When you open up a website the first elements that appear on your screen are commonly referred to as 'above the fold', content that is visible without scrolling down. This term was adapted from the newspaper era when papers were displayed folded with the top part of the page facing upwards. Significant or exciting content was placed there to encourage the reader to read on further through the paper.

Due to the varying computer resolutions or screen sizes, the boundaries of the fold differ depending on what and where. Some developers intent on cramming significant content or images into the 'no-need to scroll section' have created sites that just don't look right. Either there's too much content in that section or the elements found below are uninteresting and don't compel you to read on. It is imperative that when designing a site you keep in mind the myriads of people who scroll or view your site on a bigger screen and don't just focus on the 'fold' area. You don't want your site to look imbalanced or top-heavy by leaning too much of your content above the fold.

The 'fold' idea of what catches the eye of a first time or returning visitor to your site is an important thought for the developers of a website to figure out. How does your opening page look at first glance? Do the design and graphics invite further perusing? Are the images striking and compelling or are they plain and dull? It's that first impression that can really make an impact on the reader.

It is essential to place relevant and important content either on your first screen or not too far down on the page. Many people don't mind scrolling as they read, as long as the main factors aren't found too far down on the page. Having a page that naturally flows downward and has an uncluttered and neat design encourages people to read further on. A great example are blogs. Blogs are usually one-paged and yet people find them interesting and read them until or almost until the very bottom!

You can see how even if you don't use the exact dimensions of the fold, the ideas behind it can be very useful!