Let’s take a scroll…

Have you taken a scroll today? Here at Rawww, we take web usability standards seriously, and with this in mind, we want to talk about website scrolling. So many of our clients are worried that their website users won’t scroll and we often spend time re-assuring them that this is not the case.

Websites are constantly evolving, especially in the past few years due to users’ thirst for responsive design and connected devices, and scrolling is one of those design elements that can divide opinion. Back in the deep dark, early days of the web and website design, having all your content ‘above the fold’ was the way, but times have changed – and so has the internet. There is no standard interface constrained to 800 x 600 pixel dimensions anymore; we now enjoy bigger, better monitors and sharp, small screens on smart phones, along with clever content positioning and design. Not only that, today’s internet users are much more savvy due to the way they scroll when they use their mobile and tablet devices.

If users need to scroll, they’ll scroll.

Website scrolling is perfectly acceptable and expected, which is why such a high percentage of us do it, just look at the facts;

1. Over 100,000 page views were analysed by Heatmap service provider *ClickTale

The result? The scrollbar was used on 76% of the pages, with 22% being scrolled all the way to the bottom, even if the page was long.

2. Over 50% of users scroll within nine seconds

Within a speedy nine seconds of viewing a site, over half of users will start scrolling according to *MOVR (The Mobile Overview Report)

3. Long scrolling pages are faster

Long scrolling pages are actually faster than paginated ones according to usability studies by the *Software Usability Research Laboratory.

But, you still need to make sure your website is designed and built right to get users perusing with ease. Usability expert *Jakob Nielsen‘s eye-tracking studies, along with eye-tracking studies by *CX Partners, highlight this well, but only if the page is designed to encourage scrolling.

 

Yes, the top of your website is the most effective place for content, but you can’t – and should never try – to cram all your information there. For example, if you have continuous or lengthy content, don’t be afraid to go below the fold, but do make sure you take certain principles into consideration.

1. Great design makes a different

Use white space effectively and think about your imagery. If users are encouraged to explore – and scroll – through clever design, they will.

2. Give your users a reason to scroll

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again… Don’t cram all your content at the top… if you give your users a reason to scroll, they will!

3. Avoid scroll bars and arrows

Avoid using in-page scroll bars and arrows to encourage people to scroll – if your content is intriguing enough people will read on (we’ve read the evidence).

4. The fold no longer exists

The idea of ‘the fold’ is fading, screens can vary widely in today’s online society due to the availability of screen options, and with touch screen devices being so popular, finger swipes and hand gestures are common.

So, next time you worry if your users aren’t scrolling, remember this blog. People do scroll.

References:
ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0 – Part 1: Visibility and Scroll Research 2007
Mobile Overview Report April – June 2015
Software Usability Research Laboratory Report – The Impact of Paging vs. Scrolling on Reading Online Text Passages
Jakob Nielsen – Scrolling and Attention article 2010
CX Partners – The Myth of the Page Fold, Evidence from User Testing 2009