Forget about the fold. This article provides proof that web readers scroll.
Sometimes an issue comes along that just seemingly just won’t go away. They fade into the background only to rear their ugly heads at the most frustrating times. Over and over again. To the point that if I had hair, I would be pulling it out. One of those things that really sours my buttermilk is “how will people know to scroll beyond the fold of my website?” My colleague has already addressed this once, but it is surprisingly still an ongoing issue. So I just wanted to take the time yell it from the rooftops.
I’m not going to lie, there isn’t much left to say that hasn’t already been said (tongue planted firmly in cheek). So I am going to do something I very rarely do here in this format, I’m going to state opinion. Hope you are wearing your big-boy pants. But before we start, can anyone truly know where the fold is? Try this on for size. This website beautifully illustrates how the fold can be anywhere for anyone at any given time. Take a look.
People Don’t Scroll
Wrong. Just wrong. Maybe if it was 1994 and the world wide web was a mysterious and confusing place. But it isn’t. Not by a long shot. We are increasingly more attached to the internet every day. My refrigerator surfs the web. My light bulbs use a bluetooth connection. There are cars that drive themselves. Hate to break it to you, but the future is here. Ripped from sci-fi books, television shows and movies, it’s all around us. And guess what? It isn’t frightening. It’s intuitive and natural. Unless you live under a rock, the way things have evolved have done so with users (humans) in mind. Taking their natural instincts and using them to their advantage. (I’m shaking my fist at you Skynet!) People no longer stare at their phones, tablets or watches in awe or wonder. They are just things. Expensive things that connect us to other things. A natural extension of ourselves (for better or worse) and they are designed to NOT confuse users. The creators of these devices know that there is basic user experience that underlies everything that doesn’t need to be explained when done correctly. It’s a “move along, nothing to see here folks” approach. And it works.
You are Officially Below the Fold. How Did You Get Here?
Why? Because there are just some behaviors that people inherently do. That are now engrained into the way we interact with devices. Scrolling is one of those things. It is no longer a question of do people scroll, it’s a matter of how much are they willing to scroll? No one looks at their phones or tablet without flicking their thumb or finger. No one stares at the rectangle in front of them, not moving their mouse and goes “Well, I guess that’s it.” No one starts reading a blog post or an article, gets to the bottom of their screen and says “That’s weird. They just stopped writing mid-sentence. I guess I’ll shut this thing off.” There is a reason every mouse has some sort of scroll wheel or tracking sensor built in. We use them. Without thinking about it, we use them. Heck, even the new Apple laptops have a trackpad with something called “Force Touch.” Which takes our natural movement to a whole new level. Because its no longer special that we connect and interact with each other virtually, it’s about making that connection as human and as fluent as possible. Like a handshake. I mean, how long does a handshake last? 2 shakes? 4 shakes? Is there science behind it? No. Are there countless research reports on handshake length? Man, I hope not. So how do you just know when to stop shaking hands? Who knows and who cares, because you just do. It’s instinct at this point.
That same instinct tells you there is more to know than what you see. You simply do not have to cram everything into a single space at the top of your homepage. Yeah sure, it will be the first thing that people see and if it really wets their whistle, they’ll click on it. It’s important. Very important. But if they don’t, they will mosey on down the page to see if anything else piques their interest. We are curious people that can’t stand still. If our innate inquisitiveness doesn’t get the better of us, the muscle memory in our fingers will do it for us. So can we just eliminate the word “fold” from our vernacular unless we are speaking about greeting cards, sheets, magazines, laundry, egg whites or (if you are from where I’m from) pizza? Please?
OK. I’ll step off my virtual soapbox. I just needed to talk honestly about something and not hide behind facts and figures and charts and whatnot. But if you really need to evidence to back this up, you can read up about it at some of the MANY links below. What’s crazy, is some of these reports were done close to 10 years ago. 10 years ago!
STOP WONDERING IF PEOPLE WILL SCROLL. THEY WILL.
Don’t Take My Word For It
What You Think You Know About The Web is Wrong
The Impact of Paging vs. Scrolling
The Extinction of the Scrollbar
Stop the Above The Fold Web Design Insanity
Debunking the Myth of the Page Fold in Web Design
Reblasting the Myth of the Fold
Do People Scroll Below the Fold
Scroll Behavior Across the Web
Below the Fold isn’t an Advertising Wasteland
Scrolling Behavior of Online Shoppers
MAYBE EVEN ALL
THE WAY DOWN HERE.