Above The Fold is Dead

Having worked as an SEO for various companies over the last decade, there have been constant battles between IT departments, Creative teams, Marketing teams, and Management.  Everything is in constant flux and rarely does anyone agree on the changes that need to be made to a website.  This will probably never change, unless the top-down management structure dies in the United States (Not happening anytime soon).

Historically, web content has been broken up like the archaic newspaper.  The hierarchy began with the most important content above the fold on the front page.  Menus and links guided users to 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th level pages that disseminate information in a similar structure to the home pages.  As technology changed, we began adding some key elements including blog snippets or links to social media and some geniuses decided flash would be a great technology… for about 15 minutes.

Change Is Gonna Come 

For the last few years something interesting has started happening.  A few very talented designers and UX / UI developers have started decreasing the hierarchical structure historically seen in websites and have created content rich pages with more content and fewer links.

I’m not a true expert, but I believe three things happening in tandem played a role in the new concept that broke the idea that “above the fold” was necessary for marketing success.

Search Engine Optimization & Above the Fold

SEO is an obvious reason for increasing single page content (without stuffing).  Keeping link juice on a single page, while creating high value content is one of many steps to help SEO success.  By keeping the majority of content on a single page, you can optimize the page for better information with more “crawlable” content.  This content if done with moderate design and UI input can create a compelling page with high link bait.  

This link bait can be used in multiple facets.  infographics, and other visually appealing high-value data is easily shared across social networks including facebook, twitter, and pinterest.  These infographics are a great way to add value while educating visitors on a product or compelling piece of data.

Next Page Abandonment Syndrome

 Call it advertising overload, information overload, ADD, disdain for clicking “next”, call it anything you want.. but it still exists.  A study has shown that you lose an average of 33% of visits with each additional click they make.  Users have lost tolerance and have started abandoning websites that have required clicks for additional content.  In an age when the majority of web titles start with “Top 10 reasons why…,” Visitors expect at least the majority of the content to be available and accessible on the first page or bounces start to spike.  Businesses have started using this method in their sites as well.  Jacob Cass, a pretty well known designer, has a pinterest that highlights some of these UI’s.

Smart Phone Ubiquity

The third and most important reason for the death of above the fold importance is the mobile device.  Smart phones and tablet saturation has made single page content more accessible and in some cases more usable than previous methods of design.  It is easy to scroll up or down to consume a webpage than it is to zoom in on the next button on a site.

As mobile devices reach critical mass for internet browsing, accessibility and design are becoming the most important aspect of content delivery online.  Having your high value content readily available in a format that is easy to read, understand, and react to is vital for  the next generation UI / UX designers.

Above The Fold Focus Is Still Necessary

Even though the legacy attention to above the fold details is fading, there are still key elements that should remain in tact to increase usability, conversions, and customer service. Key contact information including a phone number is generally accepted to be placed in the top-right corner of a website.  This best practice is still common, specifically for a local business, or a localized landing page where conversions are heavy on the site.  For a corporate, or portfolio site, this information is less necessary.  Other important details should include a logo to let the visitor know they’ve reached the correct website, and a high-value statement to keep them on site and wanting to learn more.  Strong Call to Actions with well placed visual content including videos, or non stock photography images are a great way to entice visitor interaction.

Some Below The Fold Inspiration


Let me know what ya’ll think, is Above the Fold really less important than it used to be?


How Often Should A Website Design Change?

Okay, hands up, the web design Windsor team at Cayenne Red might well advise their clients to change their websites on a regular basis, but there is wisdom in our words.

No-one would think of wearing the same clothes, day in, day out, for the whole year (well, maybe some of our designers, but not normal people), so in the same way we change for the seasons, a website needs to have a change of clothes at least twice a year.

We are not advocating a complete change. A good website design should have a shelf life of at least two years, if not five. But twice yearly, there should be some changes introduced.

And the reason for this regular facelift is not to keep web designers in business, but to stop a site looking stale, or boring, or possibly worse, behind the times.

And if you want proof as to whether this is a valid argument, then use one of the tools which allows you to look at sites as they were some years ago, and even five years ago. The results will shock you, because most sites change on a regular basis, not only keeping up with the fashions and trends of the day, but also keeping pace with the latest technology advancements.

Websites are still predominantly text based, but you will notice that around the most active websites, the text is surrounded by all manner of plug-ins and software tools. Text may be the search engines friend, but multi-media is playing an increasing important role.

Sites have to be very strong visually and use all manner of techniques to reinforce the central sales messages and calls to actions. And the worse thing a site can be accused of is, is looking staid and boring.

