In our initial planning phases of a website, we often get this question from our clients: “Is it ok to have content on the home page below the fold?”
“Below the fold” or “above the fold”, rather, references the olden days of newspapers, where the best, most visible spot was on the top front page, above where the fold was. The concept carried over to digital design, where it was once thought that you had to keep all of a website’s content close enough to the top, so that users wouldn’t have to scroll down.
This is simply NOT TRUE. Admittedly, people will look above the fold first, as that’s where we automatically land, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t know there is more content farther down. Take a look at how you navigate websites—Google search results, Amazon, New York Times, etc. Do you not read things because you had to scroll down? No.
We now know to look for clues that there is more content below, namely:
1) the scroll bar on the side of the browser window—is it there? That means that there is more we have to scroll down to see. (Check out the image below.)
2) Content that is cut of by the size of our browser window. If we can see something peaking up from below, there probably is more there.
User tests have been done to bust the myth of the digital page fold. The image here shows a Heatmap from eyetracking showing scrollbar as cue to page length.
Check out the whole article, “The myth of the page fold: evidence from user testing“.
Image credit: CX partners