In the world of website design, there are many myths and misconceptions that can mislead designers and prevent them from creating a website that truly serves its purpose. One of the most common myths is that users don’t scroll. The phrase “above the fold” drives us bonkers here at Lobo. This belief often leads to poor design decisions that limits the amount of content and information available to users, often over whelming users with too much information at once. In this article, we’ll be debunking this myth and explore why users do, in fact, scroll.
The Myth: Users Don’t Scroll
First off, how did you get to this paragraph? BY SCROLLING!
The myth that users don’t scroll has been around for years now, and it’s easy to see why. In the early days of the website design, users had to rely on slow and clunky scrolling mechanisms that made scrolling a pain. As a result, users would often only scroll if they absolutely had to.
However, this is no longer the case. Modern web design has made scrolling smooth and effortless, and users have grown accustomed to scrolling on a regular basis. Everyday apps used by users for, sometimes, more than 3 hours a day (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and so on) are built around the scroll. Studies have shown that the majority of users scroll almost instantly when browsing websites.
Why Users Scroll
There are several reasons, and fairly obvious ones, why users scroll on a website:
1. They Want More Information
Users are often looking for specific information when they visit a website, and scrolling allows them to find that information. By scrolling down a page, users can see more content and get a better understanding of what the website has to offer. It is of course important for you to have a clear navigation on the website, but humans are visual creatures and like to validate that your website is the right one for them, so a scroll is often first point of call to start that search.
2. They’re Engaged
Using the knowledge that users are after information helps this next reason. The more users are engaged with a website, they’re more likely to scroll. Including engaging content and visuals in your website design can capture a user’s attention and encourage them to keep scrolling. Choose your images wisely, and even adding simple micro-interactions to your website can encourage the user to scroll.
3. It’s Natural
Scrolling is now an incredibly natural part of web browsing. Users are used to scrolling on social media platforms, mobile apps, and other digital platforms each and every day. As a result, they expect to be able to scroll when browsing a website.
The Benefits of Scrolling
In addition to debunking the myth that users don’t scroll, it’s important to understand the benefits of scrolling. Here are just a few:
1. More Information
By allowing users to scroll, we have the ability, as web designers, to provide more information and content to users. This can be especially important for websites that provide a lot of information, such as news websites or educational sites. It’s important to make sure your website design has it’s heart and code set on the user, if they need more information they will look for it, even if they have to scroll. You just need to make sure it’s clear to get there.
2. Better User Experience
By making scrolling easy and intuitive, we can create a better user experience for our website design. Users are more likely to stay on a website that is easy to navigate and provides them with the information they need. Don’t just think your users want to navigate your website via your main navigation. It’s important to have smooth user journeys throughout your website, considering the users intent on each page.
3. Increased Engagement
Engaging content and visuals can keep users scrolling and increase their activity on a website. Studies have proven that the longer a user spends on a website the more likely they to convert and become a more loyal customer.
4. Better SEO
Having more content on a website can also improve search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engines like Google prefer websites that have a lot of high-quality content, so having more content that can be easily scrolled through can improve a website’s search engine rankings. You can improve this experience by including things like sticky contents blocks so users can see their position on the page if there is a lot of a content.
How to Design for Scrolling
So you get it now right? We’ve established the importance of scrolling. Let’s take a look at how to design for scrolling:
1. Use Clear and Intuitive Design Cues
One of the most important things to keep in mind when designing for scrolling is to use clear and intuitive website design cues. This can include things like scroll bars or arrows that make it clear to users that there is more content available if they scroll down. Of micro-animations on page loads that animate text in to the page by moving it up slightly, giving the illusion that it’s appeared from lower down in the page.
2. Create Engaging Content
Engaging content is key to keeping users scrolling. This can include things like videos, images, and interactive elements that capture a user’s attention and encourage them to keep scrolling. Apple do this very well with their product showcase pages. Each section has new and interesting content displayed that grab the eye.
3. Optimise for Mobile Devices
More and more users are accessing websites from their mobile devices, so it’s important to ensure that your website is optimised for scrolling on these devices. This can include things like using responsive design to ensure that your website looks good on any screen size and using touch-friendly design elements that make it easy for users to scroll on a touchscreen. Be aware of integrating maps in to your website. They are notoriously annoying for scroll interruptions.
4. Use Hierarchy and Organisation
When designing for scrolling, it’s important to use hierarchy and organisation to ensure that users can easily find the information they’re looking for. This can include things like using headings and subheadings to break up content into easily digestible chunks, and using visual cues like colour and spacing to differentiate between different sections of content. Defining hierarchy of content and page structures before you start designing is often helpful to allow you to clear define what content your users will want. We have built an architectural design process that includes mapping pages Content Hierarchy. Feel free to connect with us if you’d like to find out more about how we plan ahead for our website designs or read about our process here.
5. Test and Iterate
As with any aspect of website design, it’s important to test and iterate your design for scrolling. This can include things like conducting user testing to ensure that your design is intuitive and easy to navigate, and using analytics tools to track how users are interacting with your website and make changes accordingly. Google Analytics 4 allows you to simply and quickly track ‘scroll depth’ on your pages. This will give you good indication how users are engaging with your content and page lengths.
In short, the myth that users don’t scroll is simply not true. Modern web design has made scrolling easy and intuitive, and users have grown accustomed to scrolling on a daily basis. By understanding the benefits of scrolling and designing with scrolling in mind, we can create websites that provide users with the information they need and create a better on site user experience. With the right design cues, engaging content, and a focus on mobile optimisation and layout organisation, designers can create websites that encourage users to scroll, engage with their content and convert.
Do users really scroll on mobile devices?
Yes, users scroll on mobile devices just as they do on desktop computers.
Should I limit the amount of content on my website to prevent users from having to scroll?
No, limiting the amount of content on your website can actually be detrimental to the user experience. By providing users with more information and content, you can create a better user experience and increase engagement.
How can I make scrolling more intuitive for users?
By using clear and intuitive design cues, such as scroll bars or arrows, you can make scrolling easier for users.
Is it better to have all content on one page or to break it up into multiple pages?
It depends on the type of content you have and the user’s goals. If your content is long-form, breaking it up into multiple pages can make it easier for users to consume. However, if your content is more focused and concise, having it all on one page can create a better user experience. Simple, clear and well structured wins every day.
How can I ensure that my website is optimised for scrolling?
To ensure that your website is optimised for scrolling, make sure that the design is intuitive and easy to navigate. Use clear design cues, such as scroll bars or arrows, and create engaging content that encourages users to keep scrolling. Additionally, make sure that your website is optimised for mobile devices and use hierarchy and organisation to make it easy for users to find the information they’re looking for.
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Is there any data to back up the idea that users do scroll?
Yes, there have beeb many studies analysing huge numbers of websites. Here are some useful links to find our more: