Thursday, 17 April 2008

Fold Line Conceptions

Reading the latest issue (175 issue) of .net magazine, I came across an interesting article “Anti-social networks” by Kath Moonan. In the article, there is a photo of her holding a big label “There is no Fold”. There is still a debate among designers, developers, Information Architects, web consultants whether there should be a fold line or not. A lot of people nowadays, as Milissa Tarquini tend to think that since web users have known how to scroll, there is no need to worry pushing everything above the fold line। Others advocate that people tend to spend a few seconds in a web site. As a result, if the main site elements as navigation bar are not viewable from the first sight (without the need to scroll to view important information) there is no chance this site to succeed. Of course these theories vary whether the page is the homepage, navigation page or content page (see guidelines). I personally believe, especially for the homepage, which usually is the first impression of a web site, fold line should be taken into consideration. All the critical information that contributes to the user experience in the web site, should be placed above fold line.


Jamie Neely said...

A wider recognition of the complex fold issue has been building over the last few years - which is good to see. I agree about keeping important UX functionality above the fold but I also think the ultimate goal is making content compelling enough to WANT to scroll :)

Enjoying the blog BTW.

Lewis Cave said...

I think that with so many different media devices, screen resolutions, browser add-ons, and just the fact that you cannot predict user preferences in general (window sizes etc.), the idea of a fold line perhaps carries less impact than it did, say, 10 years ago.

I agree with you that it is a good idea to follow a fold-line guide though, with somewhere between 500-600 pixels being a good rule of thumb. Just don't feel the need to have to cram everything in there and instead entice viewers down the page with good content and/or imagery!