Infinite scrolling pages are becoming more prominent on websites. Is this feature right for your NJ & NY-based company?
Infinite scroll, also known as “endless scroll”, is becoming more popular with web designers and larger corporations. This website style gives the user an “endless” stream of content, by automatically loading new content to the page as the user scrolls down. Companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Image Search employ infinite scroll, and it’s becoming more popular in 2016.
Why is this trend taking over the web? It’s all about giving a better user experience. Instead of making the user click to a new page, more data is automatically uploaded. This creates a seamless experience for the user, especially on mobile devices.
Although infinite scroll generally brings an easier and positive user experience, this website style is not the best fit for every site out there. So when is infinite scroll a good option? When should a hybrid style be used? Lets take a look into the pros and cons of each style and how to determine what’s right for your website.
Understanding the User’s Intent
One of the key factors of maintaining a successful website is understanding your user’s intent. Are you running an e-commerce site? A blog? A portfolio? Depending on why people visit your site is a key factor in the decision whether or not to use an infinite scroll.
Advantages of Infinite Scroll
When a user is simply exploring a website with no specific goal, infinite scroll can be the option of choice. This feature enables users to explore around and discover new content in a leisurely manner. Pinterest is an example of this; when users are scrolling through Pinterest, they are generally exploring the site and images, and their endless scrolling feature enables them to discover new things on a leisurely manner. Getting “lost” is part of the Pinterest experience, which is pleasurable for users.
Disadvantages of Infinite Scroll
On the contrary, when a user is trying to complete a task or a goal, infinite scroll may not be the best option. Although infinite scroll has its perks, this feature takes away some aspects of user control. Some issues include:
- Loss of back button: When infinite scroll is enabled, there are no “back” button features. Users may have a harder time finding previous content when its in infinite scroll.
- Navigation problems: Taking away the “previous page” or “back” features can cause confusion when trying to find the location of information.
- Potential for too much data: Loading too much data within infinite scroll can potentially cause slowed browser response.
- Difficulty reaching the page footer: Many people often use footer links to navigate websites. Infinite scroll can make reaching the footer difficult for users.
- Overwhelming users: A page with no end in sight can cause the user to become fatigued and frustrated, as there is no point of completion. They can never finish their task, so there is no feeling of accomplishment.
- Scrollbar issues:Visitors use the scrollbar to determine page length, which helps them to gauge their level of investment in the task. “Breaking” this functionality with infinite scroll can make them mentally fatigued.
“Hybrid” Infinite Scroll
Here at Kraus Marketing, we understand that true infinite scroll isn’t ideal for a user with a task-oriented goal, but there are the infinite scroll perks of ease and leisure. Luckily, there’s a way to implement a hybrid version of infinite scroll that addresses the disadvantages head on.
Hybrid infinite scroll is not a true infinite scroll, meaning that it doesn’t automatically upload the data once a script is hit. Instead, it sets a “load more” button where the page stops. This allows users to gain a sense of control over their experience and set visual stop points, helping to fight the sense of an overwhelming, endless experience.
Companies such as Google Images, Facebook and Twitter use this tactic for good reason and have shown measurable results in positive user experience. These companies also set “stop points.” Once a user reaches the end of one page, a few more pages will automatically load but it will have a certain threshold to the amount of pages loaded. Setting a stop point can be a great option to eliminate any user frustration while reducing some of the issues infinite scroll can create. Having these stop points help let the user know they are done, and allows them to reach the footer if that’s their goal.
Infinite scroll can work well, but it’s not for every site. While reducing clicks can be good for user experience, the elimination of pagination may not be the best practice for your website. Understand the user’s intent to your page design before adding infinite scroll to your website.
If you decide that infinite scroll is a good choice for your site and your users, you should also make sure you understand the SEO techniques for infinite scroll. This is critical as the scroll can kill your site’s SEO.
If you decide to opt for infinite scroll, make sure to use the hybrid method with stop points to eliminate some of the disadvantages infinite scroll may offer.
Want to update your company’s website with infinite scroll or a hybrid style? Here at Kraus Marketing, we can turn your website’s vision into reality. Contact us on online at www.KrausMarketing.com or give us a call at 973-998-5742.