Surfers are fickle and the more they see of sites, the more demanding they are. This is why, despite users moaning when a site changes (look at how Facebook changes are met); the designers know that they have to remain fresh and innovative.

A website cannot be seen to stand still, because the fear is, a bored user will move allegiances and be gone to a competitor in a flash of an eye-lid. And once one goes, more will follow, given that many surfers are like sheep and will follow their friends, colleagues and peers.

So, we reckon that sprucing up a website to keep it fresh and alive is the best way a website owner, or a webmaster, has of boosting their platform.

And, the changes do not have to be radical, but an enhancement of what already exists. Think of how many products are refined over much iteration so that the basic design concept is not lost, but the qualities that made it a success remain.

The key is to plan at least two minor facelifts a year; it’s a great use of the marketing budget.

Biljana Dimovska, Cayenne Red.

Biljana Dimovska is a member of the digital marketing team at PPC Agency Cayenne Red. She is a regular contributor to the media on how companies market themselves in the digital age.

Web Design Tips For A Slow Loading Page

Did you know that there is a possibility that your website will less likely to rank in a search engine if it has a slow loading time compared to other fast loading site?  Some experienced marketers have conducted an experiment on page loading times with their own sites and have come to the conclusion that fast loading time is always better for ranking. Web page loading time is just one of the contributing factors on how a site should rank in Google and other popular search engines. Different search engines always find great ways on how the user can enhance his or her experience and Google seems to lead the way.

It is quite disappointing when you click on a certain site and the site seems to take all the time in the world to load completely. If your site is like this, has a slow loading time, then do not expect that more visitors or guests will visit your site. There is a huge chance that your visitor will look for another site to click simply out of frustration. If you are selling products or services, then you definitely know that this is bad business and customer experience.

There are several ways on how you can enhance a slow loading page:

Images and their sizes:  Generally, images have large file size and most people will tell you not to use large file size images on your page because it can contribute to a slow loading page. This is alright but it can weaken the appeal of a web page and some web designer likes to be creative using their artwork. For you to get around with this problem, then there is a simple solution to that. If you have twelve individual images to be placed in your page, then try to group them together as one. This technique will not mainly reduce the file size of your images but the http requests. This is a simple trick but can be an effective way to speed up your downloading time.

Clean up your code:  Making sure that your website’s code is up to snuff with no errors will go a long way to make it load faster.  This includes getting rid of any plugin’s or javascript that might be set up on your page but you just are not using.

Use CSS:  Getting a good handle on CSS coding and knowing all the aspects of it can bring a lot of speed gains as well.  It can greatly reduce the code you need so it is less for your browser to handle.

Flash:  These days, with new HTML standards, there really isn’t much need for Flash (sorry, Flash!).  Flash files can get huge and bog down a bit fast.

Hosting:  Get a good hosting account.  This means stay away from the freebies.  With the number of people on these sites, it’s bound to get slow.

These are just a few of the areas to look at to help speed up your site.  If you are stuck, seek the help of  professional web designers on how they can enhance your website.

James Victore Inspiration Tips

An old coworker of mine shared an amazing video of Artist and Designer James Victore. I highly recommend you take 10 minutes and watch him speak for some great inspiration.

Strive For Something

James Victore had a mission to be the best artist he could be within 15 years.  He didnt care about money – he wanted to be a great artist. He reminds the audience that it is okay to strive for wealth, but have real tangible goals.  Strive for something.



Don’t Waste Your Time, Perfection is Unattainable!

He goes on to talk about typography and color and how many designers spend countless hours worrying about layouts of simple insignificant things.  Typography and Color Don’t F*cking matter.  Dumb Decisions waste your time!  He makes an analogy to an outsourced project that contains wrinkles in the art.  The foreign editor, wanting to do a good job, removed those wrinkles from the book cover.  By trying to create perfection he ruined it.  Victore says F*ck Perfection.  Perfection will “stop you from starting a project”  It will also stop you from finishing projects and you’ll “spend all your time looking at spacing between letters.”  Remove the strive for perfection from  your life.

Let The Right Person Do The Job!

This blog has turned into a recap, but i’ll continue.  James then talks about how Alfred Hitchcock was a successful director.  His answer was to remove the directorial process through casting… essentially ask the right person to do the job and let them do it.  In all aspects of work, people are hired to do a job.  Let them do what they are hired to do.  They are the expert in that field.  Trust them.

The video continues as he discusses a runner he liked named Steve Prefontaine who lived by the quote ” to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”  Remember that.  If you are going to take on a project.  Do your best work. 100% of the time.

Don’t Get Comfortable!

