To Scroll or Not to Scroll ...
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, and in the early days of the internet, web design was a slightly different animal. It usually involved a certain amount of friction over who got their content displayed above the fold.
“Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug, published in 2000, looks at various user experience issues and is still worth a read today. Although technology has moved on hugely in the interim, many themes in the book still stand. However, a few things have changed, too. One of the issues Steve explores is the belief that all stakeholders want their content displayed above the fold, because chances of users scrolling just aren’t good enough to bank on.
Here we are 17 years later asking ourselves, have our scrolling behaviours changed?
I’m not going to beat around the bush – the answer is yes, most definitely yes. There are lots of drivers, but a really crucial and irrefutable point is that mobile device users now outnumber desktop users, and you’re not going to get much value out of your mobile device unless you learn how to scroll. Combine the mobile revolution with the massive popularity of social media, where you can spend hours scrolling through user-generated content, and it’s a bit of a no-brainer that scrolling is a well-embedded part of how the people of today consume content.
If you’ve gotten this far and don’t believe the logic, click here to read some real-life research to prove that people most definitely do scroll.
There are, of course, pros and cons to creating designs that require a lot of (or very little) scrolling. Jump over to designmodo for the specifics. The general consensus seems to be that scrolling is normal, you can create really cool scrolling effects these days, and more scrolling means less clicking – so you don’t need to work out a needlessly complex information architecture just to avoid users needing to scroll.
I say embrace it – your users probably already have, so you’d be silly not to!