Value the most important place on your website

“Above the fold, if you want it sold” is an old phrasing that still is relevant. The most important space on your website is above the fold. That’s where you put the most important stuff.

What baffles me with the current design trends is the over use of hero images. Beautiful photos covering up the most important space with nothingness.

Seattle Cider Company
Seattle Cider Company

Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and it’s modern and responsive. But it’s not good web design, it’s art. You cannot defend a design choice by saying it looks pretty or fantastic, because that’s highly subjective and another person might hate that photo you loved so much.

Web design is about shaping content and structure in such a way that it’s neat and unobtrusive for the end user.

“Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold.”
— Nielsen Norman Group

Arte Charpentier Architects
Arte Charpentier Architects

It doesn’t support the business needs

The business is about selling a product or a service, and if that product or service isn’t about displaying high resolution photos then the design is flawed. Your web design should support the business needs and help selling more products, not hide them underneath a pretty photo.

It doesn’t support the user needs

Again, if your website isn’t all about displaying photos the user doesn’t care about the photo. He or she will quickly scroll by it and look for the actual content.

Value the most important place on your website

Be careful what you place above the fold. These items should help your business or help the user. It’s not there to help your web designer display his awesome photos.

Thoughts and comments

  1. Great article, I totally agree with you! The ‘big photo on front page’ approach seems to be more common these days but I have never liked it. It comes across like somebody has tried to digitize a brochure but forgotten that it’s meant to be a website – with all the UI/UX requirements that go along with it. I also hate when I go to a site and I have to click or scroll before I can see *any* content whatsoever. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  2. Thanks, Andreas, good point, ovbiously. Certainly there is no real content etc. and it seems the waste of space like some time ago everybody used to have splash page before entering the site. But there’s something more about that image.

    Consider meeting a new person for the 1st time — you instantly judge by the appearence. From just one glance you “read” the social level, energy level, self confidence, even major life strategies of the person. A whole lot of info which helps you pretty accurately predict whether this person is reliable, qualified for this or that type of activities, seems to “have future” and so on. The overall vibe of the person, the subconscious impression matters.

    And compare it with what the person can tell you — something, but by far not that much of what could be used to make predictions. Besides he can just lie.

    I think this new trend for big splash pictures comes from redescovering the power of impressions to tell a lot more than words.

    + this impression skips the logic and goes right into the lizard brain. So if a picture resonates with the taste and mind structures of the client, it can potentially convince him that those guys are what he needs — even before studying the offer.

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