Keep Important Stuff “Above The Fold”?
Web designers and usability professionals have debated the topic of web page scrolling since 1994. When the web was brand new, users were unfamiliar with the concept of scrolling and didn’t find it natural. Many webmasters would try to squeeze everything on a web page into the small amount of space that could be seen without having to scroll down the page. Some still do, and it’s not uncommon for a new client of ours to think that anything important needs to be “above the fold”. That’s a newspaper expression for what’s visible on the front page when the paper is folded in half in a stack of papers.
Now, though, while people may be irritated when facing a small block of content on a page that they need to scroll to read, they are completely tolerant of scrolling an entire web page. Scrolling is also associated with web 2.0 design because big, clear text and “spacious”, “clean” content implies longer web pages. Blogs (like the one you’re reading now) almost always require scrolling.
ClickTale has some interesting research that leads them to conclude that it’s almost impossible to figure out where “the fold” is on a web page, but more importantly leads them to conclude that it doesn’t matter after all. <more here>