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“Above the Fold” – The Argument & The Book

Cara Ogar May 25, 2011 Project Management

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By far, one of the most common questions/obstacles/arguments that come up during the web design process is the matter of “the fold” and the requirement that every piece of information on a site is crammed into that coveted space above it. Sometimes this is not a factor until the site is this close to being approved, other times it is an absolute requirement from the start. Either way, it feels like it can be a never-ending battle, explaining to clients that not everything needs to be above the fold; that users do know how to scroll; that the information hierarchy will be well thought-out to address what information must appear first and foremost versus what information will just make the site look cluttered. Sigh.

“It’s the balance between design, usability, and return on investment that makes a web site truly great.”
– Brian Miller

That being said, this question led me to the book named Above the Fold by Brian Miller. The UI extraordinaire put the whole web design process into an incredibly well written, logical and helpful fashion. I loved the book from start to finish, and think it would be a useful read for anyone who deals with web design, especially in a project management/client contact role.

The book is broken down into three sections: design & typography, planning & usability, and business effectiveness. It covered everything from the evolution of web fonts to the importance of proper file organization/naming. Undertaking a web project can be quite overwhelming, but Brian walked through the process, explaining the necessary steps, and gave lots of useful tips for how proper planning makes everything better. It was super helpful for me, as I am neither a web designer nor developer, to get a deeper understanding of what I can do to make everyone involved (our designers, the client, our developer that has to build it all out once finalized) feel like their needs are being met. As Brian says on his website, “it’s the balance between design, usability, and return on investment that makes a web site truly great.” I couldn’t agree more.

Be sure to shoot over to the site and purchase a copy! http://abovethefoldbook.com/.

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