Worried About Content "Below the Fold"? Don't Be.

David Bowen

For as long as I can remember, people who make websites have had to deal with concerns – often times from stakeholders – about keeping content above the fold. And for just as long, web professionals have had to explain why the fold metaphor is increasingly irrelevant.

Before I state the case again, I’ll start with a qualifier: It’s always been a good idea to lead with the most important, substantial part of the content – the reverse pyramid style of writing, bing bang bongo and all that. Those are principles of good writing that are relevant in virtually all situations and to virtually all mediums.

Yet that doesn’t mean we have to cram everything above The Mythical Line Below Which No Reader Ever Goes.

For one thing, it’s nearly impossible to decide where that line actually is, due to differences in screen resolution, window size, and the type of browser used. Even if you use it as a rule of thumb, it doesn’t seem to be a good predictor of whether a user will actually use the scroll bar to read the rest of the page.

Ronald Patiro at GrokDotCom wonders whether it’s got something to do with one’s personality type. I think the explanation is simpler: If the content is interesting, if it meets the reader’s needs, then that reader will scroll to keep reading it. After all, I’ve never heard of anyone who stopped reading a magazine article they were enjoying because they had to turn the page.

So the moral of the post is this: Stop worrying about the fold, and start focusing on creating compelling content.

That’s what your readers are interested in anyway.