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  1. #26
    Matt Williams revsorg's Avatar
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    What do you think about this for a theory...

    (Scroll wheel use is a big part of this theory by the way)

    If you think about the way someone views a web page they're unlikely to give up after scrolling through 70% of it, they are more likely to speed up, scanning faster and faster and skipping bigger and bigger blocks of content until they arrive SLAM at the bottom of the page. They keep scrolling with their scroll wheel, but to no avail, they have reached the bottom. They have to focus on the screen to work out why it has stopped scrolling, and during this extra nanosecond you have their attention because they've got to decide what to do.

    So this is where you stick a block of Google Adwords.
    work: revs | ecru
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  2. #27
    Compulsive Clubber icky_bu's Avatar
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    haha, the wheel theory is too funny.

    I always thought people, namely bloggers, were calling the bottom fold the new "footer". As they stick everything in there except the latest post or news.

  3. #28
    SitePoint Wizard Young Twig's Avatar
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    I just considered them large headers/footers. I like them from a design point of view, trendy as they are. I don't care from a usability point of view. They're generally blogs or portfolios anyway.

  4. #29
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    I quite like them. In some cases they do seem like a design afterthought but there good for "heres everything else that might be interesting..."

  5. #30
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    I prefer to call these fat footers and whether or not it's good or not depends on what the site is trying to achieve.

  6. #31
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    I think both parties have a valid argument. Powazek is completely right about the engaged users argument -- whether they stumble upon your site through your frontpage, archives, search engines or externals, you're presenting something they're, very likely, genuinely interested in reading. Removing communication that is unrelated to the primary message of the page would only make sense.

    So, it just keeps focus on what's assumed to be important for the visitor and then gives the visitor more information when they're wondering where to go next. Thing is, most of this side information can aid a visitor in orienting him or herself as well. So it is really important whether the information you're placing down there is crucial for a visitor's interaction with your site.

    Kind of leaves me wondering why Powazak offers no primary navigation way at the top...

    But in the end it's nothing new really. The only difference now is that some designers put more emphasis on the seperation by using a very high contrast or a horizontal line between the sections.
    Jeroen Mulder

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  7. #32
    Guru Meditation Error gnarly's Avatar
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    I read something interesting today over at webcredible - http://webcredible.co.uk/user-friend...er-users.shtml.

    They did a study on elderly web users (so called silver-surfers) and found (amongst other things) that they were much less likely to scroll down the page than a younger user - because it's a concept they've never seen before. So the fat-footer is something that might not work so well with an older target audience.
    Olly Hodgson
    thinkdrastic.net

  8. #33
    SitePoint Enthusiast bochgoch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revsorg
    What do you think about this for a theory...

    (Scroll wheel use is a big part of this theory by the way)

    If you think about the way someone views a web page they're unlikely to give up after scrolling through 70% of it, they are more likely to speed up, scanning faster and faster and skipping bigger and bigger blocks of content until they arrive SLAM at the bottom of the page. They keep scrolling with their scroll wheel, but to no avail, they have reached the bottom. They have to focus on the screen to work out why it has stopped scrolling, and during this extra nanosecond you have their attention because they've got to decide what to do.

    So this is where you stick a block of Google Adwords.
    Nice theory -- never thought about use of the scroll-wheel specifically, but on reflection what you say is true (at least for me)...think I'll whack some ads down there and see what happens...

    On the subject of these, as I see them, big-header pages, they are another branch in the evolution of the web. I'm sure there are elements of these designs that will endure, but most of it will disappear with a whimper.

  9. #34
    SitePoint Enthusiast CrucialWebHost's Avatar
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    Well I know for a fact that people usually don't read below the fold. On Crucial's website, people never read below the fold. And I'll show you what I mean:

    Check out the link in my signature. Everything below the $4.99 hosting, $5.99 domains, and the random girl that shows up, no one reads. They simple don't read it, or if they do, well, who knows. But we get support questions all the time about things that I KNOW are answered below the fold, but that visitors simply don't visit or see.

    So you're best to keep your important information above-the-fold (whatever that may be, probably ~450 pixels or so).
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  10. #35
    SitePoint Zealot cpiwc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrucialWebHost
    Well I know for a fact that people usually don't read below the fold. On Crucial's website, people never read below the fold. And I'll show you what I mean:

    Check out the link in my signature. Everything below the $4.99 hosting, $5.99 domains, and the random girl that shows up, no one reads. They simple don't read it, or if they do, well, who knows. But we get support questions all the time about things that I KNOW are answered below the fold, but that visitors simply don't visit or see.

