With Google’s constant updates on its algorithm, and experts coming up with new search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and digital marketing ideas, it is no wonder that website owners are confused about which update they need to do first, and if these said updates are necessary. The same thing is happening with infinite scrolling on websites, wherein most people are divided as to its necessity and usefulness. Some of the best reviewed builders of websites recommend it and some don’t. With these conflicting recommendations, it’s not easy to make a decision. That said, here are some of the pros and cons about using infinite scrolling on your website.

 

What is infinite scrolling?

Infinite scrolling is a type of website design wherein content continues to populate the screen as a user scrolls down a page. Think Twitter and Facebook: as long as the user continues to scroll down, they will be provided with content. Even old posts will appear so there is no end, as suggested by its name.

The advantages of infinite scrolling websites:

  1. Visually delightful and retains users longer. If your website uses images heavily, infinite scrolling may be for you. Your users don’t have to navigate from page to page in order to look at images. They no longer have to wait a long time for the next page to load because as they scroll down, new images are already being loaded. The waiting time for the images to load, of course, depends on your internet speed.
  2. Great for devices using touch interface. The use of smartphones and tablets has been very popular and it will likely stay that way for the next few years. Mobile phone and tablet users can easily view a website by simply scrolling down, as these devices are made more for scrolling due to their size and interface. Tapping on small buttons to get to the next page, on the other hand, can be more tedious and less appealing.
  3. Easier browsing experience, better content exposure, and creativity. Everybody knows how to scroll down. However, not everybody can find the next page button, in the same manner that not everybody knows how to navigate all types of websites. When a user cannot find what they are looking for, they will leave the site and move on to the next. When you’re using infinite scrolling, users of all ages have a better browsing experience which, in turn, engages them longer.You can get creative with how you present your content because you’re not hindered by a footer design and pagination, thus allowing more content to be viewed by users.

The disadvantages of infinite scrolling websites:

  1. Navigation problems make users lose control and get frustrated. One of the better site builders said that if you have an e-commerce site, you would want to direct the users to the exact page that they are looking for. If they were looking for brown leather boots, for example, you would want to show these exact same results. If the website uses infinite scrolling, they will not be able to find what they’re looking for immediately because all products are loaded all at once, whether they want to see these products or not. This will frustrate them and will most likely move on to the next website.
  2. Footer issue. E-commerce sites often have info about privacy policy, buyers’ protection, refund policy, and their company on the footer of a page. When most users are used to checking the footer for these info and they cannot find it, they will move on to the next site. These are important details to most users who shop online, who have the tendency to leave if they can’t locate these details.
  3. Analytics are harder to track. You need to track the activity of each page to know how it is performing. Through Google Analytics, you will learn the average website visits and how long users stay on your site, what page they visited the most, and which keywords they used.Tracking websites by page is already a challenge as it is, and using infinite scrolling means you need to use more tools. It can be done, but it takes more work and resources. Google Analytics alone will not be able to give you the data you need.
  4. Browser crash concerns. Infinite scrolling is pretty new in website design so there are issues that have yet to be resolved. This means that not all browsers are capable of accommodating websites with an infinite scrolling feature. When you scroll down for too long, there is a possibility that the browser will crash. This is also a common occurrence when an old computer is being used.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing between using infinite scrolling or not, there is no right or wrong answer. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were able to make it work for them. It really depends on the kind of website you are building. If you are building an e-commerce site, perhaps it is not the best design, especially if you want to optimize each page. For instance, you would want to optimize different landing pages according to product category. Implementing that on an infinite scrolling web design could be a challenge and may pose some issues.

Tom Parillo

Tom Parillo

I am interested in all things technology, especially automation, robotics and tech that helps change how society will live in the future.