Functionality appearing below the mythical "fold" - what to do?

18 Nov 2009 - 8:37am
4 years ago
8 replies
1060 reads
Nick Sergeant
2009

Hi all,

I'm working on a filtering system that employs filters on the
left-hand side of the results screen, much like rentals.com and
newegg.com.

Our client is concerned that since the lower filters on the left are
hidden for folks with smaller screens that they won't be found.
Their proposed solution is to collapse the filter options so that
just each individual filter title is shown. I believe that this is
far less usable. Here's the actual page:

http://pmw.dumbwaiterdesign.com/products/flooring

I've compiled a list of articles for them to review, but realize
that much of the articles focus on *content* below the fold, not
functionality.

Any thoughts on alternative approaches to the functionality? If the
functionality is solid, any resources out there on the topic of
functionality below the fold?

Thanks!

-- Nick Sergeant

Comments

19 Nov 2009 - 7:23am
EngageMotion
2008

Nick, I looked at the site and the left column is very spacious -
maybe too much real estate is being used. Have you considered a form
with simple drop-downs to replicate the filtering functionality?

This should take up much less space since all the options would be
neatly tucked away and people are familiar with using drop-downs for
filtering purposes.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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19 Nov 2009 - 8:19am
Scott McDaniel
2007

The problem with this specific functionality being below the fold with
regards to usability
is that the primary purpose of the functionality occurs out of sight
for the user.
If it was a full page redirect, for example, that would be more
obvious to a user, or if the
portion of the page affected by the functionality was somehow kept
within the visual field,
it'd at least address the issue.

Select menu-type elements, smaller elements, an accordion style
configuration, spacing
and location all come to mind - it's not a catastrophic problem,
obviously, but merits some
reworking just as while I assume the lower portions of the filter
links are less important or
used, but just because the air conditioner isn't crucial to the
driving of my car doesn't mean
I want its controls outside the window.

Cheers,
Scott

On Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 12:37 AM, Nick Sergeant <nick at nicksergeant.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> I'm working on a filtering system that employs filters on the
> left-hand side of the results screen, much like rentals.com and
> newegg.com.
>
> Our client is concerned that since the lower filters on the left are
> hidden for folks with smaller screens that they won't be found.
> Their proposed solution is to collapse the filter options so that
> just each individual filter title is shown. I believe that this is
> far less usable. Here's the actual page:
>
> http://pmw.dumbwaiterdesign.com/products/flooring
>
> I've compiled a list of articles for them to review, but realize
> that much of the articles focus on *content* below the fold, not
> functionality.
>
> Any thoughts on alternative approaches to the functionality? If the
> functionality is solid, any resources out there on the topic of
> functionality below the fold?
>
> Thanks!
>
> -- Nick Sergeant
> ________________________________________________________________
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19 Nov 2009 - 8:19am
Nick Sergeant
2009

@cvestal - that's not a bad idea. My only concern with that approach
is that the options for each individual filter are hidden upon first
glance. It requires the user to act on the filters in order to view
the available options.

@William Hudson - I thought about doing that, but then the content
would be pushed even lower down the page, which I'm sure we'll get
pushback for.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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19 Nov 2009 - 10:02am
Brian Mila
2009

You're generous application of whitespace (or blackspace in your
case..) is admirable and it makes the page really easy to read at a
glance....but its also the cause of your problem. If you're not
willing to sacrifice by reducing the vertical spacing between items,
you could try cutting some of the horizontal width and making two
columns of filters.

Another option, going back to the accordian panel suggestion.....have
you validated your concern with real users, perhaps people who would
be using your site are already familar with those categories?
Here's a suggestion though, if you used accordians when they are
collapsed you can change the text of the bar to give hints, such as
"Species (Beech, Oak, etc.)", "Type (Solid, Engineered)" and
then when expanded just drop the additional text and go back to
"Species".

Brian

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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19 Nov 2009 - 10:46am
kamila giedrojc
2009

You could actually think about leaving the most popular filters open and others closed. Just like getprice does it.

http://www.getprice.com.au/mens-tops.htm

kamila

19 Nov 2009 - 10:55am
Julie Strothman
2008

Pretty!
While trying to predict visitor viewport size or zoom level has
limited value, it looks like this design will display at least two
filters as far as the first 'All' under the 2nd filter at normal
zoom level and 425px of height.

Showing this much informs that there are more choices available. You
could gain some more visibility by reducing the padding on the H1 and
on the bottom-padding on the filters, still keeping a lot of nice
black space.

It would be good to get it in front of some people to make sure, but
you could also use Google Web Optimizer to make a couple of versions
available and see if people use the filters lower down the page.

Julie

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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19 Nov 2009 - 3:50pm
Nick Sergeant
2009

Some really great suggestions here. Thanks, all!

We're going to toy with some of these suggestions.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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19 Nov 2009 - 6:38pm
Alan James Salmoni
2008

Just a thought (and probably a bad one because it may change your
scheme) is that the menu isn't too dissimilar from the main content
background. If the menu was more distinct, it may offer more of a
clue that it continues below the fold.

>From my own experience, most users are happy with scrolling and use
the scrollbar as a visual cue of the document's length; some
however, still scroll almost as a last resort after reading the
viewport's content. Testing might help out here if possible.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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