Words to the Wise: "Above the Fold"

As part of our efforts to make this blog more helpful to you, we're starting a new series of posts called "Words to the Wise" all about editorial and media design lingo. If there's a term you've heard but can't quite figure out, email us or post a comment and we'll define it in a future post.

To start us off, today we're featuring a phrase heard several times in last night's SPD@FIT Paper to Pixels panel discussion. "Above the Fold" is...

a phrase that originated in the newspaper industry, referring to the part of the front page that is visible when the paper is folded (usually the top half of the front page). As you can imagine, that makes the content on that top half especially important as it will be what everyone sees first when they look at the paper. So editors will place their most important or enticing stories there and advertisers want their ads there as it's viewable even by those who simply pass by.

Vocab-AboveTheFold.jpg"Above the Fold" is also used in web design, referring to the portion of the webpage that is visible without clicking or scrolling. Just like the top half of the newspaper, this part of the webpage has a lot of jobs to do: it has to make the reader interested in the stories presented so they'll scroll or click further and it also provides advertisers with a prominent place for their ads.

If you look at the image here, you'll see a dotted yellow line which is the "fold" (also can be called the "scroll-line") ... above it is what viewers will see upon first visiting SPD.org. It's the web designer's hope that there's enough there that will encourage readers to scroll down and click through to get to all the awesome content within the site.

Have questions about other terms you've heard? Email us or post a comment here and we'll give you the scoop on the meaning in future posts.
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