Simone I. Smith teamed up with the American Cancer Society to introduce “a sweet touch of hope.” Simone designed a stylish lollipop charm to help raise funds and awareness to help save more lives from cancer, a disease that affects everyone in some way. In 2004, Simone was diagnosed with stage III Chondorosarcoma-a rare form of cancer. Her treatment required invasive surgery that altered the appearance of her lollipop tattoo. “It literally looked like someone took a bite out of it,” says Simone. Insprired by her experience, the lollipop now represents Simone’s journey to getting well and staying well, and has sparked a desire to help other cancer survivors. Ten percent of the purchase price is donated to the American Cancer Society.
The Above-the-Fold Myth
By Milissa Tarquini Director, User Interface Design and Information Architecture at AOL
We are all well aware that web design is not an easy task. There are many variables to consider, some of them technical, some of them human. The technical considerations of designing for the web can (and do) change quite regularly, but the human variables change at a slower rate. Sometimes the human variables change at such a slow rate that we have a hard time believing that it happens.
This is happening right now in web design. There is an astonishing amount of disbelief that the users of web pages have learned to scroll and that they do so regularly. Holding on to this disbelief – this myth that users won’t scroll to see anything below the fold – is doing everyone a great disservice, most of all our users.
First, a definition: The word “fold” means a great many things, even within the discipline of design. The most common use of the term “fold” is perhaps used in reference to newspaper layout. Because of the physical dimensions of the printed page of a broadsheet newspaper, it is folded. The first page of a newspaper is where the “big” stories of the issue are because it is the best possible placement. Readers have to flip the paper over (or unfold it) to see what else is in the issue, therefore there is a chance that someone will miss it. In web design, the term “fold” means the line beyond which a user must scroll to see more contents of a page (if it exists) after the page displays within their browser. It is also referred to as a “scroll-line.”
Screen performance data and new research indicate that users will scroll to find information and items below the fold. There are established design best practices to ensure that users recognize when a fold exists and that content extends below it1. Yet during requirements gathering for design projects designers are inundated with requests to cram as much information above the fold as possible, which complicates the information design. Why does the myth continue, when we have documented evidence that the fold really doesn’t matter in certain contexts?
Once upon a time, page-level vertical scrolling was not permitted on AOL. Articles, lists and other content that would have to scroll were presented in scrolling text fields or list boxes, which our users easily used. Our pages, which used proprietary technology, were designed to fit inside a client application, and the strictest of guidelines ensured that the application desktop itself did not scroll. The content pages floated in the center of the application interface and were too far removed from the scrollbar location for users to notice if a scrollbar appeared. Even if the page appeared to be cut off, as current best practices dictate, it proved to be such an unusual experience to our users that they assumed that the application was “broken.” We had to instill incredible discipline in all areas of the organization that produced these pages – content creation, design and development – to make sure our content fit on these little pages.
AOL client application with desktop scrollbar activated
As AOL moved away from our proprietary screen technology to an open web experience, we enjoyed the luxury of designing longer (and wider) pages. Remaining sensitive to the issues of scrolling from our history, we developed and employed practices for designing around folds:
- We chose as target screen resolutions those used by the majority of our users.
- We identified where the fold would fall in different browsers, and noted the range of pixels that would be in the fold “zone.”
- We made sure that images and text appeared “broken” or cut off at the fold for the majority of our users (based on common screen resolutions and browsers).
- We kept the overall page height to no more than 3 screens.
But even given our new larger page sizes, we were still presented with long lists of items to be placed above the fold – lists impossible to accommodate. There were just too many things for the limited amount of vertical space.
For example, for advertising to be considered valuable and saleable, a certain percentage of it must appear above the 1024×768 fold. Branding must be above the fold. Navigation must be above the fold – or at least the beginning of the list of navigational choices. (If the list is well organized and displayed appropriately, scanning the list should help bring users down the page.) Big content (the primary content of the site) should begin above the fold. Some marketing folks believe that the actual number of data points and links above the fold is a strategic differentiator critical to business success. Considering the limited vertical real estate available and the desire for multiple ad units and functionality described above, an open design becomes impossible.
And why? Because people think users don’t scroll. Jakob Nielsen wrote about the growing acceptance and understanding of scrolling in 19972, yet 10 years later we are still hearing that users don’t scroll.
