Click Less, Scroll More: Why Scrolling is the New Trend
It almost sounds backwards. Imagine if your web designer had said this five years ago: “I think you need to put more stuff on the home page.”
Yet here we are, with 2015 just around the corner, and that’s precisely what we’re doing.
The Death of the Fold
Remember when all we cared about was what popped up right away? In the world of websites, “the fold” refers to the portion of a webpage that’s immediately visible without any scrolling. In other words, it’s what you can see on your screen when you first open a website.
In recent years, much of web design has focused on the elements above the fold. For both user experience and better search results, you wanted everything on your site to be up top. Get it all right in front of your visitors. After all, people are always in a hurry. They don’t want to waste time scrolling through a sea of content.
So what’s changed? People are certainly still in a hurry, but the way we are connecting to the online world has rapidly evolved. Today’s internet user is accessing websites on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, PCs, video game consoles, and smart TVs.
With all these different devices, “the fold” is no longer a reality. There is simply too much deviation in screen size. Which of the many folds would a web designer focus use as the guide for content placement?
Scrolling is Second-Nature
The mobile takeover is upon us. Depending on which studies you want to follow, mobile website traffic accounts for up to 30% of all web traffic. Mobile app usage has pulled ahead of desktop online access. Google is eagerly awaiting the day when more searches are conducted on mobile than all other devices.
An increase in mobile usage has forced today’s internet user to adapt. We no longer expect to see everything right when a webpage loads on our screen. In fact, when we do see everything, it’s far too small to read. In order to get an adequate mobile experience, we have to scroll. And scrolling is exactly what we’ve done. Whether we are reading the news, browsing product listings, or scanning our Facebook feeds, we have gotten so used to dragging our fingers along our screens that we probably don’t even realize we’re doing it anymore.
Scrolling Is a Beautiful Thing
The need to scroll has transferred over to the desktop as well. The latest trends in websites require using your mouse’s handy scrolling wheel. Many websites actually reward today’s internet “scroller.” Land on the right website and you might just be treated to the wonders of parallax scrolling. With parallax, you open up a world of animation just by moving your mouse. The webpage becomes more fluid and seamless, with each new position on the page providing a new surprise for the user. Scrolling is no longer a chore; it’s become a new way to experience the internet.
Don’t Bury Your Content
Even with these longer webpages, there’s still something to be said about putting your most important information on top. If you bury your message, chances are your visitors will never reach it. Just like you used to give people a reason to click, now you have to give them a reason to scroll. If your message is shrouded in mystery and suspense, you will probably lose more customers than you’ll gain.
Designs are becoming more interactive and more user-oriented. Still, parallax scrolling and long home pages aren’t the answer for everyone. No matter the direction you choose for your web design, you need to be sure you are reaching your potential customers with a user-friendly experience and great content. And a quality product always helps.