Scrollbars are used to assess page length and to indicate content below the fold

One of the most common things we see on a heatmap is a strong hotspot over the scrollbar. The scrollbar is used to assess the page length. Users expect to have to scroll. The heatmap below shows this.

Heatmap from eyetracking showing scrollbar as cue to page length
Heatmap from eyetracking showing scrollbar as cue to page length.

Less content above the fold may encourage more exploration below the fold

The image below shows some recent eye tracking work we did with Bristol Airport. The screens show two different design treatments for the hero slot (the large, prominent image area) on the homepage. The surprising thing we learnt was that actually having less above the fold (one large content block as opposed to 2 smaller ones) encouraged exploration below the fold.

Bristol Airport eyetracking showing how users explore the page if there is less above the page fold
The image on the left has more crammed in above the fold, and the image on the right has less.

A very interesting article based on internet users' eyetracking research. More than the death of a myth, we are speaking of an evolution in user's behavior. Years of Internet evangelization and education result in users that know better how to interact with their browsers.