Nowadays, infinite scroll is a very popular design that is employed by numerous websites, especially blogs. Jetpack for WordPress offers a special infinite scrolling module for blogs, and even social media platforms, such as Twitter, are integrating infinite scroll in their feeds.
In this post, I will discuss exactly what infinite scrolling is, and what its advantages and disadvantages are.
What is infinite scrolling?
Infinite scrolling, as the name suggests, is more of an interactive solution that tends to continuously load content as the user scrolls down towards the end of the page. As such, the end of the page does not arrive, as new content keeps coming up once the end of the page is reached.
This is helpful when there is a lot of scrolling involved, such as Facebook news feed, Tumblr blogs, or even WordPress blogs with a lot of posts. Infinite scrolling straightaway eliminates the need of pagination.
The advantages of infinite scrolling
So, what are some of the major pros associated with infinite scrolling?
- First up, infinite scrolling is ideal for touch devices because it lends a natural and better user experience. Considering the fact that a good number of people browse the internet via their tablets or smartphones, infinite scrolling can actually spice up the overall design of your website.
- Second, infinite scrolling can be employed to make efficient use of the screen area, because it can remove the clutter of pagination and navigation items.
- Third, infinite scrolling is ideal for websites or blogs that are image heavy.
- Fourth, infinite scrolling might just have certain psychological aspects associated with it. Since content is being auto-loaded as the user scrolls down, it can trigger curiosity and encourage your visitors to actually scroll down and seek more posts. Overall, infinite scrolling can make for some truly enjoyable and pleasant web browsing experience. As such, infinite scrolling can actually be used to drive better engagement to your website or blog.
The disadvantages of infinite scrolling
However, much like every other web design trend, infinite scrolling, too, has its own share of pitfalls and negative areas.
- First, infinite scrolling is severely limited in application and cannot possibly be used on all genres or types of websites. It is meant for feeds, blogs, tumblogs, and that’s about it — most other forms of websites can’t rely on infinite scroll.
- Second, infinite scrolling can be resource intensive at times, and as such, not all web browsers will be able to cope with it. This is not much of an issue anymore, though, as any modern web browsers can showcase infinite scroll with ease, but you still need to be aware of the fact that users with outdated web browsers or devices with lesser memory will have a difficult time accessing a website with infinite scroll.
- Third, infinite scrolling comes with a new set of issues that might be favorable for some, but unfavorable for others. For example, for all practical purposes, bookmarks on specific pages become too cumbersome to accomplish, because all your page does is scroll indefinitely. Similarly, unlike a properly paginated website, a website with infinite scroll can offer a sense of confusion to certain users.
- Fourth, websites or blogs with infinite scrolling, most of the time, need to sacrifice their footer region. As such, any plans that you had of placing widgets in the footer will have to be dropped, because the footer just cannot exist. However, there is a workaround to this in the form of a fixed footer, that is displayed irrespective of infinite scrolling.
Infinite scrolling has become very popular with blogs and tumblogs that have a lot of posts. As I already mentioned, due to the fact that social networking websites also rely on infinite scrolling, its popularity will only continue to expand.
What do you think of infinite scrolling? Do you use it on your own website or blog? Share your thoughts with us using the comments below!