Lots of conflicting info on this, also lots of erroneous info.
A website with a large “hero” or “splash” image is a site where the initial screen is mostly visual and requires you to scroll for content. The term “Above the fold” referrers to ensuring your key points and major hooks are visible on the page as soon as the site loads.
Above the fold argument:
- Gets your message / USP’s right under the visitors nose as soon as they land.
- Aims to reduce bounce rate by ensuring site looks instantly relevant to customers.
- Content is put first at the expense of graphics / visual effects.
- Great for topical, informative and content heavy sites where images are less prominent.
- Basic appearance can be a good sales funnel.
Splash page argument:
- Much better visual impact on initial site load, striking graphics can grab the visitors attention.
- More modern appearance that scales really well on multiple devices.
- Images can be used to show off services or products.
- On sites with less content for the customer to digest it adds an extra graphical dimension for the visitor.
- Mobile visitors can be put off by text-heavy site intros (TL;DR)
There are pitfalls to both approaches, but the takeaway from this brief overview is that both can be suitable, pick a design that works for your sector. Look what other competing businesses are doing and ask yourself why.
As long as you make it clear there’s more below, it’s fine to use a splash page with a hero image – we use one ourselves! Don’t let people tell you all sites need to be laid out the same – sites evolve, trends come and go, design should not be static or stale.