The ‘above the fold’ mantra for web design is now becoming old-fashioned. This idea had originated from the newspaper industry to keep the most valuable information ‘above the fold’. But, this practice is now being replaced by long-scrolling sites with single-page websites and long scrolling sites. It’s a signal of the changing times.
There has been unimaginable development in websites in the recent times, with animations, images and other techniques which have replaced the earlier text-heavy sites. There has been a rise in the importance of social media, along with supersonic internet connectivity and the use of mobile devices which makes long scrolling an obvious choice.
To be honest, that’s what the users would prefer. This in-trend long scrolling practice is giving the ‘above the fold’ mantra a run for its money. Is it for everyone – that’s something we should be pondering upon?
In this blog, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of long scrolling web design.
Let’s start with the good stuff.
Pros of Long Scrolling Web Design
It’s awesome to increase engagement
Have you noticed that storytelling has evolved over the years into being something extremely crucial for brands and organizations? This is because storytelling is the perfect tool to improve user engagement. So a long-scrolling site with a lot of good content will be an effective way to get more visitors interested in your site. An interesting story which develops over the scroll and keeps them engaged enough to keep scrolling and then you have the chance to get them excited about converting at the bottom with an attractive CTA.
Better user engagement can lead to longer durations of their stay on your site, and this can lead to a better likelihood of user conversions for your website.
A Prompter Solution
Can you imagine yourself using a dial-up connection in today’s world? No. In this not so time friendly society, none of us are patient enough to wait for the pages to load. Most users would prefer a long-scrolling site over sites with links which take the time to open. Long scrolling sites give you an upper hand over the flow of information to your users than the other sites. It all depends on how quickly the user adapts the information. It’s a win-win situation.
Believe in the Power of Storytelling
Long scrolling sites offer the user to present a beautiful story to their target audience which the traditional websites can’t even dream of matching. The story of your brand or product can be developed as the visitor scrolls down the page. It’s the visitors’ decision on how quickly or slowly do they want to read their story and they can also go to the parts that they’ve enjoyed reading at their will.
Long scrolling sites bring out the creativity from the web designers with elements like parallax scroll technology and animations to add beautiful visuals.
Apt for Mobile and Touchscreen Users
This is one of the most far-reaching points about long scrolling websites. There are almost 4.77 billion mobile device users in the world, and 80% of the world has the internet connection today. Due to the increasing number of mobile phone users, it has become extremely critical to suffice the need of these users. The two things which get impacted due to this is: designers need to be more creative to promote certain information ‘above the fold’ without compromising on valuable information and scrolling – which is quite a crucial factor for touchscreen device users.
A long scrolling website is an ideal sacrifice in this case. Designers can overlook the ‘above the fold’ part and focus on delivering the best scrolling experience for the users. Users should not end up swearing just because they click on a small little link somewhere they can’t even spot. This can easily be a turn-off for the users and can lead to them going away.
Due to a significant downfall in the use of laptops and Windows implementing touchscreen technology in their OS, long scrolling sites are gaining a grip over the future of web design.
A Way Out When They’re Stuck
Most of the users are not sure of what exactly are they looking for in your page. There’s a lot of confusion in their heads as to what exactly do they want. Scrolling doesn’t need a certain level of commitment from the users. All they need to do is follow the path that you offer until they find something attractive.
Keeps Things Elegant
Elegance becomes a non-escapable quality when it comes to long-scrolling sites. Instead of having the brand story spread across multiple pages, it will be much effective if all the USPs are mentioned on one page. If you focus on getting all this to a single place, your message can be well promoted in a powerful manner.
Don’t start believing that Long scrolling keywords just have positives..they too have certain disadvantages to them.
Cons of Long Scrolling Web Design
Draggy, Slack Websites
I know, you might feel that this is a contradiction as we just said that long scrolling websites are a speedy solution. But websites with a lot of content like images and videos can get a little slow and draggy. This can leave the visitors irritated for not having reached the content.
Unorganized Navigation and Search
The basic requirements from a website are having the option to navigate and search but they can get a little challenging to the users of long scrolling websites. A visitor should know where in the website is he/she searching. This becomes highly important especially when you’ve reached the website via a link other than ‘home’. But, it is not a child’s play to know it. Bookmarking and skipping around can get difficult too.
It will be the best practice to code the pages to scrolling so that you can easily maintain the UX for the visitors.
It’s a tough choice for SEO and Analytics
It gets difficult for many website users for whom tracking analytics is the key and they have a single URL with a lot of content. How can you possibly differentiate between the parts of your website that are engaging the users and which are not? Which parts have higher bounce rate than the others?
A similar issue can arise when it comes to SEO too. With different pages, you can have different keywords and you can optimize the various pages as per the traffic. But in this can there’ll be a limited set of keywords and this limitation means that Google has lesser options to rank your website.
The Footer Dilemma
The footer problem is one of the most serious issues for infinitely scrolling sites especially for eCommerce sites. The users are usually habituated to scroll down to find specific information on the footer like shipping information, social media icons, contact information, and other legit stuff as well such as privacy, copyright, and security.
So you can imagine the frustration that they visitors feel when they find out that there’s no need to scroll down. The footer is magically just a flicker away and appears as the content loads.
Do Long Scrolling websites fit the bill?
One thing I can say for sure. Long scrolling websites are the future of web design, at least for the time that the small screen devices stay in the market. And keeping the current trends in mind, I can say one thing for sure that there is no sign of any hiccup in the popularity of mobile and tablet devices.
But, to each, their own is what I would say. Even if the long scrolling web designs are in trend, it isn’t essential that they suffice the requirements of your website. Before you hop on to follow the trend, here are a few tips you should keep in mind:
- Website targets – In case your website is focused on a particular goal and the users are expected to follow certain paths, then a long scrolling website may be a turn off for them.
- Branding – If your branding works well in the form of a story and there is a constant story-telling required, long scrolling websites will be a perfect choice.
- Finance and flexibility – If your website needs to be modified now and then, it’s probably not suited for long-scrolling. And, if you’re on a shoestring budget, the long scrolling websites might just ruin your budget restrictions.
- Content – It depends on how you want to show your content. If you have a lot of content but want to classify that into pages, then the traditional pages are most suited and not long scrolling pages.
Comment below to share your thoughts on the pros and cons of long scrolling web design.. Do you agree that the long scrolling web designs are in for the longer run?
Also Read about : 15 Examples of Parallax Scrolling Done Right