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How Infinite Scrolling Is Killing Your Website

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”My love for you is like an infinite scroll, it is never-ending,” says a Twitter meme. Anyway, the thing with infinite scrolling is that it is simply an annoying UI design. Most internet users form an opinion about a website in five seconds, and as expected, 94% of the first impression is determined by the website design. The quality of your content doesn’t matter to a visitor who is new to your website if he or she can’t get past the design.

What Is Infinite Scroll Or Endless Scroll UI Design?

When you go to a website page and realize that as you scroll down the page keep loading contents. Soon, you realize that there’s no end to the page, that’s a website with infinite scroll design. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. are popular infinite scroll websites.
If these successful websites use infinite scrolling, why can’t you? The truth is, most successful infinite scroll websites are image-centric. The trick is that internet users like infinite scroll when they are looking for an opportunity to while away time. That’s why most social media platforms use infinite scrolling. Imagine Instagram with pagination. Horrible right? However, when it comes to regular text-centric websites, users want to be in control, they want to decide what they see and not just be overwhelmed with contents they didn’t ask for.
USA Today is one of the websites that used infinite scroll when it became a popular UI design trend. Time.com also used infinite scroll and in fact, said it helped their bounce rates in 2014. However, both websites have stopped using it. Etsy also tried infinite scroll but after seeing the negative impact it had on their website, they went for a better alternative. Etsy now uses pagination. Infinite scroll was actually created to replace pagination because pagination is supposedly boring.

Why Do Internet Users Hate Infinite Scroll?

  • Users Can’t Find Footers: most infinite scroll websites have their footers at the bottom of the page but users can’t reach the bottom because the page is endless. Once you see the footers, the page will load more content making sure that you can’t click on the footer. If you really like infinite scroll, put your footers at the side of your webpage.
  • The Scroll Bar Annoys Users: hitting the scroll bar will make the page to keep scrolling down forever. It defeats the purpose of tapping the scroll bar. Users want to get to the end of the page, not to be deceived into thinking that there’s an end when the page is actually endless.
  • Users Can’t Locate Contents: infinite scrolling lacks orderliness making it hard to look for contents. In fact, when on an infinite scroll page, it is hard to go back to a content you saw while scrolling down. If you click on a link and leave the page, you may not be able to find the content you were reading after going back to the page.

Even Google Doesn’t Like Infinite Scroll

The Googlebot can neither scroll down nor click buttons to load more content. If Google crawlers cannot access all the content on your webpage feeds then your webpage may never come up on SERPs. What this means for you as a website owner is that your website may not be able to rank on Google SERPs. You can still make Googlebot crawl all the linked items on your endless scroll webpage. Create a paginated version of your webpage to complement the endless scroll webpage.

You can use any of these alternatives instead of infinite scrolling

  • Load more: for people who still want infinite scroll. It gives users control by allowing them to choose to or not choose to see more contents.
  • Sub-category: this is a great UI design for e-commerce websites. The orderliness and the control it gives users create good user experience.
  • Pagination: this is an old UI design style but it’s still good for text-based websites.

Verdict

Infinite scroll is great if you’re creating a social networking platform. If your website is text-centric and is not a social media platform, infinite scroll is a bad UI design. Infinite scroll is also not a good UI design for eCommerce websites. Why? Well, the lack of orderliness and the fact that users get lost in the endless page don’t give good user experience.

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