The debate on scrolling has been discussed thoroughly among web designers everywhere and though each company may have their preference and opinion, what it really comes down to is what is the best option for the client.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of both the scroll-oriented approach and the click-oriented approach. We will also address some questions that you should ask yourself or your client when trying to decide which approach to take.
The best explanation of scrolling that we have come across is John Herman’s quote about Twitter and their scroll-heavy design approach.
“If there’s one lesson to take from every major change in how people browse the internet over the last five years…it’s that users hate to click and don’t mind scrolling…Clicking is a choice, like jumping; scrolling is inevitable, like falling.”
Clicking requires a conscious effort and commitment while scrolling is inevitable and a lot of times done automatically; without thinking. This mindset has largely been influenced by the broad use of smart phones and touch screens. This is not to say that clicking has completely lost its use and functionality but if you are creating a site whose followers will most often be accessing its contents through mobile devices, scrolling is probably the smartest way for you to go.
If your customers already know exactly what they are looking for when they visit your site, then a click-heavy design will be beneficial to them because they are already committed to the idea of clicking on whatever will lead them to their desired destination. However, like most growing businesses, if you are hoping to drive potential customers who know nothing about your product, to your site, it is most often more beneficial to have a scroll heavy design approach.
Think of it this way; if you were going to visit a site that you are not very familiar with, the idea of picking a destination to explore first might be overwhelming and a lot of times people have mere minutes that they are willing to devote to curiosity before moving on. Don’t let them waste those precious minutes on deciding where to click. Instead, allow them to scroll seamlessly through your site, making sure they see everything you would want a new visitor to encounter.
To understand why the jump to scrolling may be difficult for some people to take, we need to go back to the roots of printing. When the internet was first created it was largely modeled off of newspaper print and its, “above the fold” concept; meaning, it was imperative to get reader’s attention from just the information above the halfway fold on the front page. And this made complete sense for the internet as well because, in theory, whatever is on the home screen will be what influences the user’s impression of the entire site.
However, as advances in web design software developed, new design possibilities arrived and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter ran with the advances. Launching fully scrolling, single-page sites, it was discovered that, as a whole, people really do prefer to scroll. And in fact, studies have shown that 66% of visitors to a site spend most of their time exploring the content that appears “below the fold.”
One of the largest selling points for a lot of web designers and business owners alike, is that scrolling allows you to not only create but control “the story.” In other words, you have the power to control what the viewer sees first, second, third, and so forth. The look and feel of the site can be relayed exactly the way you want it to and a lot of times you can succeed in influencing a viewer to click on a link that has nothing to do with their original reason for coming to the site.
Everyone’s needs are different and no client is the same. But as experts, we agree with the studies. If you want your website to function properly and produce ultimate reach results, a scroll heavy design is the way to go!