the tig blog.

The fold has changed

Aaron McCall

Let’s talk about the “fold” as it relates to web design. This idea that all moderately important information has to be immediately visible without scrolling or clicking should be regarded as nonsense or disregarded all together. There is obviously merit in delivering quality content right out of the gates, but you have to be smart about it. Clutter is ugly and confusing. And if you try to say everything, you’ll end up saying nothing. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way. Good design, good writing and good architecture breed interest. People are cool with scrolling and they’re willing to click around, so let them do it. If it’s done right, it can only improve both aesthetics and usability. Especially for mobile devices, which the mere existence of should challenge and destroy the whole “fold” premise. A lot of news sites and apps don’t even subscribe to the “above-the-fold” approach anymore, which is funny considering the whole idea was derived from newspapers. The most valuable tool you can give to a user is a simple, clear navigation. Users typically only care about what they’re looking for, so make it easy. And in turn, make it sexy.

So if I hear the term “above the fold” as it relates to web design one more time, I’m going to start making up my own swear words because the ones that exist cannot begin to express the frustration and anxiety that comes with the persistence of such an outdated and archaic notion. And that’s all I have to say.