The Big Bad Scroll Monster

Dan Crask

Brand Consultant | Brand Strategist | Creator of Vibe, Tribe, & Why®

Author’s Note: This insight was published on May 14, 2014- 10 years ago as I am typing this now! I decided to keep this insight live because it demonstrates that the “above-the-fold” approach to website design has been dead for a decade. It also indicates that website visitors have been scrolling upon landing since websites were introduced. Leveraging this fact is systemic to my approach to User Experiences.


I have forwarded this article from UX Magazine to a few select clients, and after a few days of thinking it through, I realized it is worth sharing here.

A lot of the article reads as Inside Baseball, but there’s one section that everyone needs to know if you own a business or help run a business:

Stop thinking of screens and start thinking of transitions

We are just starting to realize that the “screens” approach doesn’t cut it for mobile design. Thanks to apps like Facebook Paper or Yahoo! Weather, which showcase a different way of designing, we know we need to design based on transitions rather than still images.

Transitions, once disposable eye candy, are becoming the center of a mobile experience. They not only give the interface a live, interactive tone but are also an interface element in their own right. Transitions convey movement, space, change, and hierarchy and are a great ally in communicating the underlying app structure to the user. They also render a static approach useless.

Let me put this in a world context by demonstrating what I see a lot of:

» Business owner says, “I want something simple and clean.”

» My team produces ‘simple and clean,’ and we review it.

» During review, the client says: “Why is there content ‘below the fold!’ Why do I have to scroll so much?! OH NO…NO ONE WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO…NO ONE KNOWS THEY SHOULD SCROLL…NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO SCROLL… OMG WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!!!111!?!!?!”

Ok, maybe that last part is exaggerated slightly, but you get the idea. Yet you may or may not be surprised by how many passionate discussions I have had with those who still believe in a “fold,” or area of the screen where the content falls below.

That’s when I calmly come alongside them, figuratively speaking, and talk them off the ledge, reassuring them that we all know how to scroll, transition, flick, and generally move through a web experience.

I also try to talk about how “the fold” is dead. It’s a moving target. The last stats I read were from 2012, and there was a 19% market share on desktop monitors for a particular screen size. But what does it matter if 3 in 5 visitors are on a tablet or smartphone? The fold (the bottom of your screen) changes just by flipping the device’s orientation! Like I said, the fold is dead. It’s yesteryear’s thinking, a mindset from the past. Need to be updated.

That little conversation is usually enough, but you might be surprised at how much this topic needs to be reaffirmed and revisited.

So, I present this article in good faith—not out of frustration because if I were frustrated, I wouldn’t do what I do. :)/designers write the article, and the author uses mobile app design as the catalyst for the advice. Still, the information applies to any creators of web experiences and those who hire said creators.

want to apply this insight to your brand?

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