Above and below the fold: fact and fiction.

Why some clients dislike scrolling.

The terms “above the fold” and “below the fold” refer to a practice that started with Newspapers. Because of the size of a broadsheet they are commonly folded in half, leaving only the top portion visible to people browsing news stands. This means that a publisher only has the top half of the paper to catch a buyers eye and thus sell the paper, so they would always ensure that are most important and arresting stories appeared above the fold.
This philosophy was transferred into the digital world, where above the fold refers to the area of the page visible before a user has to scroll down. This idea that this was important was re-enforced by the early AOL browser (once the market leader in case you’re too young to remember it!), as it did not allow whole screen scrolling, making the only content area available above the fold. Anything that over-ran simply could not be accessed making the page broken from the perspective of the user. This led to the idea that the functionality of the site must appear above the fold.

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