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STAY ABOVE THE FOLD - BUT ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT CREATIVE!

keithI've been hearing the same argument about website design since the late 90's.

"We need to tell our client's everything we do on the home page without having to scroll"
Or
"Our clients don't know to scroll so we have to be concise and get our message across immediately"

This phenomenon is known as staying "above the fold" which is where the screen cuts off your webpage and you are forced to scroll (gasp) to see more content.

I began website design in 1999, a time when AOL was dominant. Their interface took up a majority of the screen. Placing their web browser inside that interface, combined with the smaller monitors of the day, and precious bandwidth to conserve due to dial-up viewers web designers like us were challenged with conveying proper messaging and design within a 6 inch, low resolution space on a good day.

Now more than 15 years later, technology has changed, screen sized are gigantic compared to their predecessors, our very DNA for consuming data has evolved yet we still hear the same request about "the fold phenomenon". Why? Is it valid?

No!

Now I realize you may be coming to this very blog searching for advice because you do not fully understand website design and marketing. So lets try and relate this concept to something everyone knows about. Television.

It's been said in the ad world that the mark of a good commercial is "if you can watch it with the volume off and still understand what the company does and its value proposition" its a good commercial. While this concept certainly sounds not only feasible but desirable for your commercial think about the top commercials of all time.

If you were to watch the Budweiser frogs commercial with no sound, would you know why Budweiser beer is better? How about the famous Clydesdale spots? Try watching these top 25 Super Bowl commercials of all time without sound and see if you catch my drift:

In short, commercials as well as websites have the ability to connect with clients on multiple levels. You can use them to build trust, convey a feeling, make people laugh, or even annoy them into submission.

Thinking of these potential branding medium and opportunities as a spreadsheet of logistics to convey as to why your product or service should be used is a recipe for disaster, or at least a band-aid for lack of creative thinking. Not to mention massive missed opportunity.

Your website is an unparalleled opportunity for branding, building trust, showing off corporate culture, exposing your vision and more. Take advantage of it, hell push it as far as the medium allows. Trust me, your visitors WILL scroll!

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Photo: Nathan Barnatt who is actually extremely creative, he just looks that way.