At the moment at St Andrews we’re working on some design tweaks for our website, based on user-feedback from current staff and students, to make the pages easier to read (more white-space, better line-height, etc.).
As part of this redesign we’ve grouped the news and events information on the homepage at the bottom of the page; below the so-called “fold”. Similar to what the University of Louisville have done.
We’ve had a few people comment on this, that although they like the design they’re worried that people won’t scroll and that everything should be “above the fold”.
But that’s the thing: we can’t put everything at the top of the page. Surely there have to be some design trade-offs that make it easier for the user once she has scrolled to understand what she’s looking at. That involves grouping similar items together, and using good labels, and so that’s what we’ve tried to do.
Besides, what is the fold anyway? Surely it depends entirely on the user’s screen resolution, the browser used and how many extra toolbars are displayed? My fold will likely be different to yours.
I’ve just checked the Google Analytics stats from when we launched the new university website and the site has been viewed with 849 resolutions, ranging from 0x0 (!!) to 240 x 240 up to 6400 x 5120 pixels.
A few good resources about this:
- Blasting the Myth of the Fold on Boxes and Arrows (July 2007)
- Unfolding the Fold on ClickTale Blog (December 2006)
- Fearing the Fold on Boagworld (June 2005)
Meanwhile I’m getting on with our redesign, which should go live sometime in the summer.