    So you're best to keep your important information above-the-fold (whatever that may be, probably ~450 pixels or so).
    But herein lies the question, did you ask them (nicely of course) if they saw that on the home page? Or maybe some informal user testing... The overlying question would be are they not being drawn to look below the fold or whatever reason are they not seeing it? There's a lot going on so is the visitor not spotting it?
    Cara

  11. #36
    Guru Meditation Error gnarly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrucialWebHost
    Check out the link in my signature. Everything below the $4.99 hosting, $5.99 domains, and the random girl that shows up, no one reads. They simple don't read it, or if they do, well, who knows. But we get support questions all the time about things that I KNOW are answered below the fold, but that visitors simply don't visit or see.
    The thing is, you've got so much going on down there, in such tiny text that it all just appears to be a blur. One part of the page is blatantly just a load of SEO keywords that add no real value. If someone scrolls down and sees that they might well jump to the conclusion that the rest of the page isn't worth reading either...
    Olly Hodgson
    thinkdrastic.net

  12. #37
    SitePoint Zealot mbm's Avatar
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    The design look different and that is not so bad.
    However, the overcrowded footers repeating on each page are bit of boreing.

  13. #38
    SitePoint Enthusiast CrucialWebHost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpiwc
    But herein lies the question, did you ask them (nicely of course) if they saw that on the home page? Or maybe some informal user testing... The overlying question would be are they not being drawn to look below the fold or whatever reason are they not seeing it? There's a lot going on so is the visitor not spotting it?
    That's a good point. I've never actually asked my clients if they saw that or not, I'm going strictly on Google Analytics reports, and items "below the fold" tend to have a very low click-through rate.

    The real question is, is it a problem? I wouldn't say so. There's a reason you put your important information above-the-fold. Maybe some more research is needed though
    Quote Originally Posted by gnarly
    The thing is, you've got so much going on down there, in such tiny text that it all just appears to be a blur. One part of the page is blatantly just a load of SEO keywords that add no real value. If someone scrolls down and sees that they might well jump to the conclusion that the rest of the page isn't worth reading either...
    A valid point, indeed. I should remove those SEO keywords too, because I've received enough feedback about this that backup my thoughts on the SEO block.

    But even that part of the site isn't what I was talking about. For example, the Domain Name Suggestion tool (Crucial Name Finder), that is hardly used at all, and it's a service that we pay monthly for. That "block area" of information is what I was talking about, not the "10 Reasons" and "Data Center" block.

    I don't know, before I was a hosting company, when I went to other hosting companies, my eyes searched for one thing: the price and the plans. I think that's what's happening here though.

    Then again, on other sites I develop, the same results are happening. Your above-the-fold information is the best. That's evident if you look at any of your advertising CTRs. Ads that show up on the top always do better than those on the bottom.
    Quote Originally Posted by mbm
    The design look different and that is not so bad.
    However, the overcrowded footers repeating on each page are bit of boreing.
    Agreed. But hey, it takes time to test a design I like to let things sink in for a good 6 months before I really study the analytics of the site before I come up with changes. Too many changes can hurt you, and you'll never have valid results on what's working and what isn't working.
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  14. #39
    Non-Member deathshadow's Avatar
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    brakai295 is pretty much spot on from a usability standpoint - the change can be too harsh for many users...

    MY biggest problem is that in a lot of these cases (Renegade Zen for example) the 'artsy' header pushes the actual site content off the page at 800x600 - which is just bad form. If you are going to make that kind of break, don't do it in the middle of your content.

    That 'Bartleme Design' website on the other hand makes good use of the idea, as the actual content is nice & bright and up top, with the darker stuff just being additional subnavigation... it's just too dark and doesn't fit with the rest of the page content. Being subnav I'd have made it the same background color as the menu area up top - a simple lightening would tie the whole site together, instead of feeling like something someone slapped on as a afterthought.

  15. #40
    SitePoint Zealot cpiwc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrucialWebHost
    That's a good point. I've never actually asked my clients if they saw that or not, I'm going strictly on Google Analytics reports, and items "below the fold" tend to have a very low click-through rate.

    The real question is, is it a problem? I wouldn't say so. There's a reason you put your important information above-the-fold. Maybe some more research is needed though A valid point, indeed. I should remove those SEO keywords too, because I've received enough feedback about this that backup my thoughts on the SEO block.
    But, in the previous post, you mentioned getting a lot of support questions on things that you believe are on the site. Not everything is going to fit above the fold. Maybe it could also be a terminology issue. Try looking at the questions that you are getting and see where the info is on the site and what terminology they are using to ask the question.

    You may not need to make huge changes so much as change some wording or make a few items stand out a little better? Small changes now may not be too disruptive compared to complete site redesign.

