Interestingly, the term comes from the now ‘old’ paper newspapers – it was observed that a reader would pay more attention to the content on the initial surface – “above the fold” line.
What does this mean for websites?
Aside from the readability benefits, we can learn some good web design fundamentals from the history of the term. The front upper portion (above the fold) on a newspaper is intended to be eye-catching and create an informal call to action, to persuade the reader to pick up the newspaper and read on. This would typically be presented with big bold catchphrases and/or images. Nowadays on a website, we do the same thing! We want our visitors to see the above the fold content on our site, so we use Headers and imagery to grab attention and encourage them to read further.
Customer journey should be the first thing to evaluate when it comes to your website. Try to tailor your website around your customers and guiding them through the journey (and your sales funnel!). Once you have a fairly solid idea of how your customers perform, this can help dictate your layout and your ATF content.
What are you trying to achieve?
Your goals for the site should be what affect your ATF web design. Do you want to make a sale? Get an enquiry? Get viewers for your article? All of these? Whatever your goals are, your ATF content should reflect these and encourage users to click through to complete the goal.
One such way is to create a ‘make an enquiry’ button on a banner, that sits above the fold. What about designing a catchy title and image that kickstarts the viewer’s scrolling habits (we’ve all been on those sites). Good use of colour and font are also important, as you don’t want people scrolling down just to move the text off their screen (or worse, leaving the site altogether) as your colour scheme is too bright or can’t be read.
One key aspect to designing ATF content is to give practical options for users to find the content they want on your site from the get-go. You don’t want the customer looking for a telephone number to be stuck scrolling through a slide show to find what they came for.
Whilst we would never recommend writing content purely for search engines, Google’s algorithms are very content and quality oriented, to match relevant content to the user searched query. You will want this to be reflected in your ATF content, so a bit of keyword research before writing site content is important to make sure what you’re advertising is what people are looking for. The Google Keyword Planner can help with this, as can Google Trends – you’ll need a Google account to use these but they are free of charge.