From Newspapers to Websites
The way a website is presented and how they function differ from decade to decade, and with the introduction of new types of media emerging rapidly, maybe it is time to re-evaluate the way websites work. Taking a term from the age old saying “Above the Fold” derives from the concept of the way newspapers are displayed on stands and inside machines. This equally works with websites. In 2006, a study by Jakob Nielsen found that 77% of visitors to a website do not scroll,  which means that this age old tactic really works. Websites change quite often, (need I mention Facebook?) and while changes are mostly good, some changes are just downright horrible; trying to place way too much information throughout every page. Which beings me to the next point.
Websites today are handled so much smarter. If you search for window screen repair on Google, chances are you will be directed to a window screen company and right to the webpage where screen repair is offered. Gone are the days where the homepage on a website is the sole page that heavily focused on above the fold presentation, because the way webpages are searched for, any page in your website is now potentially the first page that someone visits on your website. Keeping the navigation on the top is the way to go, with what priority you want to present in your website from the top down. It is very important however, to keep your website clean and to the point; don’t overwhelm the person viewing your webpages with unnecessary and unrelated content. Keep your website clean, organized, and to the point. Most of us go to websites to gather the information we seek, and we want it as fast as possible; we don’t go window shopping on how pretty websites look. The speed that we get the information we look for depends on how well the website is structured for navigation.
There is a website that I go to quite often, a banking website actually, which recently had a major redesign. While the website looks cleaner and less cluttered, the website is actually much harder to find what I am looking for and inconsistent in the structure. A lot of unnecessary white space, headings are not too different from the content, and by the looks of it, the whole website is only half-redesigned which is another major problem; inconsistency. Once you browse a couple pages, you learn, and you learn fast, how to navigate the website – and when you come back, you don’t forget how to navigate and find what you are looking for. Throughout this baking website, if you wanted to make a transfer, the ‘From:’ option is on the top and the ‘To:’ option is on the bottom. While shopping, I make a transfer on my mobile device and without notice, the from and to options were reversed; the ‘From:’ on the bottom and the ‘To:’ on the top. Because I was so used to the consistency of the website, I’ve made a $400 transfer to the wrong account, leaving me to make another $800 transfer to correct the error. Navigation and consistency are both such important roles of a website.
Looking to the Future
From newspapers to websites, we always gather the information we seek, and we want it fast. Our lives are constantly busy as it is, and among this, we don’t have time to learn how to find information. The media in which we gather information will always change. And with each change, we want to make sure both the information we want to relay on people, and the information we want to find, are both easily found and easily gathered. Learning from the method that works, have your information that you want to make sure the people see, leaving just enough information above the fold that makes us want to buy the newspaper, makes us unfold the front cover, makes us want to scroll down is the key to a successful article or website.
Fadeyev, Dmitry (2009-09-24). “10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines | Smashing UX Design”. Uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.