I recently received a flurry of email exchanges on the issue of whether it’s still essential to load content at the top of a web page … “above the fold” in old newspaper parlance and current web design argot.
This article sparked the discussion. Here Jakob Neilsen affirms his past retraction of the old “keep key content above the fold” maxim, while at the same time cautioning people to design for limited attention spans.
Someone tossed this post into the discussion, a delightful demonstration that the fold needn’t be a barrier. Written by Paddy Donnelly, though the source is very hard to find, since it’s so damn far below the fold!
All valid considerations, yet, Paddy aside, fundraisers will be well served to KEEP YOUR ASKS ABOVE THE FOLD. You don’t want anyone to miss these, since they pay the bills.
The “fold” is still an active concern in email, only it’s a tad tighter piece of geography.
What do people see in their email preview pane? Not much.
So it’s critical to get a gift opportunity in front of the recipient in that split second.
“People would rather delete than scroll” is still a sound guideline.
That said, you can also leverage that space to BUY READERSHIP in what follows … essentially get people to start reading, much as Paddy’s page does.
An anecdote from the early days of emails, the mid 1990s. Use of graphics was quite limited back then. A friend had written an email campaign for a tech company. In one highly successful email, a picture of a face was cropped in half in the preview pane.
Trying to “improve” the email, an art director slid the image up and to right, so the full face was visible.
The result? A big drop in response.
People had evidently started scrolling out of our species’ natural need for completion … to see the entire face. This bought READERSHIP … the email was open and being scrolled.
When the face was in full view, no scrolling was needed, no readership bought.