Design—

Features that make you love and hate infinite scrolling

As you scroll down a page, do you look for content that loads continuously, like Instagram, or pagination, like Google Search? Here are the pros and cons of infinite scrolling, as well as when the feature should be used.

3 min

As you scroll down a page, do you look for content that loads continuously, like Instagram, or pagination, like Google Search? Here are the pros and cons of infinite scrolling, as well as when the feature should be used.

Reasons to love infinite scrolling

Endless Content

Want to show your users you have endless content? Infinite scrolling works great with social media, blog sites, etc. where the product is the content itself. Look at Pinterest, for example. If the user had to open a new tab every time a page ends, they would be frustrated. Never-ending content is much more enticing and effortless. 

Ad Placement

Depending on the interface design, infinite scrolling can allow for easy integration of ads within a site. Think about the last time you scrolled through Instagram or Facebook - don’t the ads in your feed mimic regular posts? This seamless ad integration is one of the big pros of infinite scrolling.

Phone Friendly

If most of your users access your interface from a mobile device, infinite scrolling may be the way to go. Swiping rather than having to open new pages is much more appealing to the user - and can keep them on your site for longer. 

Reasons to hate infinite scrolling

Long Load Time

According to Medium, infinite scrolling worsens page performance because the amount of work the browser has to do to constantly display the page is much higher than simple pagination. The ceaseless buffering from a longer load time may break the user’s attention and direct them away from your content. 

No Footer

When the page keeps loading new content, the footer is always a little too far from the user. If your interface includes many additional links, pagination may be a better option. 

Useless Scroll Bar

Most users will agree that when there’s infinite scrolling, the scroll bar is plain annoying. Trying to move the tiny bar - especially when a simple swipe will move the entire page - usually proves difficult to users. Even when the bar is moved, it tricks the user into believing the page will end - when it never will.

Final Thoughts

If your company is trying to promote content - especially if your focus is primarily targeting an audience on mobile devices, infinite scrolling is your best bet. It allows users to stay hooked on your site, unable to see the end. However, if your site includes a large amount of links leading to secondary sites/sources, maintaining a footer by using pagination may prove to be more engaging. Infinite scrolling also leads to a longer buffer time and the inefficiency of the scroll bar. In the end, whether you love or hate infinite scrolling truly depends.