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People Don’t Scroll

“But we need it to be above the fold…”

That’s what we heard from the client as we were discussing their new web site. I’d like to just say on the record that I think the argument that people don’t scroll is so yesterday.

People scroll all the time. Everybody I know has a fancy little mouse with this thing called the scroll-wheel. It’s so easy to get to the bottom of the page.

I’ve been hearing this argument ever since I started building sites in the mid ’90s. The idea that people won’t see something if it isn’t “above the fold” really grinds my gears.

Just sayin’!

By Chris Tingom

Principal of Tornado Design, a Phoenix, AZ based web consultancy

11 replies on “People Don’t Scroll”

I think it’s really more a matter of what’s under the fold and the significance of it. For example, part of what I do for a living is develop web-based training modules. I was scoping out one that another company had done just last week, and above the fold was the introduction, learning objectives, instructions and continue button — looked great. That is until I scrolled under the fold, and saw the link to the PDF learning guide that was “strongly suggested” one download and print.

For something of so much importance in getting through this module quickly and correctly, it had no business being under the fold — in particular under the continue button.

It’s not where only, it’s why it’s where and should it be there.

But you can’t reject the fact, that objekts placed “above the fold” gets alot more focus than content below. I would say thats a good enough reason.

Just commentin’!

I think that if the site is designed in a manner that suggests that there’s more content “below the fold”, then it’s no issue.

But if you have a big photo filling the screen area (or “top fold”) or a continue button right there, then yeah. A lot of people aren’t going to scroll down.

It’s an issue of design, and it must be carefully weighed and considered.

But by no means should you just blanket sweep and make a decision that nobody knows how to scroll anymore.

“And no more happiness!”

Keeping all your most important information and anything to grab attention should always be above the fold or as close as you can get it. That’s what users see first – if it doesn’t grab their attention, they’re gonna surf onward.

If you designed a printed flyer, would you put your most important info on the back, and leave the front with whatever just “fit?”

“Everybody I know has a fancy little mouse with this thing called the scroll-wheel.”

Great argument. Stupendous fact gathering. Are you a statistician on the side?

If the stuff ‘above the fold’ reveals enough to tickle visitors to stay and scroll down you should be fine. As said, people will scroll unless your ‘above the fold’ area reveals absolutely nothing that may interest anyone. Warpspire has definitely enough appeal to make people stay, simply because the site has killer looks.

It’s funny there are still people (including many clients) who desire websites that have no vertical scrollbar AT ALL. Trying to convince these people of the fact that some scrolling doesn’t harm anyone including their company is very, very hard.

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