Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scrolling versus clicking

Site design has gone away from page turning format of the codex and back to the concept of scrolling. Is this an advancement? Should information be presented screenful by screenful? The problem in reading large amounts of information, whether scrolling or page turning / clicking format is the ease by which the reader may remember or mark his progress through the text. The advantage of “pages” is that one doesn’t lose ones place on the page. Scrolling requires our eyes to readjust to a new configuration of text. This is counter to our usual mode of acquiring information. Back in 2001 I wrote, while writing on the same subject:
The only reason for not “turning” pages is because presently response time is too slow. Only when the response time become nearly instantaneously (less than 1 sec) does turning the page make sense.

Well now that it is clear to everyone that “page turning” is preferable to scrolling, and we can present pages nearly instantaneous the question becomes how do we convince customers to incorporate this in their site redesign?

There is a price for converting a website and for most companies there isn't a ROI. Retrofiting a "scrolling" site into a "page-turning" site calls for more experienced developers and new IA design. As such changes will have to wait until the next major site redesign.

What can be done right now? Scale back on the displayed text. Eliminate as much text as possible EXCEPT in the posted articles.

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