Across the globe, Internet users spend approximately 6 hours and 53 minutes online every day1. That’s a lot of time, but it’s easy to do so when you can just scroll…and scroll…and scroll, with no need to click for more.
With the rise of the infinite scroll on social, is this the future of website layouts? Will we see an end to ‘load more’ buttons and pagination? In this blog, we’re breaking through the pros and cons of each layout to decide which design best benefits your site’s goals.
What’s the Difference?
Infinite scroll is a page layout that supplies a never-ending feed of content. When you reach the end of the page, more content automatically appears for you with no need to click the “next page” button. Instagram is the golden example of this design.
On the other hand, pagination is a layout that sorts content into pages. To navigate between these pages, you must click a button to bring you forward or back. Think about Google. There are endless results on what you are looking for, but they are sorted into pages that you can navigate between at the bottom of your screen.
If you have spent any amount of time on TikTok or Instagram, you have probably experienced the feeling of being sucked into the infinite scroll; users are unable to pull away because it is so simple and mindless to trigger new content.
As easy as Infinite Scroll, Scroll, Scroll…
This brings us to the first pro of infinite scroll: it provides an easy user experience. With no end in sight, user engagement and the amount of time spent on a page increases. The no-click format is also incredibly user-friendly on mobile.
This design can pay off. One study tested the impact of an infinite scroll layout versus an accordion menu on a sales page. The results saw a 30% increase in conversion rate when the infinite scroll was used2.
Wait…I’m Lost in the Infinite Scroll
However, this scrolling layout will only find success on a smaller scale. While an infinite scroll can benefit a simple user experience, a page that is too large slows load times and compromises user experience. Additionally, if you have jammed too much on an infinite page that neither the user nor an in-site search engine can find a specific item, your conversion rates can ultimately suffer.
Infinite Scroll & SEO(h no)
In the same way that it is difficult for users and search bars to find specific items on a page that utilizes infinite scroll, major search engines also struggle to crawl an endless page. Even Google’s bots have limitations to how far they can crawl, which means they may miss relevant content that falls too far down a page. Also, potentially slow load times on infinite pages jeopardize SEO rankings.
The Bottom Line
So, which is better? Infinite scroll or pagination? The answer really depends on what kind of platform you are looking to provide.
Due to its search limitations, pages designed with infinite scroll are best used as discovery platforms. Social media sites have success with infinite scroll because they are built for browsing; these sites are slot machines in your pocket that entice you to come back for more unpredictable, fresh content.
Conversely, if you are looking to provide a clear path to a certain product or service, pagination can help you organize content on your site, locate items easier, and be better seen by Google and SEO rankings.
No matter what you are looking to do with your website, FYD can help you build a site layout that supports your goals. Give us a call to get some ideas loading.
1Kemp, S. (2022, April 2022). Digital 2022: April global statshot report. DataReportal. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-april-global-statshot
2Schäferhoff, N. (2018, July 17). 10 highly effective web design tips backed by research. Torque. https://torquemag.io/2018/07/web-design-tips/