A few more highlights include his assertion that being scared is a good thing.  It is good for you.  The comfort zone is bad.  Be out of the comfort zone all the time.  You will do better work and continue to grow in your field and as a person.


His final point in the video is simple.  Just ASK!

The museum of modern art asked him to do a collection.  He agreed and asked if there was going to be a Gala?  They said no.  He asked if there would be a trophy?  They said no.  He asked if they would have a plaque? They said no.  He asked about an official letter.  The said no.  He asked, Can I have a letter anyway? Better yet, can I have a letter for my mom?  They said yes.





JUST ASK!  It is one of the hardest things in life to do.  But it will make you more successful.


James Victore Live at AIGA SF from Hillman Curtis on Vimeo.

Internet Marketing and Dieter Rams 10 principles of good design

Internet Marketing and Dieter Rams 10 principles of good design

Dieter Rams is a world renowned designer.  His influence is unprecedented and has provided inspiration for the next generation of designers including Apple thought leader Jonathan Ive.  Ive has stated that Apple is one of the few companies that follows Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design.  These principles have influenced almost every major apple consumer product including the iPod, iPad, and macbook lines.  The 10 Principles of Good Design are product leaning, but can also be used for web design and marketing.

10 Principles of Good Design (to help your website and marketing campaigns)

  1. Is innovative – web design innovation is vital for success.  Make sure that you or your marketing team is incorporating the latest standards in web technology.  By focusing on new updates including HTML5 and CSS3, your website will follow best practices and have competitive advantages over competition incorporating archaic technology.  Also remember that google webmaster tools and algorithm updates continue to focus more and more on new technology, faster loading, social integration, etc.  By staying on the forefront of web technology, you insure affinity from google and the other search engines.
  2. Makes a product useful–  This principle seems simple but can quickly become overlooked or lost in the process.  During every step of the creative process in designing your campaign, remember to take time and focus on whether or not the changes and updates you’re making are continuing to make the website useful.  Why are people here? Is it for product? Customer Service? Make sure that what you’re trying to focus on is in fact the focal point of the website.
  3. Is aesthetic– Aesthetics plays a central role to any design project. Making sure your layout and theme are simple and refined is at the basis for any redesign project.  In terms of your website design, marketing campaign, or landing page, it is important to rely on aesthetic principles to help convert visitors in conversions.
  4. Makes a product understandable– Obviously in order for your product to be successful it must be understood.  Implied understanding can be an vital part of your website success.  By showing visitors how the product works and why they may need it, you can increase conversion rates on your web traffic.
  5. Is unobtrusive- Unobtrusive web design can be a daunted task.  Bells and whistles can be a distractor and hurt best practices and the principles of good design.  I am going to go on a limb and say no flash on your website. If you absolutely require flash do it on a limited subtle basis.  Usability and Functionality are far more important than kittens and moving objects.
  6. Is honest- Honesty is the best policy.  Under promise and over deliver.  from ecommerce to client based websites, make sure you’re being completely honest in your design and marketing.  If the public views your products as dishonest, you will not only lose a customer, but you’ll also lose referrals and can even damage your online reputation.
  7. Is long-lasting- Long lasting and reliability go hand in hand.  When designing your campaign, don’t jump on a band wagon.  In Telecom the big buzz word is Cloud.  Many companies, organizations, and products are incorporating cloud based keywords into products with 10-15 year lifecycles.  If the trend changes substantially, the product or brand can become dated very quickly.  Think of brands like Ralph Lauren, and BMW when you focus on long-lasting best practices and you will avoid becoming a fad.
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail- Review, Review, Review.  Without constant review, you will miss vital details that others may fine.  Every time you refine, you must start the review process over.  You want to offer a complete, reliable, and responsive experience.  Without thorough design and thorough review you may miss key requirements for your business.
  9. Is environmentally friendly-  It is easier to create environmentally friendly products than design, but as best practices you can make sure to reduce your footprint as much as possible by using recycled products, going paperless, or even using “green” hosting services.  By reducing our carbon footprint we can all help the environment and future generations.
  10. Is as little design as possible- minimalist, simple, and elegant.  When incorporating Rams’ principles on a product, the designs should be simple.  When using the principles for websites and marketing, the result should be minimalist design that showcases the products.  Your marketing or website be the frame to the product you’re trying to deliver.  Don’t distract potential customers with over emphasis on marketing or design elements.  let the product speak for itself.
By utilizing these principles throughout the entire process you will have a solid product with solid marketing.  Obviously there is room for interpretation in Deiter Rams’ principles, but remember that having a blueprint from the outset will give you a greater chance for marketing success.