Yes, People Scroll
In the early days of the internet there was hardly any need to scroll down a webpage. This was because the websites of the 1990’s and early 2000’s were largely designed with just about all relevant content above the ‘fold’ ie. the imaginary line that indicated the bottom of a screen.
But all that has changed with the increase of different screen resolutions and sizes our websites need to cater for, and of course the popularity of mobile devices for browsing the web.
Where we are now
In 2013 mobile internet traffic was 15% of global internet traffic – an increase of 9% from 2011. This research from KPCB is important because it indicates that mobile usage is increasing by approximately 50% each year. And not only that – but in 2013, more than 60% of mobile phone users accessed the internet using their smart phone – an increase of more than 13% since 2011.
So when we consider the amount of different device sizes now accessing our websites how is it even possible now to make content fit on one screen without any scrolling, across all these different device sizes? We can’t. And thankfully there is no need to.
Web users’ behaviour has changed greatly from the early internet days, especially with the introduction of mobile internet usage. Scrolling is now a way of life and this has further spurred the introduction of long, scrolling websites where users simply scroll down a single page instead of clicking between pages. Research has even indicated that of 100,000 page views, people used the scroll bar on more than 75% of the pages.
The benefits of scrolling
Long pages that require scrolling – if they are designed well – do keep the reader engaged.
There are distinct benefits to long scrolling pages:
- Scrolling is much faster than clicking between pages – no more searching for the right link, clicking on it and waiting for a page to open.
- Your viewers have all the content on one page and can’t skip pages without reading them.
- Clicking between pages interrupts a reader’s focus, scrolling keeps them focused.
- Remembering where they saw something interesting is easy – no more trying to locate that page again – just scroll up and down until you find it again.
The evidence indicates that most people now happily scroll webpages on their mobile devices. This then suggests that long scrolling pages on your website can benefit from this behaviour and can build on it to present content in a much more user-friendly fashion, than in older more static web designs. So don’t be afraid of long, scrolling websites – embrace them!
Meg is a Project Manager/Producer at Cornerstone with a special interest in conversion rate optimisation. She has a business analysis background and thinks the web would be a better place if everyone looked at their web statistics daily.