Wheel mouse – revolutionising the fold

Marketers are always concerned about “the fold”. The fold is defined as:

That part of a web page that can be seen without scrolling down.

The term comes from the newspaper industry, where editors and advertisers value the space in the upper half of the page more than the part that requires unfolding the newspaper.

For a web page, location of the “fold” depends on the browser’s screen resolution, so it is different for different visitors.

src: IA glossary

Before the wheel mouse

Before mice had wheels you would’ve had to go all the way to the right of the page with your gaze and your mouse. Carefully pull the scroll bar to the next section, move your gaze back to the centre of the page and continue reading. It was a lot more effort, and more time consuming to scroll before mice incorporated scroll wheels. It was the belief that if all information wasn’t easily accessibility from the moment a visitor landed on the page, that they were quite unlikely to bother at all within anything which wasn’t immediately accessible. That is why for marketers it was so important to have all the information within easy reach.

Do users scroll now?

Nowadays a user can use their mouse, trackpad, or finger to scroll from anywhere within the page to another place with very little effort. It would take a fraction of a section to get from one section to another. With some mice, its so simple its like gliding.
So its a lot easier for users to move around a page, but are they bothering to scroll? The short answer is yes and no.

Visual queue

The design needs to be considered enough to encourage or incentivise the user to scroll. A designer can do this by letting the user know there is more to come, if they scroll a little farther.

Its important to also look at break points. If your google analytics says that the majority of your users are viewing your website on a 800x600px window, this doesn’t mean that you should only make your website this dimension. It simply means that if you have more information that would fit in this one scroll height, that you should have a visual queue between the 500-700px mark that will let the user know there is more useful information to be seen below.

The below example shows a good visual queue that there is more information below the fold.

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 3.09.17 PM
src: thinknologies

Of course its still important to have the most important information at the top of the page. But its not necessary to have all information there.