Stay Above the Fold: Use Free Tools to Improve Your Website’s Usability

A phrase that is thrown around a lot in digital marketing is “above the fold”. Traditionally, this is a term referring to the importance of placing items on the upper half of the front page of a newspaper. Translated into Internet terms, the fold is used to refer to the information that shows within the browser window on an initial page load (before anything is clicked, hovered, or scrolled). Most marketers place value on this important region, but what you see above the fold on your browser may not be visible on your visitor’s browser.

The number of devices used to surf the Internet seems to increase daily as people are using everything from traditional computers, to iPads, smartphones and countless other devices. Staying above the fold becomes tricky when the size of the browser varies. Luckily there is a simple, and more importantly, free method to test and analyze this possible problem. By using Google Analytics and ResizeMyBrowser,  you can view the visible area and usability of your page across multiple browser sizes in mere minutes.

To access the breakdown of current visitor’s screen resolution use Google Analytics. After signing in, select ‘Technology’ from the ‘Audience’ menu on the left hand side.

Google Analytics Side Bar

Next select ‘Browser & OS’, and then under the ‘Primary Dimension’ menu select ‘Screen Resolution’.

Google Analytics Screen Resolution

You will be presented with a table dissecting your website’s most popular screen resolution sizes and metrics including ‘visits’, ‘pages per visit’ and ‘bounce rate’ related to each screen size (we recommend increasing your time frame beyond 1 month). From this you can take note of what size screen visitors are viewing from, if they are freely navigating the website, and potential reasons for leaving the site.

Now you are aware of the screen resolution visitors are must frequently using. The next step is to see what your site’s visitors are seeing on their screen using ResizeMyBrowser. This simple website will let you view webpages in set browser sizes, which allows you to in turn see what your visitors are seeing.  ResizeMyBrowser is preset with the most popular screen resolutions including iPad, iPhone, netbook, and large screens; but you can also input additional dimensions allowing you complete control.

It is clear that real estate above the fold is more valuable, visitors spend the majority of time viewing the top portion of a webpage, and few visitors spend very little time scrolling through long webpages. Controlling and monitoring what visitors see on your website is a crucial aspect of usability and conversion optimization, making a good first impression is vital to building visitor confidence and trust, which in turn will prove to the visitor that it is worthwhile scrolling around and that your website may provide just what is needed.

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