Above the Fold and User Experience with Tampa


In accordance with Google’s mantra of “follow the user and all else will follow” Tampa SEO has decided to provide its blog readers with some food for thought on both website design and user experience. As these are both critical elements to your website and ability to convert users, this is something every web owner should attempt to improve or at least have some background knowledge of.

Above the fold pertains to the area of the webpage that is available without scrolling down. It is derived from the concept of newspapers where the important news stories appear on the upper half of the newspaper.

Above the Fold

Last month, Google indicated that it is testing algorithm changes that will look more into what appears above the fold of a webpage. Above the fold website design and user experience go hand-in-hand as they work to provide an easy to navigate website that meets the expectations of the user. What do we mean when we say “meets the expectations?” When users visit a website they use a mental model to determine what their past experiences have taught them about something they have done before and therefore come to expect. The goal of above the fold website design is to provide the user with an interface that matches how the user expects it to be based on previous experiences. It’s like the user gets it before they have even seen the application.

User Experience

To provide the best user experience Tampa SEO tries to design websites that fit the mental model associated with intuition. Users come to expect web design to have a certain flow and usability. When the user experience doesn’t match the mental model of the user, they can become confused and have a negative experience. The results can affect the impact of your website, resulting in users who are more cautious in making a purchase from you, looking for other places to get the information or shop, or telling their friends that they should avoid you as well. The short of it is that bad user experiences result in bad online business.

Blending User Experience and Above the Fold Design

Tampa SEO recommends designing a user interface that most closely matches the mental model that your users come to expect. This involves some research but you can start by looking at competitors’ websites that are successful and making attempts to figure out why. Designers should have some insight into this realm but you too must also consider the user. Think about the following when designing the landing page for your website and what will appear above the fold:

  • User needs
  • User habits
  • User expectations
  • User experiences
  • User preferences

Try to map out your website to user intuition. Simply put, it should make sense.

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Posted in: Blog, SEO Advice by on December 7th, 2011 Comments (0)

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