Above the Fold

What does ‘Above the Fold’ mean?

Above the fold refers to the top portion of a webpage that is visible to a visitor without scrolling. It’s the area that appears immediately when the page loads, typically on desktop and mobile devices. The term originated from the newspaper industry, where the most important headlines were placed on the top half of the front page so that they were visible even when folded.

Why is the Above the Fold section so important to get right?

The above-the-fold section is crucial to your website’s success because it usually makes or breaks your visitors’ first impression. It’s where you have the greatest opportunity to get their attention and pique their curiosity. Users often decide within seconds whether to stay or leave a website, so optimizing the above-the-fold section is essential for capturing their interest and keeping them on your site.

What elements should you include Above the Fold?

While all web pages differ, there are tried-and-true elements you should include:

A clear and compelling headline    

Craft an H1 headline that immediately communicates the value or purpose of the webpage. While users generally only skim your page, you can be sure they will read your H1. Frame up a differentiator or pain point that is compelling, clear, and hyper-relevant to your target audience.

Engaging product visual 

Include on-brand, visually aesthetic images, videos, or graphics that capture your  Visuals should be high-quality, relevant, and help convey your message effectively.

Call-to-action (CTA) button(s)

Place a prominent CTA button above the fold just below the subheading to guide visitors toward one or two desired actions:

  • A conversion (making a purchase)
  • A lead capture (fill in your email to access this guide).
A concise and intriguing subheading

Use your subheading to add context and information your headline didn’t capture. Use clear and easily scannable language that will entice your visitor to keep scrolling.

An intuitive navigation menu

There are few things worse for your user experience than a cluttered menu. Make sure to use an intuitive label hierarchy of parent and child pages that your can easily navigate.

How can you improve your Above the Fold sections?

While your above-the-fold section is your user’s first impression of your webpage, the entire website must be engaging and user-friendly enough to convert the user.

You have a short window to convince users of your value. Your first fold should pass the 5-second usability test to determine if your headline and design can engage and communicate a clear message to your target user in five seconds or less.

 By focusing on the above-the-fold section and implementing these best practices, you can effectively capture visitors’ attention, communicate your message, and ultimately drive them to convert.

Keep it clutter-free and clean

Avoid overwhelming visitors with excessive content or visuals. Maintain a clean and organized layout, allowing key elements to stand out.

Practice responsive web design

Ensure your above-the-fold section is optimized for mobile devices, as a significant portion of website traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. Use responsive design techniques to adapt the layout and visuals accordingly.

Optimize your load speed

Ensure that your above-the-fold section loads quickly. Your users have a short “waiting window” and expect a smooth browsing experience. To reduce lag, compress your visuals, minimize complex back-end code, and use “caching.”

Test, re-test, and optimize 

If your website isn’t converting, it might be time to update your above-the-fold section. Use your Google Analytics data and user feedback to A/B test and optimize elements like headlines, visuals, CTA copy, and overall layout for better results.

Related Terms

F-Shaped Pattern

The F-shaped pattern is a common left to right, top to bottom pattern of eye-movement that readers use when reading or scanning a web page.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the exercise of increasing the number of website or mobile app users who perform a desired action.

Lean UX

Lean UX is a highly collaborative, iterative, design technique that focuses on solving specific user experience problems within the constraints of development sprints.