Are you considering using infinite scrolling for your website? Before you apply this web functionality to your personal or professional site, take the time to consider the benefits and drawbacks of infinite scrolling.

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THE BASICS

Infinite scrolling is a web interaction technique that continuously loads content as a visitor scrolls down the site. This technique eliminates the need for pagination, the process of dividing content into discrete pages. But, for every infinite scroll success story there is also a failed attempt. Here are some things to consider when deciding on infinite scrolling.

BENEFITS

This design has seen success on sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. This can be attributed to the fact that content on these sites share the same hierarchy level and have the same chance of being interesting to the user. With infinite scrolling these “feed style” sites are easily accessible and information rich for its users. Infinite scrolling is also beneficial for the “time- killing” websites. With infinite scrolling, users can easily lose track of time while on your site, as seen with sites such as Tumblr and Instagram. The advantage of not having to click to new pages keeps the user’s attention and causes them to spend more time on the site.

Infinite scrolling is also a catalyst for creativity and content exposure. While infinite scrolling alone is an innovative avenue, a site that utilizes infinite scrolling opens their options to create more eye-catching content that is readily available to the user. Although the user does not have to travel to a new page, designers still have to think creatively to get the user to scroll through the page. With infinite scrolling all of your content is put in an endless page that allows you to receive more impressions and improve user experience.

DRAWBACKS

While infinite scrolling greatly lends itself to image-heavy sites, it is not the best design for text-heavy sites. It is good to have lots of quality content on your site, but infinite loading of new content can become overwhelming and turn off for your site visitors.

Infinite scrolling is also not recommended for goal-oriented pages, such as e-commerce websites. This is because users have a hard time finding their place after looking at a specific product page. This can lead users to not take any action on your site which can reduce conversions. Other downfalls of infinite scrolling that can diminish user experience include increased page loading times, memory usage, and possible lack of browser compatibility.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Advances in technology are always advantageous if properly applied. For some, infinite scrolling proves to be successful, but for others it can damage the entire user experience. The above factors are important to think about when deciding whether or not to implement infinite scrolling into your web design. Most importantly, consider what your site’s content is and how your users will engage with infinite scrolling.

What are your thoughts and experiences with infinite scrolling?

 

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