Who wouldn't want all of the information related to their site or products on the first page directly in front of the user’s eyes? I want my user to know that my website sells action men, that we have a wide range of action men, each action man is in its original wrapper, they're all cheaper than any other competitor and you can write to me, phone me, email me and look at pictures of me and you NEED to do all this from the homepage. Perfect. I generally call this cognitive overload, but this is not necessarily the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article is to tackle the importance of scrolling and answer the following questions:
"Do users scroll?" Yes. Next question. Jakob Nielsen’s study on how much users scroll (in Prioritising Web Usability) revealed that only 23% of visitors scroll on their first visit to a website. What’s more, the percentage of users who scroll decreases with subsequent visits, with only 16% scrolling on their second visit.
"What proportion of my landing page should be above the page fold?" Well the page fold is dependent on the size of the users screen. If I'm working on a 24" Apple monitor or viewing content on a 50" TV screen, odds are I wouldn't really need to scroll to see the content that I want. Would this be a benefit? I'm not entirely sure. But for those that wander into the Apple store for the feeling of playing with the iPads with no intention of purchasing anything (guilty as charged), the average screen size is 1024x768 or higher. This is the average screen size we account for at Wilson Cooke and unless you're designing for a responsive browser design (take a look at http://www.warface.co.uk/), then most websites will be centred, accounting for this browser and screen size.
"I don't want the user to scroll to find the content they need" This is completely dependent on the type of content you are wishing to communicate. Products, for example, are generally better off on one page, such as http://www.asos.com. I prefer clicking "view all" rather than some form of pagination and then scrolling through my options. However, if we're talking about key messages, you'd be right to have that concern. Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold (Nielsen, Scrolling and Attention, 2012).
"My user doesn't have a scroll wheel" Don't be silly, we live in the 21st century. Soon you'll be able to scroll through sites through the gesture of your hand. Minority report got it right.
"So should I have a scrollable page?" Again this is dependent on the amount and relevancy of content that you have. This doesn’t mean you should cram everything in the upper area of the page, just that you should make the best use of that area. Crowding it with content will just make the content inaccessible; when the user sees too much information, they don’t know where to begin looking (cognitive overload). The most important features generally consist of:
Name of the website
Value proposition of the website (i.e. what benefit users will get from using it)
Navigation for the main sections of the website that are relevant to the user (Fadeyev, 2009)