Before the advent of the Internet ‘above the fold’ was an term used in graphic design to describe how they presented an important photograph or news story on the top half of the front page of a newspaper. On a newsstand papers are folded leaving only the upper portion visible to the public who can then read the message that is being across more easily and encourages them to buy the paper.
The term today means pretty much the same when it comes to web pages as it refers to parts of the page which can be immediately seen without having to scroll down it. With more and more people using mobile devices which are a lot smaller than a computer, the term is thought to be rather vague this is because the screen sizes on these devices are so much smaller on them.
Anyone who has a website knows the importance of how the site is ranked by search engines. The higher the ranking the higher your website address will appear at the top of the page which means people see your URL address without having to scroll down it. This of course is the best position for your web address and it is known as having ‘above the fold’. Knowing your address is at the top means you are doing well with your search engine optimization strategy. In truth the term when used in computer terminology should be ‘before the scroll’ as this describes how it refers to the modern use of the term. But as with newspapers anything above the fold is considered to be of more interest therefore eye-catching which in turn means anybody seeing or reading the content will be drawn into it.
This said it applies in just the same way to how viewers first see your webpage and it is vitally important to have eye catching and interesting titles/content, logos or photos. You also have to make things very clear as to what you are selling or what services you provide. You also need to ensure anyone viewing this section of the page is shown how to navigate through the rest of the sight as easily as possible.
With more and more people now so familiar with browsing the Internet and searching for whatever they are looking for, the ‘above fold part’ of the page is still important to the owner of the website to a certain extent. This is because as people have become more used to scrolling down a page, it has opened the door to advertisers who realise this is the optimum area to place their adverts.
The debate on how well ‘above the fold’ describes this concept is of course an important factor to take into consideration. This is because it really does depend on the screen size and the resolution of the screen as to how much of the upper part of the page actually appears in the first place. The bigger the screen the more it is visible and the smaller the screen the less can be seen by the user.
There are guidelines to follow when it comes to setting the line of the fold and most people rely on minimum values to take into account the various physical screen sizes which are now being used on mobile devices and computers.