how to scroll and it is their expectation that they will be doing plenty of scrolling. Old habits die hard. This scrolling should be simple. A visitor to your site should not struggle to read your content because it is spreading well beyond the borders of the screen. Above the fold kind of designs are going to make your content appear congested and scrolling becoming obtrusive.

3.Space for storytelling

We live in a world of story tellers. Everything is telling a story. If your site is one that has value and you have a story that is worth telling then you will need plenty of space for that. 600px will not be enough to tell a convincing story. As aforementioned, with such space, your content will appear too congested. The reader is ready to read the content, digest the information that they get and then continue to scroll to see more content. If it is all congested in one place and the user has to ‘double-tap’ to expand, you will be totally disappointed.

4.Leave folds to newspapers

Also mentioned earlier is the fact that the concept of above the fold was developed from newspapers. It is meant for newspapers and not websites. Actually, even newspapers are not using this all that much. They are going for the ‘front page’ content. The front page has a huge photo and headline to work with. Therefore, above the fold does not really make sense with modern websites.

5.Conversions are not related to the fold

The placement of the calls to action is an important aspect of web design and conversion rate optimisation. You cannot place the calls to action above the fold because they do not have to be there in order to convert visitors. In fact this can be detrimental. Imagine if the first thing that you saw when you visited a website is ‘Download Here’. You have no idea what it is you are downloading, but then you have already been told to do so.

It is great that the calls to action are conspicuous but then again they do not have to be above the non-existent fold in order to convert your visitors. You just need to know how to place them properly in order to get the best results from them.

Conclusion

Designing above the fold is absolutely irrelevant today. There is a lot that stands to be lost if you go for such a design. Second, it makes web design stressful. You will have to keep testing and retesting. If you do not do this, you will have created a site that is responsive for just one type of device. This is not going to work so well for your visitor. Forget about the fold and you will be able to bring your site’s user experience to a whole other level.

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