Infinite scrolling, or continuous scrolling, is an adaptive design technique where the browser automatically loads new content when the user reaches the bottom of a page. This way, the user does not have to look for page numbers to get to the next desired portion; it will automatically load with the downward movement of a mouse and/or finger. This phenomenon became popular at a point in history where there was more content on each web page to look at, and there were better Internet connections to make infinite scrolling possible. Here are some of the pros and cons of infinite scrolling techniques.
Pro: 1. Infinite scrolling makes it easier for the user to retrieve new desired content. Infinite scrolling allows the user to simply use their mouse or finger to have new information automatically pop up at the bottom of the page. No longer will the user be troubled with pagination navigation tabs to go to the next page of content. The simpler the process is for the user, the more likely the user will stay on the webpage.
Pro: 2. Infinite scrolling can allow for more aesthetically pleasing templates. Infinite scrolling allows designers to make cleaner looking templates with less clutter. Navigation and pagination tabs will not be in the way for users, who are looking for quick methods of retrieving new information. Statistically, users tend to stay on web pages for longer when there is less clutter and more organization of content.
Con: 1. Infinite scrolling may cause an increased wait time in loading more content. Extra content at the end of page can add to the user’s wait time when retrieving new information. This may not affect all users, but it could affect those with slow connection/dial up plans, as well as those with poor mobile phone data plans. This can also lead to an increased risk of computer memory loss and crashes.
Con: 2. Infinite scrolling can cause the user to feel lost both spatially and actually. The user may feel more likely to forget where they last were in the stream of content because there won’t be any page numbers to guide them on where they last were. Also, when the user wants to push a “refresh” or “back” button, the actual place of where the user last was will be lost. Both of these spatial and actual senses of loss can cause frustration, which is a key reason why users leave web pages in the first place.
Infinite scrolling is a responsive method to solve a navigational technique. There are several pros and cons to infinite or continuous scrolling. Users may have an easier time retrieving new information, as well as a more aesthetically pleasing experience on the website. However, users can experience an increased load in wait time for new content, as well as a sense of spatial/literal loss. Bigwig Monster Media understands how to build an adaptive/responsive web design plan that allows for the option of infinite scrolling if so desired by customers.
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