Today I continue my website homepage series. Previously I wrote about "Yes you need a website, Facebook/IG is not enough" and the usefulness of keeping it simple, then I followed up with bullet points on what to put on your homepage. Now, I will introduce the concept of the FOLD, what it is, and why it is important to consider with your homepage and website generally.
WHAT IS THE FOLD
The easiest way for me to explain this is to talk about the New York Times. Have you read it, physically read it, actually held it? It's a massive newspaper that comes folded. When you open this monstrosity, what do you read first? The headlines! And then? Stuff above THE FOLD. Now you understand the basic concept of THE FOLD - the stuff deemed important enough to take up the prime viewing space in the NY Times. How does this concept translate for your homepage? Visitors will see the stuff you deem most important, whatever you put above the fold, first!
WHY DO I CARE ABOUT THE FOLD
The fold helps you understand how long your homepage should be and where you should put your call to action (hint: above the fold.) People expect websites to load quickly, look beautiful, and provide what they're looking for immediately. If your call to action is anything other than "scroll through this long website", your call to action has to be visible, available, and obvious the moment your homepage loads.
THE FOLD CONTROVERSY
Defenders of very long website homepages (usually people with very long websites...coincidentally) will argue that the fold doesn't matter anymore. "People know how to scroll, screen sizes vary, people use their mobile devices more than laptops/desktops." If you don't believe me please read more from the very respected Nielsen Norman Group's study on Scrolling and Attention (2018).