Unfolding the Fold

Arik & Tal
December 23, 2006

Note: Since posting the data in this article, we have collected and analyzed much more detailed information regarding scrolling behavior of visitors. The research below reveals information about the location of the fold as well as some basic information about visitors’ scrolling behavior.

For more advanced research about statistical models for page scrolling behavior and visitor attention at each point in the page, please see the more recent research we have published in 2007 (ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0 - part 1 and part 2). 

Web designers and usability professionals have debated the topic of web page scrolling since 1994. At the early days of the web, most users were unfamiliar with the concept of scrolling and it was not a natural thing for them to do. As a result, web designers would design web pages so that all the important content would be “Above the fold” or even worse, squeeze the entire page into the initial screen area. This practice of “squeezing” continues even today.

Nowadays, scrolling has become a natural practice in surfing the web. Scrolling is also associated with web 2.0 design because big, clear text and “spacious”, “clean” content implies longer web pages.

In this post, we will demonstrate with charts and real data several behavioral patterns related to scrolling. Let’s start!

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On Browsers, Countries and Browsing Speed

Arik
December 3, 2006

Today I have decided to study the relationship between browsers, countries and browsing speed. For starters, let me explain how ClickTale measures browsing speed.

What we do is measure the time (in milliseconds) it takes to load the HTML (the DOM) for each page-view as well as the time it takes to load the entire page. The reason there are two separate parameters is that browsers usually continue loading images and other external resource some time after the entire HTML is loaded. We provide this load time data to our subscribers as part of the ClickTale service.

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