Infinite Scroll on Your Website – 12 Important Facts to Consider
Like any other emerging web design trends, infinite scrolling has also promised us to offer a better browsing experience. The idea behind Infinite Scrolling, as the name suggests, is to allow users to scroll down a website endlessly. With infinite scrolling, people will be able to keep scrolling a page without reaching its end. The idea looks very promising, therefore, Infinite Scroll has gained massive popularity in the past few months. It is fun for general users to continue scrolling down and exploring the content of the website.
However, infinite scroll is not all about fun. It can make some people feel nervous as they have to browse a website which lacks traditional navigation they used to. But strangely, this trend has been successfully adopted by almost all social media giants like – Google Plus, Pinterest and Facebook (although Facebook is a funny example – because of the infinite scroll there it’s impossible to get to the footer links). But anyway, it does not mean that you should include Infinite Scrolling to your website just because some large websites are following this trend. It has worked for them, but that does not necessarily will work for your website as well.
So before you make up your mind, you need to have a proper understanding of Infinite Scrolling and its impacts on your website and your targeted audience. Here in this article, we are going to do a comparative analysis of Infinite Scrolling.
The advantages of Infinite Scroll are hard to ignore. It looks good on the eyes and also gives users the freedom from the ‘boring’ clicking on the pagination to find out what the next page contains. Take a look at some of its cool advantages:
1. Visually Delightful
Infinite Scroll is a godsend for image heavy websites. It lets visitors browse the website’s visual content without requiring them to navigate to next pages again and again. Therefore, we can affirm that infinite scrolling helps websites to increase visitors’ engagement level and it influences directly on the amount of information visitors consume. Infinite Scrolling has eliminated the need to wait for pages to load as the content gets loaded as soon as the visitors start scrolling down [depending on your internet speed though]. The visitors rarely get distracted if you integrate the idea of infinite scrolling into your website and this will definitely augur good future for your website.
2. Ideal for Touch Interfaces
The number of people using mobile or hybrid devices to access information online has been skyrocketing for a while and this trend is most likely to continue for the next few years as well. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for a website to ensure that it is faring well on both platforms – desktop and mobile. Now, since mobile and tablet devices are built around touch technology, you need to make sure that your website is optimized for the best mobile browsing experience. This is where the idea of Infinite Scrolling takes a center stage. From Users’ perspective, it makes sense to do away with those irritatingly small page links and opt for Infinite Scrolling. Mobile users would not have to tap skillfully to see everything interesting on the next page. They will be able to explore your website by just scrolling down with their fingers thanks to the introduction of Infinite Scrolling.
3. Simple and Carefree Browsing Experience
You may love Infinite Scroll or hate it, but you simply can’t deny the fact Infinite Scrolling has made browsing a fun. No need to clicking on those boring pagination links. Just scroll down and the content will get loaded automatically. This will save your time and also help you explore the website in a never before way. So with Infinite Scrolling, you will be offering a fast and carefree browsing experience to your valued visitors.
4. Better Exposure for Content
Website owners always work hard to get as much attention for their web pages as possible. Website with pagination has to work hard to encourage people to click on the next page button. Unless the content of the website is compelling, it is quite a challenge to make people click on the ‘Next Page’ button. But sites with Infinite Scrolling don’t have to face this problem at all. Since everything is within the reach of a ‘scroll’, people don’t mind checking out some additional page slides.
5. Go Wild with Creativity
Designers can do wonder with Infinite Scrolling. Since they don’t have to do anything with the footer design and the pagination of the website, they get enough time to indulge in creating stunning design. Probably, this is the reason why big companies have embraced this trend.
The Disadvantages of Infinite Scroll
Infinite Scroll allows users to consume more content than they can chew. Well, the idea of allowing users to scroll down to the end of your website and checking out every single page of your website definitely seems promising, but the problem is that not everybody is going to like the idea. Some designers are even appalled by the idea of removing the pagination option altogether. Let’s find out the flipside of Infinite Scrolling that might force you to think twice before you go ahead with the idea of implementing this new method of navigation in your next design project.
1. You Lose Control
Too much data can overwhelm users sometimes. Since exploring new content is comparatively easier with Infinite Scrolling, people tend to lose control and they tend to scroll for minutes after minutes just to realize that they have no idea where they are or what they were actually looking for. Sites with Pagination at least gives you the false sense of control that you can choose how many pages you want to browse but with infinite scrolling, you completely lost yourself as you don’t recognize how many pages you have visited so far.
2. You Get Distracted Easily
If you are browsing a website that has replaced the standard navigation with Infinite Scrolling, you will find it increasingly difficult to concentrate on a single article. Since information is just a ‘scroll’ away, visitors will get distracted easily. This means, you are going to face some difficulties if you are trying to make them focus on a part of your website or some crucial areas of your website. It is seen that when people are provided with vast amount of information, they are less likely to click on individual result -immensity of content confuses them and get distracted.
3. You Will Get Exhausted
Infinite Scrolling overwhelms the senses of the users. It might feel like traveling on a road that leads to eternity. The excitement of finding something new and the never ending supply of information tend to exhaust the users.
4. The Great Footer Issue
5. Browser Crashes
Infinite Scrolling is a new technology and that means not all browsers are ready for it. Moreover, if you are scrolling too fast, you might get your browsers crashed more often than not. One more thing – if you are browsing via an old computer that does not have much computational power; you might have to bear with these types of inconvenience every now and then.
6. You Can’t Skip Anything
The Problem with Infinite Scroll is that you simply can’t skip content. You have to wade your way through it. Traditional paginated websites don’t have this problem. You can jump to Page 10 from the very first page but this is not possible with scrollable sites.
7. Navigation Problem
Visitors always want to know where they are on a website and so an increasing number of websites are using breadcrumb navigation. But the same can’t be done with infinite scrolling websites. It is almost next to impossible to make a guess where you are when you are browsing these websites.
Try Hybrid Solution
We can combine the concept of pagination and Infinite Scrolling to create something interesting. Say hello to ‘Load More’ button. Visitors will need to click on this button if they wish to see more content. This button gives users a sense of control on the website navigation.
Drawing a Conclusion
We need to understand that not all websites are the same and infinite scrolling cannot be good for them all. Image heavy sites or the ones that get updated on frequent basis are most likely to get benefits from infinite scrolling.
Infinite Scrolling may not be ideal for websites that want its targeted audience to focus on certain sections of the website or for websites that want to convert as many visitors as possible.