Oct 15 2008

Let’s talk about the fold. I have previously lobbied rather firmly that the fold does not exist on the web, but as of recent I am starting to come around… somewhat. There is a fold, but most people are doing it wrong.

To the uninitiated, “the fold” is an allegory binding websites to newspapers. In newspapers, the most succulent and seductive of stories needed to appear in the bit of the front page that was visible once the paper was folded. This is mostly due to the fact that, in an honor box, this snippet was all you could see to decide whether or not the rest of the paper was worth a purchase.

With regards to the web, “the fold” is the contemptuous concept that all internet people have such a low attention span and lack of coordination that nothing requiring the determination and dexterity of scrolling could ever be seen. Like myself, some have stood up against the absurdity of “the fold” on the web, but to little avail. Recently I made a realization that may very well help us push our anti fold agenda.
To those claiming that you need to cram as much advertising above the fold as you can (simply because that is what you feel has been decreed from the newspaper gods) I ask you… How many ads appear above the fold in your newspapers?

If you feel it is necessary, in the name of the paper gods, to delineate this intangible ground as sacred… at least do so by making the top 800 or so pixels the best possible representation of your site. If you honestly feel your visitors are incapable of scrolling beyond the first screenful of your website without bouncing off to lolcats, perhaps you need to reevaluate the quality of your content (or at least do a deal with Vyvanse).