The Myth of the Page Fold, and what you need to know

What is the fold? This is a reference to the upper half, or above the fold, of the front page of a newspaper which is considered to be premium space. It’s also commonly used to describe the area you see on a Web page before you have to scroll down the page.
In the early days of the Web, most users were unfamiliar with page scrolling. However, the fact is people learned to scroll a long time ago. But still the “everything needs to be above the fold” myth lingers on.

The myth-busting team at Covenant is happy to set the record straight.

This myth regarding below 700 pixels (the page fold) has been debunked by evidence from user testing. 76% of users scroll! This according to Click Tail Scrolling Research Report (2007) which measured the activity of 120,000 page views.

There’s quite a bit of science used in evaluating how people view websites. In a 2009 study, CX Partners published findings from user testing over a 6 year period and over 800 user testing sessions. Their click and eye tracking showed not only that people’s eyes flick to the scroll bar to help them assess whether there is more content to be explored, but also that content below the fold is accessed just as much as that above.

The heatmap below is from CX Partners’ eye tracking software showing that users nearly always spend some time glancing at the scrollbar to judge page size.

A quick snoop around the Web will show you that successful brands are not worrying about the fold. Our advice: You shouldn’t be worried about the fold either.

At Covenant, we believe good Web design gives your users some visual breathing room. Compelling content leads your users to read to the very end.

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