Research debunking this myth is starting to pop up, and a great example of this is the report available on ClickTale.com3. In it, the researchers used their proprietary tracking software to measure the activity of 120,000 pages. Their research gives data on the vertical height of the page and the point to which a user scrolls. In the study, they found that 76% of users scrolled and that a good portion of them scrolled all the way to the bottom, despite the height of the screen. Even the longest of web pages were scrolled to the bottom. One thing the study does not capture is how much time is spent at the bottom of the page, so the argument can be made that users might just scan it and not pay much attention to any content placed there.
This is where things get interesting.
I took a look at performance data for some AOL sites and found that items at the bottom of pages are being widely used. Perhaps the best example of this is the popular celebrity gossip website TMZ.com. The most clicked on item on the TMZhomepage is the link at the very bottom of the page that takes users to the next page. Note that the TMZ homepage is often over 15000 pixels long – which supports the ClickTale research that scrolling behavior is independent of screen height. Users are so engaged in the content of this site that they are following it down the page until they get to the “next page” link.
Maybe it’s not fair to use a celebrity gossip site as an example. After all, we’re not all designing around such tantalizing guilty-pleasure content as the downfall of beautiful people. So, let’s look at some drier content.
For example, take AOL News Daily Pulse. You’ll notice the poll at the bottom of the page – the vote counts are well over 300,000 each. This means that not only did folks scroll over 2000 pixels to the bottom of the page, they actually took the time to answer a poll while they were there. Hundreds of thousands of people taking a poll at the bottom of a page can easily be called a success.
AOL News Daily Pulse with 10×7 fold line and vote count
But, you may argue, these pages are both in blog format. Perhaps blogs encourage scrolling more than other types of pages. I’m not convinced, since blog format is of the “newest content on top” variety, but it may be true. However, looking at pages that are not in blog format, we see the same trend. On the AOL Money & Financehomepage, users find and use the modules for recent quotes and their personalized portfolios even when these modules are placed well beneath the 1024×768 fold.
Another example within AOL Money & Finance is a photo gallery entitled Top Tax Tips. Despite the fact that the gallery is almost 2500 pixels down the page, this gallery generates between 200,000 and 400,000 page views depending on promotion of the Taxes page.
It is clear that where a given item falls in relation to the fold is becoming less important. Users are scrolling to see what they want, and finding it. The key is the content – if it is compelling, users will follow where it leads.
When does the fold matter?
The most basic rule of thumb is that for every site the user should be able to understand what your site is about by the information presented to them above the fold. If they have to scroll to even discover what the site is, its success is unlikely.
Functionality that is essential to business strategy should remain (or at least begin) above the fold. For example, if your business success is dependent on users finding a particular thing (movie theaters, for example) then the widget to allow that action should certainly be above the fold.
Screen height and folds matter for applications, especially rapid-fire applications where users input variables and change the display of information. The input and output should be in very close proximity. Getting stock quotes is an example: a user may want to get four or five quotes in sequence, so it is imperative that the input field and the basic quote information display remain above the fold for each symbol entered. Imagine the frustration at having to scroll to find the input field for each quote you wanted.
Where IS the fold?
Here is perhaps the biggest problem of all. The design method of cutting-off images or text only works if you know where the fold is. There is a lot of information out there about how dispersed the location of fold line actually is. Again, a very clear picture of this problem is shown on ClickTale. In the same study of page scrolling, fold locations of viewed screens were captured, based on screen resolution and browser used. It’s a sad, sad thing, but the single highest concentration of fold location (at around 600 pixels) for users accounted for less than 10% of the distribution. This pixel-height corresponds with a screen resolution of 1024×768. Browser applications take away varying amounts of vertical real estate for their interfaces (toolbars, address fields, etc). Each browser has a slightly different size, so not all visitors running a resolution of 1024×768 will have a fold that appears in the same spot. In the ClickTale study, the three highest fold locations were 570, 590 and 600 pixels—apparently from different browsers running on 1024×768 screens. But the overall distribution of fold locations for the entire study was so varied that even these three sizes together only account for less than 26% of visits. What does all this mean? If you pick one pixel location on which to base the location of the fold when designing your screens, the best-case scenario is that you’ll get the fold line exactly right for only 10% of your visitors.
So what do we do now?
