Many buzz words fly around the web these days and one of the most recent ones I've come across is above/below the fold. So, what's that supposed to mean?
The fold of a website is the point at which the users browser cuts off the bottom of the page. Anything below the lower bar is considered to be "below the fold". Adversely anything above is obviously "above the fold".
Why is this important? When designing a site the focus should first and foremost be the message of the site. Yeah, logos, color schemes and graphics are all very important as well but even a beautiful site with a mixed or lost message isn't worth it's salt. The message has to be clear and understandable and to help make sure of this keep a few things in mind.
1. What the user sees upon arriving to the site (without any initial interaction) is all above the fold.
2. There's a chance the user may not even scroll down so hiding information below the fold is a waste of time and space.
3. Banner ads and secondary messages should remain at or below the fold allowing the primary message it's due prominence.
4. Bring your message up and give it prominence.
Page fold sizes do vary because of varying monitor and screen resolution sizes. The best thing to do is to design for the overall average screen size. Currently the average is 1024x768. This doesn't mean however that we have a full height of 768px to use above the fold. On average you're looking at about 600px in overall height above the fold. Below that the user must scroll to view content.