In the days in which Superman was still flying high on TV, in which Clark Kent was still managing to fool everyone with a disguise that comprised only a pair of glasses, and in which newspapers were the medium in which most people consumed daily information, most newspapers (with the possible exception of tabloids) were folded. Consequently, important stories (in the opinion of the editors) appeared on the top half of the paper — or above the fold. But those days are gone now. So are misguided notions of placing your important content (in the opinion of your boss) above some imaginary fold on your website.
If you want to test the fallacy of the notion of the fold on websites, try these three simple tests:
- The illusory fold will be determined by a combination of your browser, your screen size, and your screen resolution. Measure the size of your screen diagonally, from the bottom left to the top right. Make note of the measurement. Log into your control panel and select any resolution you want. Make note of your selection. By any criteria you want to use, determine where you think the fold is. Now go back into the control panel and change the resolution. Lather, rinse, repeat. Good luck.
- Fold your monitor anywhere you want to, making sure the horizontal crease is even. Anything that appears above crease is above the fold. Anything that appears below the crease is below the fold.
- Click here. If you can definitively determine which of the panels on that site appear above the fold and which ones appear below, please let us know.
Okay. We’re joking. If the design of your site is done artfully enough — if the content is presented with enough white space to let it and your readers breathe, enough absence of clutter — visitors do read sites from the top down and will consume the content at the top of your site before they consume the consent below it. But we really do need to get over our allegiance to the fold.
Unless, of course, we work at The Daily Planet and are accustomed to changing our clothes in phone booths.