Stop worrying about the fold. Don’t throw your best practices out the window, but stop cramming stuff above a certain pixel point. You’re not helping anyone. Open up your designs and give your users some visual breathing room. If your content is compelling enough your users will read it to the end.
Advertisers currently want their ads above the fold, and it will be a while before that tide turns. But it’s very clear that the rest of the page can be just as valuable – perhaps more valuable – to contextual advertising. Personally, I’d want my ad to be right at the bottom of the TMZpage, forget the top.
The biggest lesson to be learned here is that if you use visual cues (such as cut-off images and text) and compelling content, users will scroll to see all of it. The next great frontier in web page design has to be bottom of the page. You’ve done your job and the user scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page because they were so engaged with your content. Now what? Is a footer really all we can offer them? If we know we’ve got them there, why not give them something to do next? Something contextual, a natural next step in your site, or something with which to interact (such as a poll) would be welcome and, most importantly, used.
Click here for full article on boxesandarrows.com May 2011 Issue
Building a successful small business is about making the fewest mistakes
One of the principles of new media and marketing is a strategy called “Launch and learn.” This method is used to quickly launch products, websites and marketing campaigns to establish brand loyalty and customer communication before the product or website has actually reached perfection. Launching campaigns and websites sooner rather than later allows for consumer response to show you what works, and what doesn’t. Setting up metrics such as open rates, conversion rates and analytics allows you to inexpensively launch several initiatives at the same time using different vehicles to reach end users. After analyzing the results you can then allocate monies and resources to what works the best. If you are involved in e-commerce, the numbers will always tell the truth.
Another basic tenet of strategic marketing and planning is transparency. When promoting products or services, it is absolutely imperative to clearly articulate what it is you are offering. We believe in advertising as a tool to provide the information necessary for consumers to make intelligent choices. People want the facts and the research behind a product before making purchases, whereas 5-10 years ago a spectacular image of a product or the promise of a feeling the product or service might provide, was enough to sell it. Promoting marketing integrity from the start provides a strong foundation by building customer loyalty and satisfaction and also helps the “launch and learn” technique distinguish between product and delivery feedback and a lack of solid information provided to the consumer. When testing initiatives, the less variables involved the better.
Its okay to make mistakes, and every new business should be prepared to make them. By setting up metrics you can launch initiatives and analytics to see what works, and what doesn’t. The key is to make the fewest mistakes possible in terms of time and money. Because each product will take a different marketing approach, there is no way to know exactly what will work best without first testing the waters. Steer clear of any marketing firm that claims to have a successful marketing approach upfront for your product or service, because this may end up costing you more than just money in the long run. If you would like to learn more, please contact Kompani Group at (786) 594-0435 for a free consultation.
Get to Know USA Datanet. You will like their people focused culture
USA Datanet is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Warwick Valley Telephone Company. This publicly traded (NASDAQ: WWVY) carrier, headquartered in Warwick, New York has been the provider of choice for businesses and residences for over 100 years. Warwick Valley Telephone is an Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) in parts of Orange County, New York with Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) status throughout New York and New Jersey.
When Warwick Valley Telephone acquired USA Datanet, it added the full capabilities of an experienced, market-leading communications technology company. Together, the two brands scope of services include voice, data/Internet, video, e-fax, email, conferencing and mobile communication.
Powered by Technology
The Hosted IP Voice system by USA Datanet utilizes high-speed Internet Protocol (IP) connections to carry both voice and data communications on a single, broadband conduit. This allows for:
- Secure, fast, reliable connections
- Dedicated, T1-level Internet access
- Transmission via private connections, not public Internet
- Network privately owned and managed
Supported by People.
And while the technology is advanced, the USA Datanet advantage is the tireless personal service we provide to each and every client.
- Expertly trained technicians and installation specialists
- US-based customer service call center
- User-friendly control panel available 24/7 online
- Simplified vendor management – one contact, one contract
Wellient empowers you to take a proactive role in your daily health routine. Working for you around the clock with personalized medication reminders, adverse interaction alerts, automatic prescription renewal counts, daily follow-up upon hospital discharge, health test monitoring, portable health records, emergency response in case of accident, medication price comparisons and traditional and non-traditional medical information tailored to what you say is important to you. Stay on track, be healthier, feel better, stress less and save time and money. Wellient is easy and low-tech for you to use, but high-tech and robust behind the scenes.
