Does Above the Fold Apply to Website Anymore?

Dating back to when I was in college (2001 – 2005) and taking website design classes, I can remember people talk about “above the fold” when talking about designs. People don’t want to scroll, keep your most important features and information of a website at the top and designed so it is seen without having to scroll, this is what is referred to as above the fold.

It was annoying and with low screen resolutions, made for some terrible website designs. Then again, people that didn’t design with that in mind may end up with a website that had a giant header image that was cutoff and you didn’t see any text or even the whole image. Over the years though, screen resolutions have increase dramatically from 800×600 to 1024×768 to 1440+ and on and on, so the whole above the fold thing wasn’t nearly as big of a deal, but still something people mention.

Fast forward to present day, December 2014. How many iterations of the iPhone have we had? We are on our 8th “model year” for lack of a better word. How many people do you know that don’t own a smartphone of any kind? How about tablets?

Now think, we used to have the problem of pinching to zoom in/out on a website to see it on our little smartphones, but with responsive website design here to stay and screens getting bigger, designers are designing for these devices now.

Do we design a responsive piece to be “above the fold” on that smartphone?


What does everyone do on their smartphone whether it is surfing the web or using an app or changing settings on their phone?

They scroll.

We are used to scrolling now thanks to our handy smartphones. On desktop versions of websites a popular type of site over the last few years has been the single page sites that scroll a mile long with parallax scrolling backgrounds. Those certainly aren’t kept above the fold.

So with those trends, and everyone used to scrolling with smart phones and tablets, do we really need to design desktop versions of websites to be above the fold?