Users Hate Scrolling – But do They Still?

A good UX designer will know how to make a webpage that the client likes:

A good UX designer will know how to make a webpage that the client likes:

Think a layout that’s easy to follow, include their favorite colors – because looks matter in life – throw plenty of share buttons all around, you know the drill.

However, if you are to describe yourself as an excellent UX designer, then you have to know how to put together a webpage that works well both for the business and the users! And yes, with everyone’s favorite colors included on the page!

Mind-boggling, right?

But it’s the truth – since you will be designing pages that people are supposed to use, then it’s only logical to think of the ways those people use your page well while deciding the page layout!

If you’re thinking now whether you need to become a psychologist or anthropologist and study human behavior in order to successfully design pages… well, you’re not that far from the truth. Though drop that Freud, no need to go that deep.

And there’s one popular online behavior that is very likely going to give you a headache or two at some point: the all-mighty scrolling.

Keep reading on to learn what might be the best option for the page you’re just about to design and whether scrolling really matters that much.

“There’s one popular online behavior that is very likely going to give you a headache or two at some point: the all-mighty scrolling.”

Wait, didn’t we hate scrolling?

True, people weren’t that thrilled when it came to scrolling – in 1996.

In fact, scrolling was so scorned upon that even the great Jakob Nielsen stated that “people don’t scroll” – according to him, 90% of the Internet users were only concerned with the visible screen content.

In all fairness, if you think about scrolling on a 1996 version of a Microsoft Internet Explorer with dial-up connections going at about 30 Kbps… you may understand why scrolling was one of the ten deadly sins when it came to UX design.

*you probably would’ve given up scrolling on your own page with that speed, tbh*

While Nielsen changed his mind soon after – in 1997 – and gave the green light to scrolling, poor Scrolling managed to secure itself a place in the Top 10 Annoyances of the Internet.

Boy, were they wrong.

“People weren’t that thrilled when it came to scrolling – in 1996.”

But I don’t get it – what changed, then?

Well, times are changing fast, my friend – and technology seems to be dictating human behavior now more than ever! *Internet Explorer waves from the distance*

Apart from all the shifting interface models and simple layouts, every good UX designer knows how technology is changing the way people surf the web and thus, experience it.

Still not sure what we’re talking about?

Think again: smartphones and tablets have changed the game!

You do spend most of your time googling things on them, don’t you? They’re light to carry around and give you something to do even when you have something else you should be doing!

And then think again about the way you use your smartphone – you scroll. All. Day. Long.

“Smartphones and tablets have changed the game!”

How come people love scrolling so much now?

Again, you don’t even have to look that far to understand human behavior and its relation to technology. Simply observe and notice your own habits.

For instance, imagine this:

You’re all tucked in at night, wrapped like a human burrito in your bed, holding your phone with one hand and… scrolling with your thumb.

It feels natural, doesn’t it? It’s simple, it’s easy and it makes you want to grab more and more and more of that content. On top of that, social media have made scrolling even more popular with their never-ending feeds. Or has it been the other way around? *wink wink*

Imagine if you had to click one page after the other before you fall asleep – chances are, you’d prefer dozing off in front of the TV instead.

Because that would’ve been simpler for you – and people love simple things!

“Observe and notice your own habits – scrolling feels natural!”

Are you saying I should forget about clicking?!

In the past, when most people surfed on computers, clicking made plenty of sense – the page loaded, you saw the content right there and you just clicked your way through with a mouse until you found what you were looking for.

A mouse was easy to use – and made clicking feel natural to you. Same as the smartphones made scrolling feel natural.

But even though smartphones and tablets have made scrolling more popular than ever – who’s annoying now, Mister Clicking?! – the UX design community is still somewhat split on this: half of the designers out there still swear on the power of clicking.

“Half of the designers out there still swear on the power of clicking.”

What am I supposed to do now?!

Well, there’s only one right answer: whatever gives for a smoother experience. Most of the time nowadays, that’s scrolling.

However, while OnePagers are great – and whoever came up with the scroll-to-the-top button is a genius – there’s nothing wrong with the good ol’ clicking here and there – as long as you make it plain and simple for the user to follow.

Another thing people love – apart from simple stuff – is clues.

So as long as you provide a strong visual clue as to what you expect them to do – scroll or click – you should be fine.

As you can see from the picture, some pages are just begging to be clicked next – while others are just begging to be uhm… closed.

In fact, 57% of the Internet users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site – or in other words, people don’t like when you make things difficult for them.

“People don’t like when you make things difficult for them.”

OMG – people are *so* difficult to please!

That’s true – and every UX designer will agree on that one there.

If we add to the mix the way people read online nowadays – they don’t really read, they just skim through everything – you have to put a lot of thinking beforehand if you want your page to be a success with everyone.

However, easy to follow and simple may almost always win – no matter what type of product or business you’re working on.

Also, let’s not forget about who’s your best friend here – Testing, and chances are, you two will be spending plenty of time together. What works well for another product may not work as great for another one but ultimately, you’re bound to get it right.

Remember – online human behavior will most definitely keep changing and evolving over time. It’s your task to find out what your fellow humans will end up enjoying most – and allow them to experience exactly that thing.

“Easy to follow and simple may almost always win”.

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