By launching a comprehensive new platform of health management and information services, they are transforming your medical history into usable and potentially life-saving information. It is no secret that a bewildering and fast-growing amount of data is available on the Web. A filtering service focused on the most reliable sources of information is needed. A service that is built around your specific needs. We are out to help change attitudes and behavior in a friendly, private and easy way.
Kompani Group has launched another incubator brand, and we named it Kompete because the space they operate in is extremely competitive and the services offered by Kompete can be vital to any company which finds itself in its own very competitive business environment.
This new web design and online marketing company is a new breed of no-nonsense interactive company, where functionality, cost effectiveness, design and strategic ideas are guaranteed. Kompete’s mission is to always to seek to empower the client to manage their websites in-house, thus allowing Kompete to focus its efforts on delivering online results for the client’s business. Their unquenchable thirst for new ideas and tireless advocacy of working smart assure the clients that their online solutions will outperform their competition’s online efforts, today and in the future.
Kompete offers cost effective smart web site packages for any size budget, and their crew is passionate about creating winning online solutions for any type of business model. Their creative, technologically advanced, and flexible interactive solutions will stand the test of time, propel lead generation, online orders and impress visitors. At Kompete you always win, because they understand that their success is only through their clients’ success.
We have always thought that most companies are missing the boat in terms of how much their brands are really worth, because they don’t understand how much a small investment in their brand quickly multiplies the perceived value when going public or when attracting growth capital. In most cases a small investment in their brands immediately translates into a competitive edge for products sold off/on the shelf or on the web.
Since all businesses have a number of case studies that are relevant to their target audience, we suggest that you establish a CSS style web site, with a blog and content management backend where posting a new page or new blog is as easy as writing a word document or an e-mail. If you take a closer look at your competition, you will also realize that they aren’t effectively using the social media and other means of SEO friendly web sites, which in turn will send you scores of inquiries from new prospects.
Building a well designed and professional site, writing content and educating you on how to maintain or update the site is fairly inexpensive, and can be done for about $7,500 – $10,000.
Even though our own site www.kompanigroup.com and www.ActiveServe.com are more complex than what you may need, they represent the web 2.0 CSS type of web site we are talking about. Both of these sites are receiving new hits and leads every week, mainly because they both are optimized for SEO and because we are active in posting blogs.
Kompani Group is proud to announce that Chef Michelle Bernstein is a new client. Michelle Bernstein, her husband David Martinez and other business partners own and run three restaurants in South Florida. Michy’s is located on Biscayne Boulevard, Sra Martinez and the third one is set to open next month in West Palm Beach. Kompani Group will be collaborating with Matt Cohen from CAT5 on the design of Chef Michelle Bernstein and her restaurants’ website. The new site will launch before September 15th. 2009. Apart form site architecture, coding and programming, Kompani Group will also deliver a robust and cost efficient online social marketing platform along other innovative marketing initiatives for the restaurants.
Kompani Group has added SeaCapital group to its roster of clients. SeaCapital is the first private equity firm dedicated solely to investments across the sustainable seafood value chain. Their mission is to advance sustainable and safe seafood resources by investing in companies and technologies that promote innovation and responsible development.
SeaCapital’s focus is to invest in growth-oriented companies across the seafood value chain in partnership with exceptional management teams. SeaCapital focuses on organizations with considerable growth prospects, and works closely with management to create and execute an expansion plans that encompass organic growth and strategic acquisitions.
Their principals collectively have more than 100 years of seafood and finance industry experience including a distinguished track record of working with management teams to build companies into larger and more deeply integrated organizations. The investments will be made solely in the sustainable seafood value chain where their significant experience in operations, strategy, and corporate finance will add significant shareholder value. Since 2003, the Seacapital team has completed eleven strategic acquisitions and divestitures with an aggregate value of more than $120 million.
For the 2009 American Le Mans Series, Louis Moinet became the official timepiece for the racing team Primetime Race Group’s #11 Dodge Viper. The racing team entered its second full season in the American Le Mans Series with owner and driver Joel Feinberg and his teammate Chris Hall at the wheel. The car it the only Dodge Viper Competition Coupe in the Grand Touring (GT2) class of the competition. Visit www.primetimeracegroup.comfor additional schedule on upcoming races. Louis Moinet timepieces have been worn by distinctive figures the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon and King George IV. The company limts its production to only a thousand watches every year, ensuring its exclusivity.