When is come to online behaviour it is important to think about where do the eyes instinctively want to go when they first take in a new web page? You might be surprised to learn that it’s often below the fold.
‘Scrolling is a continuation, clicking is a decision’ – Josh Porter
It wasn’t always the case but smartphones have taught us how to scroll and swipe and these behaviours are now well and truly entrenched – even on desktop screens. It makes sense and it’s a natural learned online behaviour. People know that not everything can be showcased above the fold and as such they will instinctively scroll to learn more about your organisation, products and services and they also understand that the fold will often render differently on various screen sizes.
Impatience is endemic, a factor that is even more potent when we are online. People often start scrolling even before a web page is fully loaded and can easily get frustrated if load times are slow (another issue altogether that can adversely affect your bounce rate, conversions and ultimately your SEO). This is particularly true when people arrive on your site for the first time – they want to know if its relevant, so slow load times can readily result in a lost customer.
“Unless your layout makes it look like there’s nothing to scroll… people will.” Luke Wroblewski (author of Mobile First)
Very long pages, particularly on mobile, can present some user experience issues as people grapple with how to navigate the site to resolve their content queries. These issues can be mitigated a number of ways:
– Creating a fixed or sticky navigation
– Creating navigational support in the footer as well as in the header
– Well placed internal links and call-to-action items that appear at various intuitive points to help visitors navigate
– Advanced search functionality
In some ways the concept of the fold in 2016 is just a visual construct, a false limitation and not a behavioural one.
Relax and remember heads will scroll.