Public Service Announcement About Infinite Scrolling in Web Design

In web design, infinite scrolling allows you to to literally keep scrolling a page, and more content appears. Most common website use for this would be a blog, magazine, or portfolio. The goal is to keep the visitors on the site by delivering more content. This web design technique eliminates the need for pagination.

That is an upside about the feature. The downside, usually is with the execution. A couple of the more common issues with not implementing infinite scrolling are:

  1. Site is not optimized for load speed, so infinite scroll literally kills user experience by making it painfully slow to access new content as the site visitor scrolls the page.
  2. Site has a footer that, while built with good intentions, with an infinite scroll ability, the user will be chasing it, or never reach the footer information, unless they have scrolling speed capabilities the likes of Superman.

Both issues are bad, but the second, I like to think that the website owner is some sadist who secretly knows how many people they frustrated, because they tried to chase after the footer of the website.

Infinite scrolling is not for everyone. For some, it could be information overload, and others, it could backfire, if you are looking to attract buyers and subscribers. In fact, a study from the Nielson Norman Group concludes that infinite scrolling may not be the best solution for most websites, and gives a solid case on some of the user experience issues related to infinite scrolling.

However, information overload issue aside, if you’re a website owner using infinite scrolling on your blog or magazine, or portfolio, or even store, you shouldn’t have a footer area, like social icons, terms of service, and more. That content should go elsewhere, or on a page that doesn’t involve scrolling for ages to try to get to it.

What are your thoughts about infinite scrolling?

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