    PS, I'm not sure if the green arrow next to the domain name input box on the home page is complete clear it's clickable (depends on the experience of the user group).

    Plans and pricing are definately important and probably highly visited. but what is the next type of content the users are also interested in?
    Cara

  16. #41
    Web developer Carl's Avatar
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    After taking a look around I decided that I like Powacek's idea and the way he implements it. So since I am in the middle of a redo of my site I thought I would give it try. Even though I am not quite finished, I like it! It makes a big difference in the presentation of the material to the visitor and seems to do a lot for the visual appeal of the website.

    What I don't like is the fact that Powazek and other's forget about bottom navigation or just ignore it. But a combination of the two works for me. I will give this a try for a few months and try and keep some stats on user response.

  17. #42
    SitePoint Enthusiast etsuko's Avatar
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    ..and some of my friends thought I was crazy.

    I actually thought of doing this months ago before they wanted to try it but because friends said it's odd, so I didn't go ahead. The benefit of doing it this way is that it focuses the main message or item you want to project to your visitors as soon as they reach.

    There's definetely good and bad to this so to me it's what it could be used for not entirely does it affect usability and etc. If it were usability, I'd say the colors would be the one affecting things. :P

    cheers.
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  18. #43
    Web developer Carl's Avatar
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    After a week with enhanced footer I am already seeing a good increase in site activity. Search usage has doubled and more than just single pages are being hit.

  19. #44
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMulder
    Powazek is completely right about the engaged users argument
    He makes the point though that the links at the bottom are reward for the reader having read through all the content, so the content has to be compelling enough to make people keep reading.
    I'll admit I have a habit of skipping the last few paras of a lot stuff I read, but I didn't make it to the end of his article and only saw the links because I knew the subject was related to having links at the bottom.
    So while the idea might have merit, I'd reckon your copy's gotta be up to scratch to pull it off properly.

  20. #45
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    slightly off topic, but reading through this again reminded me of mike stenhouse's "zooming content" article http://www.donotremove.co.uk/weblog/zooming-content/
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
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  21. #46
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    I really like these techniques, new to this myself, I have just been directed to this thread. I will definitely look at using this technique with the next design I create!

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by SG1
    Nice article, but I'm still not convinced from a usabilty perspective. It's a known fact that most of us have formed a habit of looking to the sidebar for our navigation. I don't see the point of placing links and navigation at the bottom
    It is also a known fact that sometimes people have to break away from the "norm" and do something different in order to progress the field. This is one of those times.

    If every single site looked the same, with everything laid out in the same spots you would grow tired of the web very quickly.

    Why is it that people hate having to learn new ways of doing things, even when those new ways are a benefit? I have never quite understood that.

  23. #48
    Brevity is greatly overrated brandaggio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrucialWebHost
    That's a good point. I've never actually asked my clients if they saw that or not, I'm going strictly on Google Analytics reports, and items "below the fold" tend to have a very low click-through rate.

    The real question is, is it a problem? I wouldn't say so. There's a reason you put your important information above-the-fold. Maybe some more research is needed though A valid point, indeed. I should remove those SEO keywords too, because I've received enough feedback about this that backup my thoughts on the SEO block.

    But even that part of the site isn't what I was talking about. For example, the Domain Name Suggestion tool (Crucial Name Finder), that is hardly used at all, and it's a service that we pay monthly for. That "block area" of information is what I was talking about, not the "10 Reasons" and "Data Center" block.

    I don't know, before I was a hosting company, when I went to other hosting companies, my eyes searched for one thing: the price and the plans. I think that's what's happening here though.

    Then again, on other sites I develop, the same results are happening. Your above-the-fold information is the best. That's evident if you look at any of your advertising CTRs. Ads that show up on the top always do better than those on the bottom.Agreed. But hey, it takes time to test a design I like to let things sink in for a good 6 months before I really study the analytics of the site before I come up with changes. Too many changes can hurt you, and you'll never have valid results on what's working and what isn't working.
    Not to pick on you here at all but if ever you needed a reason to place a gigantic FAQ teaser and support info above the fold, it would be your observations of how this info can be wholesale ignored if not in the user's face.

    I would imagine that providing support is one of your bigger expenses so anything to lessen its need would be a really good idea.

    I think I a lot of designers feel sites that have larger text (and often seem to be brainwashed that they must use small text or they aren't real desiners) and more direct copy are "childish" - however, they do seem to be better for the "business", even though they may take some getting used to for some.

    I can't say enough about the value of proportional design with all the new devices with different display sizes that are becoming ever more common by the second. It is ironic that you can gain some control over your viewer by letting go of some control of the design (to some extent).

  24. #49
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    We are actually using laptops to determine our fold cut-off...


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