Best Practices for Long-Scrolling Websites:
The trend for Long-scrolling websites has been around for years. It is because users love sites that let you scroll down for an extended amount of time! Nevertheless long-scrolling or infinite-scrolling doesn’t state that your website is going to have a user for long time.
Since the trend doesn’t seem to change somewhere near so let’s have a look over some tips and best practices through this article. Back in days, Newspapers and Websites had the same pattern and format i.e. headline the most important content to be on the top. It still goes with Facebook ads and blog post teasers.
Above the fold was even an expression for that and teaser determines if the user will click on the blog post or Facebook ad or not. But the difference is when clicking something; the user makes a conscious decision comparing when scrolling, the user does it unconsciously. However the conscious decision would be to stop scrolling.
The concept of above the fold content doesn’t fit well to websites because the front page may contain the main claim and maybe a teaser, but the surety of containing all of the relevant information cannot be determined.
You can see the difference at first sight:
Apple Website 1997.
Apple Website 2016.
If we compare both ideas we can observe that endless scrolling is not causing higher bounce rates and if it is done in a well mannered way it keeps the user entertained. It is more likely that user is to react to your call to action if a user stays longer on your website.
Before anything let’s have a look over pros and cons of long-scrolling websites as it will make the understanding easier:
• Interactive story telling.
• Low bounce rates.
• Captivates the user with high responsiveness.
• Challenging for SEO
• Hard to measure
• Positioning a content is difficult
• Testing over cross-browser becomes difficult.
When Will Users Keep Scrolling?
As long as the content is interesting Users keeps scrolling to them, the more the content becomes irrelevant the more likely users are to abort a session. Usage of mobile devices is another reason for the popularity of long-scrolling websites because on the small screen scrolling is especially convenient compared to using buttons for navigating a website.
Long-Scrolling & Story-Telling
Telling a story with their website is the highest of the challenges for designers and marketers as there are multiple design possibilities and effects like animations or parallax scrolling. Moreover playing with the blend of different types of content, text, pictures, videos and gifs is another thing that makes long-scrolling more attractive.
There is more to come so keep scrolling!
Users can navigate long-scrolling sites at their own pace which is important for user satisfaction. It gives them option whether to stay on relevant content or keep scrolling if the content is not interesting for them. This is what parallax scrolling is known as in which animations can partly be controlled by the user.
The user stays focused on topic instead of having him click around all the time while scrolling because clicking always creates a delay. Consequently the danger of the user leaving is relatively high if the page takes too long to load. This is what can’t happen with long-scrolling websites.
Structuring Content Appropriately
Structuring the content in a logical way especially from SEO perspective is one huge challenge with long-scrolling websites. So determining the optimal length for the user is where the developer’s mind jams. Although this is not reasonable in most cases but theoretically you only need one page. Having a horizontal navigation bar with the categories you think it important on your website makes more sense.
Apart from that choosing not to use long drop down-menus becomes more suitable while navigating a website. Each of these pages has different parts and normally navigation bar takes the visitor to different sections, to go further within the site.
Too much content overwhelms the user.
Users normally get overwhelmed with too much content and result in a bad user experience. However there is no such hard and fast rule to sort this problem because the amount of data varies with the type of industry or niche the site is in. Like long-scrolling sites are more widely accepted on e-commerce sites where companies have to deal with large number of products.
Long-Scrolling and Interaction
Animations and hovering and other effects catches eye of a user so the reason is simply clear that long-scrolling creates entertainment and interaction for the user.
Interactive elements create a little mental break and hence keep users busy towards navigation. A good example is the website of Pirate Code: http://piratecode.ru/en/
This site shows animated waves and lets the user scroll horizontally.
Parallax & Long-Scrolling
Parallaxes means ‘change’, so basically parallax effect incorporates different backgrounds that move at varying speeds and results in a pseudo 3D effect. In the beginning parallax effect was popular in retro video games, which later has become popular in the web design community.
Parallax entertains users and is therefore becoming increasingly important and one amazing example of a combination of storytelling, parallax and long-scrolling is found in a website ‘The Boat’ which shows Nam Le’s graphic novel about escaping Vietnam and transfers it using technology of modern web design. Although the parallax effect is yet not that popular in mobile devices, but it is highly expected that it should change shortly once further improvements are made.
Long-scrolling websites have gained an integral part of the internet and users and companies now prefer presenting different kinds of content to their users. With growing innovative ideas the challenges grow proportionally, as only content that is consistently relevant and presented through stellar web design will keep the user scrolling down.
We would be glad to hear your comments on our long-scrolling website article!