Saturday, April 3, 2010

Scrolling verus Clicking, Again

Not too long ago I wrote that we should get away from scrolling and go back to the codex. Jakob Nielsen in Scrolling and Attention: Alert Box, March 22, 2010 wrote:

Today, users will scroll. However, you shouldn't ignore the fold and create endless pages for two reasons:

  • Long pages continue to be problematic because of users' limited attention span. People prefer sites that get to the point and let them get things done quickly. Besides the basic reluctance to read more words, scrolling is extra work.

  • The real estate above the fold is more valuable than stuff below the fold for attracting and keeping users' attention.

  • So, yes, you can put information below the fold rather than limit yourself to bite-sized pages.

    In fact, if you have a long article, it's better to present it as one scrolling canvas than to split it across multiple pageviews. Scrolling beats paging because it's easier for users to simply keep going down the page than it is to decide whether or not to click through for the next page of a fragmented article. (Saying that scrolling is easier obviously assumes a design that follows the guidelines for scrollbars and such.)

    Initially I was a little surprised by what Jakob Nielsen wrote as it differed markedly from what I've surmissed UNTIL I noticed that we were referring to two very different activities. He does use the term "article" but his examples refer to stores showing products versus a reader and an article. There is a considerable difference between reading an article and the quick scrolling through data that one does when going through a store's displays or a search engine's results page.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment