Make sure all the important information is visible when a visitor first arrives at the home page. A good number of people will not scroll down to find the important information.
As well as column based layouts, there’s another idea the web has borrowed from the newspaper industry: the fold.
When broadsheet newspapers are laid out for sale, they’re folded down the middle and only the top half can be seen. The bit that’s on show is said to be “above the fold”.
Newspapers are designed to have their major headlines and photos in this top half of the page, so that people are drawn to them and pick up the paper. The newspaper’s branding also appears prominently in this top half, so that people can recognise it immediately.
In web design, the term “above the fold” is used to refer to the first screenful of content. It’s what people can see without having to scroll the page, so it is their first impression of your website.
It’s essential that your website’s identity or branding, and its navigation, appear above the fold. By having multiple columns of text, you can also start several different stories above the fold and invite people to click to read more or scroll down the page to finish reading.
Of course, the fold doesn’t appear at the same place for everyone. It varies depending on the screen resolution, browser used, and the number of browser toolbars in use. If you’re assuming a minimum screen height of 768 pixels, a good place to think of the fold is being 575-590 pixels down the page. But remember that this is the minimum and that people will see lots of different sized screenfuls.
Tip: Organize and formulate a layout for the information you’d like to include.
Elements to include “above the fold”:
Company name and logo
Tagline (a memorable one sentence summary)
Main and sub-navigation
Video player (if youʼre producing a web series)
RSS and email subscription options
Social media buttons/icons
On-site search box