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Not an example of scrolling websites: the movie poster for Rawhide, with Clint Easwood in the foreground.Q: We are redesigning our website and are torn on what to do with our home page. We’ve always believed that key information should be “above the fold” on the first screen, but now we’re seeing scrolling websites with scrolling home pages that include lots more information. Should we be going this way?

A: If web design were a TV show, the theme song might now be “Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling… Keep that content rolling… keep those fingers strolling… Rawhide!”

The long-scrolling page format is definitely a trend, due to increased use of mobile devices and the popularity of scrolling social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Long-scrolling pages allow you to pack in more information before the reader has to click on anything.

This format is great for a site like Facebook, where new information is constantly being added and no piece of information is treated as more important than another. And it can be effective for some business and nonprofit websites. A site devoted to a single product or product line, for example. Or a site promoting a campaign for social change. Or a site for a company whose story is central to its offering. These kinds of sites are relying on the strength of their narrative to build interest and keep people scrolling for deeper knowledge.

But the long-scrolling format is not right for every type of website. Stick to the “above the fold” approach if your visitors need to quickly see that you offer multiple products or services, that you serve multiple audiences and each visitor needs to self-select the right entry portal, or that there is a clear hierarchy in the importance of the information you’re presenting. (Did you know, by the way, that “above the fold” was originally a newspaper term for displaying the most important information on the top half of the front page?)

Need help with design for your business website, publication or marketing collateral? Email Kim Landry or call 484.829.0021.