The part of a webpage that is visible in the web browser window when the page first loads is described as being ‘above-the-fold’.
A more appropriate, medium-specific equivalent to ‘above-the-fold’, is ‘before-the-scroll’: the portion of a webpage that is visible without scrolling.
‘Fold’ is a reference to the area of a newspaper that is visible when folded for display in a news stand. As the fold may be the only portion of the newspaper visible, it typically contains the masthead identifying the newspaper and a key image or heading from the lead story.
The first-fold of a webpage is typically used to display:
branding: identifying who owns the website;
positioning statement: identifying the website content/subject matter;
navigation: typically menus and a search tool that people can use to get around the website; and
The concept of a fold was seen as key in the early days of the web, based on the belief that only content placed in this area of the page – usually the first 300 vertical pixels – could be guaranteed “eyeballs”. Over time, people have become more accustomed to scrolling, however the first fold continues to be highly sought-after by advertisers.