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Make your website headers small
2010-03-01: It's a simple thing. The newspaper people used to talk about having the headline 'above the fold' so when it was folded for display on the newspaper stand people could see the main story at a glance .. it improved sales because it gave people the chance to get a sense of the top story while still walking.
The equivalent online is .. your best stuff needs to be there on the page people see when they land on your website, not after a bit of scrolling. Scrolling's a faff. The fold, online, is the bottom of the page.
Of course, everyone's experience of the bottom of the page is different. People's screen sizes differ. Fonts are displayed differently on different machines. Some will come to you using a mobile phone or PDA.
I've been brought in to improve a website which has a 63% bounce rate (that's, 63% of people arrive and leave immediately, only 37% stay .. 1 in 3), and on my screen the website header, while nice, takes up more than half of the screen. The content (what people are there for) is pushed down so far that we can't actually see what the site sells until we scroll.
My sense is that the person who graphic-designed it was really pleased with their design to the point where it encroached on the usability and functionality of the website.
So, make small website headers. People use websites like they use cash machines. They want what they want. Get out of their way and give them it. They need enough header so they know what site they are on and they can navigate. That's it.

By John Allsopp
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