what it is, how to improve on it and how to measure your design effectiveness

In UX design, “above the fold” and “below the fold” are terms that originate from print media but are commonly used in web design as well. They refer to the portions of a webpage that are visible without scrolling (above the fold) and the portions that require scrolling to become visible (below the fold).

In the context of e-commerce storefronts, the content above the fold is critical because it’s the first thing users see when they land on the page. This area should capture their attention, communicate the primary message or value proposition, and encourage further exploration. Since users tend to make quick judgments about a website, the content above the fold plays a crucial role in determining whether users will continue engaging with the site or leave.

Examples of good above the fold designs in e-commerce storefronts:

  1. Clear and Compelling Headline: The above the fold area of an e-commerce storefront should start with a clear and compelling headline that immediately communicates the store’s unique selling proposition or the main message. A well-crafted headline captures the attention of visitors and gives them a quick understanding of what the store offers. Whether it’s showcasing a special promotion, emphasizing free shipping, or highlighting a unique product feature, the headline should be concise, impactful, and aligned with the brand’s overall messaging.
  2. High-Quality Imagery: Eye-catching visuals play a crucial role in creating a positive first impression on users. The above the fold area should feature high-quality images that showcase the store’s products or highlight the brand’s identity. These images should be visually appealing, relevant, and effectively convey the essence of the brand and its offerings. Using captivating lifestyle images or product photographs can evoke emotions and prompt users to explore further.
  3. Prominent Call-to-Action (CTA): The primary goal of the above the fold area is to encourage users to take action, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or exploring the product catalog. A well-designed and prominently placed call-to-action (CTA) button is essential in guiding users towards the desired action. The CTA text should be straightforward and action-oriented, and the button should stand out with contrasting colors to make it easily noticeable.
  4. Intuitive Navigation: A clutter-free and intuitive navigation menu is crucial for helping users quickly find what they are looking for. The above the fold area should include a straightforward menu that provides easy access to essential categories or sections of the website. Consider using clear and concise labels for the navigation items and, if necessary, a search bar to facilitate further exploration.
  5. Limited Text: While it’s essential to communicate the brand’s value proposition and key benefits, overloading the above the fold area with excessive text can overwhelm users and reduce engagement. Keep the text concise and impactful, using short, punchy phrases that complement the visuals and make the content easily scannable. Provide just enough information to spark users’ interest and entice them to explore more.

By implementing these elements effectively, e-commerce storefronts can create a compelling and engaging above the fold experience, increasing the likelihood of visitors staying on the site and moving further down the conversion funnel. But how do you know your design is doing well? or poorly?

Measuring the performance of above the fold designs can be done using various metrics, such as:

  1. Click-Through Rate (CTR): Click-Through Rate (CTR) is a crucial metric for assessing the effectiveness of above the fold designs. It measures the percentage of users who click on specific elements like call-to-action buttons or links in the above the fold area. A high CTR indicates that the above the fold content successfully captures users’ attention and encourages them to take the desired actions. On the other hand, a low CTR may suggest that the content lacks relevance or fails to guide users effectively. By analyzing CTR data, designers can identify which elements are performing well and which might require improvement.
  2. Bounce Rate: The bounce rate represents the percentage of users who leave the website without further interaction after viewing the above the fold content. A high bounce rate for this area could indicate that visitors don’t find what they are looking for or that the initial impression is not compelling enough to keep them engaged. A well-designed above the fold section should entice users to explore more, reducing the bounce rate and increasing the chances of visitors navigating deeper into the website.
  3. Conversion Rate: Conversion Rate is a critical metric to measure the success of an e-commerce storefront’s above the fold content. It represents the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form. By monitoring the conversion rate, designers can assess whether the above the fold area effectively persuades users to convert. If the conversion rate is low, it might signal the need for better alignment between the content and user expectations or more prominent calls-to-action.
  4. Scroll Depth: Understanding how far users scroll down the page can provide insights into their engagement level with the above the fold content. Tracking scroll depth helps identify whether users find the content interesting enough to explore further. If a significant number of users don’t scroll past the above the fold section, it may indicate that the content lacks relevance or that the initial design doesn’t encourage further interaction. Designers can use this information to optimize the content and encourage users to explore more of the website.
  5. Heatmaps and User Testing: Heatmaps and user testing are valuable tools for gaining qualitative insights into how users interact with the above the fold content. Heatmaps visually represent where users click, move their cursor, or spend the most time on the page. User testing involves observing users as they navigate through the website, providing valuable feedback on their experiences and pain points. By analyzing these data sources, designers can identify areas that draw the most attention, as well as potential obstacles or confusion users encounter in the above the fold area. This information enables them to make data-driven design decisions and continuously improve the user experience.

The above the fold area in e-commerce storefronts plays a pivotal role in shaping users’ initial impressions and driving their engagement (purchases). By carefully designing this crucial section with clear and compelling headlines, high-quality imagery, prominent CTAs, intuitive navigation, and concise content, businesses can effectively capture users’ attention and encourage them to explore further.

Measuring the performance of above the fold designs using metrics such as CTR, bounce rate, conversion rate, scroll depth, and leveraging heatmaps and user testing provides valuable insights for iterative improvements (A/B tests). With a user-centric approach and continuous optimization, UX designers (You) can create impactful above the fold experiences that enhance the overall user experience and ultimately lead to increased conversions and business success.

UX Design

User Experience