Infinite Scrolling. Pros and Cons.

BY IN Uncategorized, 21.03.2014

Infinite scrolling websites have become very popular over the past couple of years. What exactly is this whole infinite scrolling thing? As a user scrolls down the page of a website, new content loads as they reach what would be the end of the page. If you’re a Facebook user, than you should be pretty familiar with how this works.

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Facebook and countless other websites use it, but does that mean you should as well? There are some obvious advantages to having an infinite scrolling design.

Infinite Scrolling is Faster than Regular Scrolling

There are hundreds of thousands, if not more, people who are browsing the web right now. One trend that continues to progress is that people like fast loading sites. Search engines also love sites that load quickly, a few milliseconds can actually make a difference in your results for ranking on search engines.

Let’s use a classic example, an ecommerce site. Many ecommerce sites sell hundreds if not thousands of different products. Your goal as a web developer should be to deliver those products to their screen as fast as possible. Potential buyers don’t want to comb through page after page of results.

It’s this type of scenario where having an infinite scrolling site would come in handy. As the reader scrolls down through the products more products are automatically propagated. This makes for a happy user and hopefully more purchases.

Infinite Scrolling is Less Confusing than Regular Scrolling

As a professional web designer your goal should always be to provide the best possible experience for your readers. How many times have you landed on a site that had 6 or more pages of the exact same type of content? It would make so much more sense to just have an infinite scrolling design when content is similar.

Let’s look at this from the perspective on a shopper on an ecommerce website again. If the shopper is looking through your online catalog of sweaters. While browsing they find a red sweater on page 5 that they liked, suddenly they are on page 12 and can’t remember where that red sweater was!

Unsatisfied from having to sift through page after page again to find that awesome red sweater, the shopper leaves to visit somewhere else. This is an example of how having infinite scrolling could directly turn into more sales on an ecommerce site.

Great for Websites that are Image-Heavy

Ever heard of Pinterest? No? Pinterest is a classic example of an infinite scrolling design. Pinterest is an online bookmarking website where users can save “pin” favorite images onto boards.

Let’s put it this way, the site is extremely image heavy. If the developers of Pinterest had decided to use a regular scrolling type of design with page after page of content, you can almost guarantee the website wouldn’t be as popular as it has become. By using infinite scrolling design, the user has a great experience on the site and comes back hours at a time.

Infinite Scrolling is Great with Touch screen Devices

With more and more users browsing the web on mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet, it’s crucial that your website provides a good experience for them. Have you ever been looking through a website and have to touch the ‘next page’ button on your phone? It’s not very fun when everything goes all crazy and you zoom in instead of going to the next page.

Let’s just say that infinite scrolling + touch screen devices = a winning combination!

Your Turn:

What’s your thoughts on infinite scrolling? Does it work for every type of website? Infinite scrolling has become a staple in web design focused on a better user experience. Tell us your thoughts below!

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  • Deepen Dhulla

    one draw back.. at times you cannot go to footer ;-)