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Infinite Scrolling’s Impact on the User Experience

By Anthony Overkamp

If you're like me, and get most current events via your Twitter feed or have spent some time looking up hilarious memes on Google Images, then you’ve experienced infinite scrolling—a web design technique in which content continually loads as a user scrolls down the page. Infinite scrolling is most commonly utilized on social networking sites such as Twitter and Tumblr, and websites like ESPN.com, where the ability to quickly scan information is a major component of the user experience.

The endless scroll function works well with mobile sites in particular, as most smartphone and tablet users prefer swiping down to see content instead of manually refreshing a page. Conversely, e-Commerce and long-form journalism websites normally don’t employ infinite scrolling. Since these types of websites typically require visitors to take more time to examine products or digest complex information, endless scrolling doesn’t enhance the user experience.

Today, infinite scrolling’s popularity is gradually increasing because of the amount of traffic websites receive from social media sites. As this technique becomes more widespread, it will help websites turn casual users that scan content quickly into more recurrent visitors that stay on the site longer. Despite infinite scrolling’s popularity, website developers face the challenge of balancing the technique with search engine optimization (SEO). To ensure endless scrolling doesn’t “break” a site’s SEO, web designers should employ URLs that account for infinite scrolling and review each page of content to confirm it follows standard SEO practices.

Recently, I provided my insights on infinite scrolling for an EContent article, “Is the Infinitely Scrolling Page the Future of User Experience?”, check it out!

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