Scrolling seems to get little airtime in regards to web design but it can really make or break your user experience. If something irritates the user, they will not spend any longer on the site and most likely not revisit and this may include scrolling. It is important to take care of the details within UX design because that is where things can go wrong.
Scrolling is important for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that it allows for mobile websites to hold the same amount of content as desktop websites. It keeps everything neat and concise, and its far easier to scroll on a mobile device than on a laptop or computer. It also means content can be spread out across one page without overcrowding or too much clicking around to other pages.
Abbey Masterbatch is a good example of a scrolling website because, although not a lot of scrolling is involved throughout the pages, the content is well distributed.
Do people scroll?
Data analytics provider Cheatbeat analysed over 2 billion website visits and found 66% of attention on a typical web page is “below the fold” – people scroll to get there. If your website is built well, people will scroll to find out more. High Life North is a good example of a website that encourages scrolling through breaking up text with image and having interesting elements that make you want to carry on scrolling through.
If a user finds it uncomfortable to scroll on a website, they will most likely leave because it is frustrating and the information they are looking for is hard to find.
There is also a phenomena called ‘Zombie Scrolling’ where the user becomes disengaged with the website whilst scrolling for too long and will be less susceptible to the normal call-to-action’s (CTA’s) or hooks.
This is why it is important for designers pay attention to scrolling when designing websites.
Types of scrolling
There are four different types of scrolling that can be used in UX.
This lends itself naturally to storytelling and allows a single page to flow together seamlessly. For example, The Boat this creates a smooth, linear experience.
Fixed long scrolling keeps the some content static whilst some content scrolling. This is great for sites that don’t want to convert to a single page due to SEO concerns.
This allows to browse fresh content ‘infinitely’ and will only load more once you’re at the end of the screen. Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr all are configured for infinite scrolling.
This is where the background moves independently from the content on the foreground. This looks effective and adds another dimension of interactivity to your website.
How to encourage scrolling
Catering to your audience when it comes to scrolling is essential. You want the visitor to enjoy looking through your website and digest the information.
A good way to keep the users interest is through images and interesting user interface devices.
Using a hook at the beginning of your design will draw in the user and offering some immediate insight will make them want to keep reading.
Having relevant facts throughout will also encourage scrolling until the end and remind the user why they are looking at the website.
Scrolling is an important part of UX, even if it is not commonly mentioned. Websites with a lot of content are becoming more popular so baring these techniques in mind when designing a website is important for the relationship between your user and your website. Make sure to break up your content and create interesting focus points to avoid ‘Zombie scrolling’ or frustration. Using visual cues and intuitive design can be crucial to maintaining the length a visitor stays on your website and remembering this will help your UX designs.