This concept of ‘Above the Fold’ just doesn’t exist. I’d add the word ‘anymore’ to that statement, but I don’t really believe that to be the case. In all of my experience with using the web, the one thing I’ve noticed is that users always scroll if they think that there is more on the page below what they can currently see in the viewport.
Taking the concept of ‘the fold’ back to a literal example, consider a broadsheet newspaper, and picture yourself picking one up to read. What is the first thing you do – ah, yes, you hold it up and shake out the fold (or unfold it and lay it on the table, if your method of commute has tables or you get to read your newspaper at the breakfast table). When have you ever seen anyone look at a folded newspaper and shout “but where is the rest of the news?”, jabbing at half of the front page or scrutinising it for clues as to what to do next.
Users scroll, it’s what they do.
If you take a look at some of the most well used websites and applications, you’ll notice one thing. You need to scroll to see more – whether its the inbox on your email client or portal, some search results, a Facebook or Twitter feed or an ebay listing. With the rapid adoption of mobile devices and smaller screen notebook computers, users will intuitively scroll to view content. They may even attempt to scroll even if there is nothing to scroll to, simply because they are so used to doing so.
Why the obsession to be on top?
Let’s think about this – why do you need specific content to be in your potential customer’s line of sight as soon as they open your page? Is it to get their attention? If so, you’d better make sure that whatever it it is, it’s relevant to the reader otherwise they will at best, ignore it, or at worst, close your page immediately and go elsewhere.
Call to Action
Ahh, you’d like me to sign up for your newsletter/get your e-book/have somebody call me/know how to get more customers? Not until I’ve read something about your service that makes me think you’re worth it. Think about it, when you last went shopping, did somebody stop you at the entrance to the shop and ask for some personal information or insist that you join their mailing list before allowing you to look at their store? No, of course they didn’t, so why do you think a website is any different?