Designing Your Medical Website Above and Below the Fold

above the foldThe concept of “above the fold” originates from newspapers. Due to the flat display, a great front-page photo or story on the upper half of the front of the newspaper could greatly increase sales. This same idea has been applied to web design. Things that can be seen within the dimensions of the home page screen are deemed above the fold.

In recent years, with the explosion of large format display monitors and the increased use of mobile devices, the fold concept has somewhat changed as scrolling becomes more commonplace. Mobile responsive website design is also of utmost importance, and the concept of the “fold” is in an entirely different place on a phone vs. a tablet.

The fold, while still meaningful, needs to be considered differently and adjusted for different types of devices. Follow these tips for designing above and below the fold to optimize success for your medical website design.

Things above the fold should be the most important information

When a visitor arrives at your site, they want to know what you do. Your branding and tagline to sell your business should go here. The purpose of the above the fold content is to engage with people, so use this space to encourage users to interact with your brand.

White space should be utilized – squeezing everything up top is not a formula for success. Too much information can appear cluttered, while white space gives the sense of a well-organized website. Compelling content is key and should be presented in a way that makes it easy to skim read and scan.

Encourage visitors to scroll

With larger screen sizes and regular use of mobile devices for Internet browsing, the idea that people do not scroll below the fold is outdated. People will scroll if you give them a good reason to do so. Interesting and compelling content combined with visual elements that draw the eye towards the bottom of the page can entice users to explore your site further. Each part of your website should play a part in building the story of your brand.

Persuade users to act

The content that you display above the fold should make users take some type of action – clicking a button, or simply scrolling down the page further. There are many differing views about where to place call to actions. Most often, they are advantageous above the fold; however, in some instances, below the fold call to actions can prove more successful, like when a user feels more confident with your brand. Ultimately, it depends on your content and your user. Experiment with various alternatives and adjust your design in line with visitor behavior.

Make the fold responsive

Website design for doctors must incorporate mobile responsive design – your content should be automatically re-positioned to display in the best way possible no matter what device users access your site from. Therefore, you need to carefully consider the different variations of the fold on each device.

While the term above the fold may be an old design principle, the concept today is still equally important in web design, albeit in slightly different terms. The first impression is crucial – you still need to inspire, engage, and entice your audience (above the fold), then showcase everything else you can do below it.

Gretchen Kalthoff is a writer and marketing specialist for MWE. She is an expert in healthcare marketing and health IT with a special interest in increasing patient engagement through social media and healthcare technologies.

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