New Scrolling Rules in Web Design
Why scrolling is reborn
Since there have been more mobile users than desktop users, designers have begun to adapt. As scrolling becomes more and more popular: the smaller the screen, the longer the scrolling.
But there are other factors. High-speed Internet has become available everywhere, which makes scrolling a quick way to get information, compared to switching between pages.
The growing popularity of social networks also contributes to the development of this approach: scrolling naturally corresponds to the needs of the audience.
A long scroll has evolved along with the card design. Combined, they provide users with an endless stream of content.
In addition to this, the doctrine of the “first fold” is now recognized as a myth. According to the results of specially conducted research, users are not against scrolling. The practice of fixing everything above the first fold is inferior to the scrolling approach of content distribution.
But if you use scrolling as a canvas to display the beginning, middle and end of the page (using graphics, animations, icons, etc.), this provides additional opportunities to attract the attention of users.
Now some hybrid models are becoming the latest web design trend. For example, in-place scrolling creates the same interactive interface as traditional long scrolling. But without stretching the web page vertically.
Does scrolling suit everyone?
By stimulating element changes, it can become a storytelling method that encourages user interaction.
Long scrolling is faster than normal navigation. It does not slow down or limit user interaction.
The ease of use of scrolling increases the time spent by the user on the site. This is especially true for infinitely scrollable sites.
Designing pages for devices with different screen sizes can be difficult. But scrolling helps simplify this.
Gesture control – scrolling seems organically related to touch control. Scrolling down is easier than tapping on different areas of the screen.
Disadvantages of scrolling:
The presence of only one page on the site can adversely affect the SEO-promotion of the site.
Inconsistencies between scrolling and content can confuse users.
Navigation difficulties – it’s inconvenient to “return” to the previous content posted on a web page. To fix this, you can create a static top navigation menu in which each element is attached to a section of the page.
On sites with infinite scrolling, it is recommended to use a minimal “sticky” footer so as not to sacrifice navigation functions. The lack of additional navigation elements at the bottom of the page can confuse users.
Long scrolling is best suited for sites:
mobile traffic-oriented (most users);
with frequent updates and the publication of new content (for example, a blog);
containing a lot of information presented in one format (infographic);
not containing multimedia elements that increase download time.
Social networking sites do a good job of long scrolling. Facebook and Twitter helped popularize this technique many years ago. But e-commerce sites that require consistent navigation are more likely to use a conservative page length.
An example of something in between is the Etsy website, a store of products created by users. It uses a hybrid solution: a few pages with “endless” scrolling ending in a “Show me more” call to action.
Do not use longer scrolls just because you have seen other sites follow this pattern. Make sure your resource meets the criteria we reviewed. Otherwise, performance may suffer.
Recommended Scrolling Implementation Practices
Long scrolling, parallax effects and other fresh trends have already led to the development of several recommended practices.
Here are some tips for successfully implementing a long scroll.
Do not be afraid to alternate a long scroll with a short one. Let content dictate the length of the scroll, and not vice versa. It’s perfectly normal to use the home page with a short scroll and the landing pages with a long scroll (for example, “Products”, “Overview”, etc.).