The fold marks the bottom of the newspaper or the website that is seen as a first impression by the reader. If the area above the fold doesn't attract the person reading it, the reader will just move onto something that is interesting.
What does Above-The-Fold Mean?
By Douglas Krantz
The first part of any webpage seen by the readers is above the fold. This is the first impression area of a webpage: the area of a webpage that makes or breaks a whole website.
"Above the Fold" means the area above the fold on page one; it's a newspaper term.
At the newsstand or convenience store, before picking it up, it's the only area of the newspaper visible to the potential buyer. Unless a person is interested enough to pick up the paper, nothing else in the newspaper is ever seen.
Because this is the only space available to get the reader's attention, "Above the Fold" is the only space available to attract the reader.
Web pages are like that. When the webpage first pops up, above the fold is the only area of a website visible on the screen. It's the only area that the webmaster can use to catch the viewer's attention.
- The newspaper's name is above the fold; the website's sponsor's name should be above the fold (Banner at the Top)
- The page one story's headline in the newspaper is above the fold; the webpage's headline should be above the fold
- The start of the lead story in a newspaper is above the fold; the start of the content of a webpage should be above the fold
- Often a picture associated with the story in a newspaper is above the fold; often a picture or graphic associated with the content of the webpage is above the fold
- Descriptions of interesting stories in the rest of the paper is above the fold; descriptions of interesting webpages in the rest of the website should be above the fold (Side Bar)
- Locations of whole sections of the newspaper is above the fold; locations of whole sections of the website should be above the fold (Navigation Bar)
- Contact information for the newspaper publisher is above the fold; contact information for the website's publisher should be above the fold
Give the Reader What the Reader Came For
Some people call these landing pages. These are attraction pages: pages on the website that are designed to attract the unknown reader.
The most important part of any attraction page is above the fold:
- Don't fill it with generic pictures
- Don't fill it with pictures of employees
- Don't fill it with company history
- Don't fill it with sales
- Fill it with what attracted the reader in the first place
Yes, have a banner across the top; show the reader who you are
Yes, have a sidebar; show the reader what's on other pages on the website
Yes, have a navigation bar; guide the reader to the rest of the website
But above all, display to the reader at least some of what the reader came for:
- At least the start of the answer to the reader's question
- At least part of what the reader wants
- At least some response to the reader's curiosity
Above the Fold
A web page can attract readers, but the readers need to see "above the fold" what attracted them to the webpage.
First impressions count. So the people viewing don't go elsewhere right away, they need to see what they came for.