Should a website require scrolling or not?

Is it a good idea to have the important content above the fold of the website or to have users scroll through your website? When it comes to scrolling on a website, it can make your website more interactive. Web designers have interesting ways to make scrolling visually interesting, focusing attention on the calls to action on a website. However, ‘above the fold’ would mean that a web designer will create a website where there is no scrolling. This does allow a website viewer to read through the content, without having to scroll, but it can look cluttered, if not designed correctly. In this article, we will be discussing what above the fold means in web design and if it is a good idea to have a scrolling website.

Above the fold

In website design, ‘above the fold’ refers to the top section of the web page that the viewer sees when they first arrive on the website (without needing to scroll). Above the fold is a crucial layout as it allows users to decide whether your web page is worth reading or not. When opting for this layout, it is important to keep the message clear with eye-catching headlines and sub-headlines that are straight to the point and easily understandable.

5 ways to make above the fold work in web design

  • Focus on a clear message and priority content
  • Keep your headlines and sub-headings simple
  • You can add interesting visuals like interesting imagery and icons
  • Be sure that all the content above the fold appears correctly on different device screens
  • Make it visually interesting by adding simple, short animations to icons, content, or any design elements placed

Above the fold call to actions

Where to put the call to action has several factors mostly based on certain visitors, uncertain visitors that are certain about your products, or uncertain visitors who don’t know your products or services at all. This is how call to actions affect different users on your website:

Certain visitors 

Certain visitors are more likely to react to call to actions as they have largely made up their mind before they have visited your website. This is where known brands, such as Nike, Guess, etc. have an advantage as there is little that the certain visitor has to learn about. In these cases, placing a call to action above the fold is only a matter of convenience.

Uncertain visitors

Uncertain visitors have knowledge regarding your products or services. With that being said, placing the call to action above the fold is generally best practice. This is due to the fact that they are familiar with your brand, so having the call to action above the fold will prompt them to contact your business to further enquire about one of your products and services.

Uncertain visitors with no product knowledge

For uncertain visitors that have absolutely no knowledge about your brand, placing the call to action above the fold will not suffice. What is required is a more in-depth explanation on the products or services you offer. Once you have the necessary product and service orientated information, you can then add in a convincing call to action. This content placement choice will draw your visitors’ attention to your call to action, after reading your product/service info. For example, if your product is a simple app, you would include on your landing page a small headline, minimal copy, a graphic (probably of how your app is used), and a call to action button.

Scrolling websites

If you do not want to create an above the fold website, you can consider introducing scrolling features. Scrolling makes a website less static. Not having a scrolling website could cause more technical and layout issues on your website which could affect how Google ranks your website. Adding quality content and presenting it in an interesting and readable way (with scrolling capability) will make your visitors stick around. Scrolling websites have become more popular because it offers web users a more interactive level of online viewing.

How scrolling websites can help your website

  • It directs visitors to the call to action
  • It creates curiosity and encouragement
  • It entices visitors with animation
  • It lengthens the duration that your user will stay on the site as viewers are more interested
  • It increases the credibility of the website

In general, websites need to be mobile friendly. Having a non-scrolling website would mean that you are limiting the amount of information you can add, sacrificing elements so that you can fit your non-scrolling content and imagery. Mobile devices make scrolling intuitive and fun as the action of swiping a finger allows users to browse scrolling sites with more control and accuracy, than tapping through page-by-page navigations.

Parallax scrolling

A common form of scrolling that some websites implement is called parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling is a technique done by making the background images move slower in the foreground creating an illusion of depth and immersion. Parallax scrolling is another way to consider making your scrolling website even more interesting. However, with that being said, there are certain considerations that you must bear in mind when using parallax in your website:

Loading time

People on the internet have a short attention span and limited time. If your website loads slowly, you will lose visitors, no matter how well designed it may be. Most designers use parallax for its aesthetics. However, parallax is not known for its speed, so no matter how well you designed it, you will be sacrificing a little bit of your page loading time.

The usability factors

In most cases, parallax scrolling is used if the website is just to showcase who you are and how your users can contact you. However, problems arise when parallax is misused on websites that are created to give essential product or service information.

The issue of SEO & mobile compatibility

Search engine optimisation is another factor that is often overlooked in parallax scrolling. You can follow a definite SEO architecture with parallax websites, but the biggest and most visible drawback, in this case, is the fact that parallax scrolling is not the best fit for mobile devices. Considering that more and more search engines are now keeping mobile users’ requirements in mind, you need to be prepared for the same.

In conclusion

Web design is evolving by the day, creating new ways to make websites more interesting and stand out. As much as there are different ways to get people interested in your site, you have to ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your site easy to navigate?
  • Is it understandable?
  • What would bring more visitors to your site?

Overall, the main purpose of your website is to sell products and services and generate leads. Therefore, you must make sure that the user experience is pleasurable and easy to navigate, no matter if your website uses scrolling or above the fold features. At the end of the day, as long as you understand what the purpose of your website is, you will be able to pick the best features for your website.

If you are unsure which features will optimise your website best, contact us.

Further reading