Edit Apr 2015: Added a newer link (top of list).
In web design and development there is almost always a desire to surface as many items of content and functionality above “the fold”* as you can possibly cram in there: Top news, latest blog posts, branding, primary navigation, secondary navigation, customer testimonials, carousels, search box, Twitter stream, log in box, and of course at lease a couple ads.
Below is a brief catalog of the many years of user research that debunks the concept of the fold.
Let us be free of this burden once and for all. Our users already are.
* The fold is the viewable area of a web page seen by a visitor upon first landing on the page, without having scrolled. The concept comes from newspaper design. Since newspapers had to be folded in half to fit in racks or on newsstands, the attention-grabbing headlines and photos had to be placed “above the fold” to entice people to pick up the paper.