Destroying the Myth That People Don’t Scroll
If you have a finger and internet access, then chances are you are familiar with scrolling. Next to clicking and tapping, scrolling is one of the most widely used interactions you can perform on the web. Throughout the years, there has been a divide between those who believe needing to scroll is bad user experience (UX) and others who embrace it. Neither is right or wrong – it all depends on the type of experience and how users search for content.
Why is having to scroll believed to be bad UX? For years, many followed the rule that all important content had to be “above the fold.” The term originates from the front page of a newspaper before it’s folded in half. When referring to the screen, above the fold is used to describe the content that lives on a page before having to scroll down. The thought was that no one would scroll to see what exists further down the page, leading to a higher bounce rate.
How we browse has evolved in today’s world and scrolling has become expected by users.
Social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest use an experience called infinite scrolling, where content is constantly refreshed as you scroll down the page with virtually no end. This is an effective way to explore a huge amount of content without having to wait for pages to preload. When you aren’t searching for something specific, these discovery interfaces are the best way to browse content.
According to The Guardian, global mobile and tablet browsing accounted for 51.3%, versus 48.7% on desktop in October 2016. Smaller screen size is another reason we have adapted the usability of scrolling. It is nearly impossible to get all of your important content above the fold on a 5-inch screen. Plus, with touchscreens, scrolling is faster and easier than having to search for a button to tap.
Don’t be afraid to have content live below the fold when planning your next digital project. Scrolling can create a positive experience and if your content is enticing enough, people will find it.