Should I Design My Law Firm Website for a Set Height…Ummmm No.

A white, rounded square logo with an abstract S-shaped design on a gradient blue and purple background.

Here are four reasons to not limit your website to a set height.

Above the fold.

Your most important information should definitely be above the fold.  If you need a tool to check what your users can see, use this handy chart:

http://browsersize.googlelabs.com/

I am a big believer in a billboard area above the fold (along with menu, logo and contact info). Why this area you ask?  According to a study by Jakob Neilsen,  users spend about 80% of their time on a website above the fold.

With that said, I also love additional text on the page.  You should include secondary information below the fold to entice the user and offer better performance in search.  Moreover, for long articles, it is better to scroll than to split up pages into multiple versions (or worst yet, horizontal scroll).  Bottom line, people want to scroll, and it is easier to read.

Everyone knows how to scroll.

Horizontal scrolling is never easy, but vertical scrolling on a desktop, iPhone, iPad or Android device is super easy.  People expect to scroll and want to see more information.  Limiting to above the fold would mean serious editing of all articles (and we don’t want to opt for a horizontal scroll as that is inefficient).

Today’s tech is varied in size.

There are iPhones, iPads, Android devices, laptops, and desktop screens ranging from 13 inches to 30 inches (and varying pixel sizes). You will never be able to determine a suitable height to fit all onto one screen.  The baseline could be anywhere from 400px to over 1,000px in height.  Moreover, the baseline could change in the next few years as mobile devices rise in their popularity.  It is better to focus on responsive design that scrolls vertically.

Cutting Edge Sites

Some of the most cutting edge websites are big and scroll nicely.  Check out these sites:

  • Aliant Payments  (our own design)
  • Mac (great design to feature their products)
  • Google News  (showcases all the different news)

These sites not only look appealing, but reign high in functionality features.

Our Recommendation

Our recommendation is threefold:

  1. Design for above the fold.  Place your most important information there.
  2. Allow users the option to scroll for more information.  This helps with reading, scanning and search placement.
  3. Design for Responsive, so that websites change sizes and functionality depending on the device (mobile, tablet or desktop).
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