The Fold

November 5, 2009

There has been a long running debate amongst web designers as to whether or nor “the fold” matters, or even exists. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Of *course* users know how to scroll. Just like they know how to unfold physical media. But knowing how is not the same as doing.
  2. Everything else being equal, people are less likely to do things that take more effort. Scrolling takes effort (not much, but some), so users are more likely to read things above the fold than below it.
  3. There are actually two folds – the first is at the bottom of your browser window. The second is in your head. It is the amount of scrolling + reading *you* are willing to do before you give up on a web page. Some people who visit this page will not read this sentence – it will be below their personal fold.
  4. Everything else being equal, users will do things that they typically find most rewarding. If web-designers believe in the fold, they will put the content they consider most important near the top of the page. As a result, we actually train users not to scroll – thus re-reinforcing the idea of the existence of the fold.
  5. Users develop strategies for getting what they want from the web. These strategies vary from person to person and from day to day. The way I/you look at a page might not be typical. You can’t always generalise your own experience.
  6. Without watching what real users actually do, we’re just guessing about the whole fold issue. (Although some of our guesses are more educated than others).

Trick to View HTML Source Code in IE

January 25, 2008

To see the source of any web page, copy the following into your address bar.


Save it as favourite or copy it to your links bar so that you can view the HTML source of any web page that you are viewing in your browser.

My thanks to GK who sent me this tip.

Customer Service Map

June 29, 2007

Back in 2000 I was involved in the early stages of web site design for a local government department. At the time, there were few similar sites in existence. We needed to find some way to determine exactly what we would present on the site, and the structure of the site.

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