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2013 in Review: Debunking the Above the Fold Myth

It's not uncommon for us to get a request like this: "I want to get everything above the fold so our site visitors can easily see everything we offer." While the intent behind the question is to promote a better visitor experience, in reality, this line of thinking can have the exact opposite effect.

Watch the video below - the third of our 2013 in Review series - and then read Dave's post to learn why smashing everything above the fold can actually be a very bad experience for today's web user.


Video Transcription

Dan: Now, for you old-timers who remember newspapers like The Plain Dealer and other newspapers, the goal is always to have the most important stuff what they called “above the fold.” A newspaper folded and the headline was above the fold. That carried over into the web world where you tried to cram everything in there so someone wouldn't have to scroll.

Now, when I look at, it's a very clean site. It's got a carousel of messages, kind of punchy messages, and then you can do other stuff. It seems counter to what we used to think about having all this stuff crammed above the fold. What’s the story there?

Dave: We did just write a blog post about it...I just wrote a blog post about it because, as a designer, it is a little frustrating to get that request. As a designer, my primary job is to try and communicate somebody's content on their website.

If I'm trying to communicate too many messages at the same time, the result is they're all lost. So, the mentality to try and cram everything above the fold doesn't mean it's going to be seen. It means there are too many things to be seen at once, and it's as bad as hiding them.

It is our belief and recommendation that you take your time to identify what's most important and get that above the fold, or in the initial view, to captivate a user and encourage them by the way you lay your content and design to keep moving through it. And finding the secondary and tertiary and so on. You can't ask them to understand everything all at once. Just smashing it in there doesn't do what the request [intended for].

Dan: So, Matt, as a web marketing guy, you've got to really be on the same page as the developers and the creative guys because you're trying to get this message across, and Dave's putting in this punchy thing, and the developers are doing it in a clean way. When you have limited real estate like that you've really got to hone that message and work with these guys.

Matt: Yeah, exactly. It's got to be a holistic focus. You can't look at a website as the design, and the programming, and the marketing of it, separately. Like you said, they've all got to work together.  The end result of that is going to be much better than if you had a siloed approach.

Dan: That's one of the things I like about Aztek. You’ve got in-house, both the developers and the creative end. There's none of that, "well the back-end guys didn't do it for us and the front-end sucks," and all that stuff.

So, take a look at and check their portfolio out and you'll see some of these examples. Thanks, guys.

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