Infinite Scrolling: What you Need to Know

One of the most popular trends of today’s web, infinite scrolling eliminates the need for pagination by using JavaScript to retrieve content and display it automatically at the end of each page. Since new content loads automatically every time you get to the end of the page, it creates the never-ending scroll, which comes with some pros and cons. In today’s post, we will quickly look at:

  • Pros of infinite scrolling
  • Cons of infinite scrolling
  • Creative examples of infinite scrolling in action

By the end of this article, you should be able to determine whether infinite scrolling is suitable for your current or next project. Quick, let’s begin with the pros.

The Pros of Infinite Scrolling

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Speed and Convenience

Infinite scrolling is considered a faster and easier navigation system compared to typical pagination. Your users don’t need to click text links or buttons to view your other content. At the same time, the content loads automatically meaning the users can save time on your website.

With infinite scrolling, navigating through tour content is therefore effortless and can result in better conversion rates depending on your site’s goals.

NB: Infinite scrolling has been known to lower click-through rates, as Etsy found out when they added infinite scrolling to their ecommerce website.

Improved Content Exposure

With traditional pagination, a user will never see the content on the next page unless they decide to click it. This can create the slightest room for distractions and if the user is not burning with interest, they are less likely to click through.

With infinite scrolling, the situation is different. By the time the user gets to the end, more content has already loaded in the viewport “enticing” them to continue scrolling. In other words, infinite scrolling keeps your content within a scroll’s reach, which translates to better content exposure.

Great for Image-Heavy Sites

Visual oriented websites such as Google Image Search, Flickr, Tumblr and Pinterest have implemented infinite scrolling with great results.

With these websites, you don’t need to click links – just keep scrolling to immerse yourself in an image nirvana like no other. Using the examples above, we can conclude that so far so good, infinite scrolling seems to be working wonders for image oriented sites.

Infinite Scrolling and the Touch Screen

Everyday, more people access the web on mobile devices which include smartphones that utilize touch technology. Instead of forcing mobile users to click minute pagination links, implement infinite scrolling to deliver your content in a more convenient and sophisticated manner.

Infinite Scrolling Creates Room for Creativity

If you know your way around code, you can use infinite scrolling to create interesting effects such as parallax scrolling (another hot trend) and build amazing one-page websites. We all know how fun parallax scrolling can get, and how you can use the same to create great visual story lines and improve overall user experience.

While infinite scrolling is fashionable now, it might bad news for your website. To determine whether you should implement this technique, let’s look at the disadvantages of infinite scrolling.

The Cons of Infinite Scrolling

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Too Much Content

You can never have ‘too much’ content on a website. In fact, the more the content you have, the merrier. Just ensure you have high quality content.

However, infinite scrolling keeps populating the page with content. something that can exhaust the readers. You don’t want to overwhelm your clients with content as it leads to lower click-through rates.

“Invisible” Footer

Since you can’t get to the bottom of infinite pages, the footer is hidden from view at all times. This can be frustrating for the user who wants to access information on your footer. The footer will always scroll away unless you implement the “Load more posts/pages” feature that stops the content from loading automatically giving your users more control.

You Can’t Skip Pages

Good old pagination allows you to skip straight to whichever page you want. This can in turn have a positive impact on your UX, especially for returning users. You can never skip pages with infinite scrolling. All you have is one l-o-o-o-ng page that never seems to end.

No Content Hierarchy

With infinite scrolling, you never know where you are on a website. You can’t even rely on the scroll bar since the infinite scroll renders it useless; you don’t know the amount of content left since more keeps loading. This might make the user feel like they’re losing control of the content on your site, and as human beings, don’t we all love that feeling of being in control?

Worst of all, you can’t click the back button to go to the previous page. With infinite scrolling, you will always end up at the top of the posts feed. These issues add up to poor user experience – something you definitely don’t want.

Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of infinite scrolling, let us look at a few examples of infinite scrolling done right:

DeWitt

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Twin Pine Journey

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I LIKE PHOTO

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Nike Drew League

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Loomideck

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The Tech Beach

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Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

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Slipstream Sculpture

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Agence Costa

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Food is for Eating

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Over to You…

What do you think? Is infinite scrolling a win or bin for you? Should we all adopt this new technology and forget all about pagination? Let us know your thoughts below!

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.
About The Author

Freddy is a writer, web developer and founder of Vistamedia, Inc., a nice place dedicated to the online entrepreneur looking to boost conversion rates using effective web content.

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