• http://www.transmutataionsciences.com Transmutator

    Shari, Loved this article … but one thing always bugs me … “below the fold” How can we determine what’s “below the fold”? I have a 27″ Hi-def monitor so my “below the fold” is a lot different than a lot of other people’s. And, let’s face it, we are a long way away from the 800×600 “standard.” So, what do we do?

  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi there-

    I understand your frustration.

    I know that “below the fold” is relative since display items are very different (mobile, notebook, desktop, etc.) I use web analytics data as one resource. I look at the most common browsers in which my audience is viewing a website, the most common operating systems, and resolution. I also look at data from outside resources as well such as companies that publish the most common screes resolutions.

    I am careful, though, not to design, write, optimize, etc. for the statistically average user.


  • http://www.phoenixonesales.com/aboutthefounder.html Bill Simmel

    Hi Shari, Good solid info and a wonerful easy read.
    I do have a question: Where do you sacrifice based on display, namely what takes priority “on the fold” – content or use-ability?

    Are you more concerned with adding useful content even if it takes readers well below the fold or creating separate pages even though by doing so you break continuity with a needed click?

    Are readers more willing to scroll down then click through? – Bill

  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi Bill-

    Too many myths exist about “3 clicks to content” and whether users/searchers will scroll or not. People scroll if the scent of information is strong. People click if the scent of information is strong. The “break continuity with a needed click” is a misconception in many cases.


    My emphasis is information scent and validation of that scent. This whole “don’t make people scroll” myth has gotten out of hand, IMHO.

    There is a time and a place for splitting up content into multiple pages. There is a time and a place for keeping content on a single page. Splitting up content purely for ad generation or keyword rankings tends to annoy users…more than people believe.

    Usability and findability is about balancing user goals and expectations with business goals. What I see on over-optimized sites is emphasis on business goals over user goals.

    I admit I had a difficult time answering this question because it seems that people are forced to choose display over quality, or vice versa. I don’t believe in that conflict. Site owners can display great content in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Problem is? What people perceive as “aesthetically pleasing” is subjective.

    There are some guidelines I follow that are very scientific (psychology of color, leading, kerning, line width, column widths, consistency, lighting, etc.) I never come up with a design based on my personal opinion.

    The problem is that if something is visually appealing, people perceive that thing (“website”) as easier to use initially. That perception is a difficult hurdle to overcome.

    It only takes one click (or one lack-of-click) for users/searchers to determine whether or not a site is not user friendly.

  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi all-

    High usability does not overcome low visual appeal. Please see:


    Hope that answers your question, Bill.


  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    More on visual appeal vs. usability at:




    Good research. Visual design is both an art and a science.


  • http://www.webhostinghub.com/ web site host company

    I like how did you approach this topic. Detailed, simple, clear and comprehensive. Many thanks. Very useful for me.

  • Saira Younus

    hey excellent article. It is very informative and helpful. The first step towards effective search engine optimization is designing your pages to be search-engine friendly. Thanks for post.