Aarti Gupta

Why Scrolling is Better than Paging

These days, everyone wants to see information or content with as little ‘clicks’ as possible. So, we should design websites in a way so that users can scroll down to see the content without having to click too often.

The use of pagination has many limitations –

  1. It takes more time to download content
  2. It introduces navigation because user moves from one page to another.
  3. The biggest disadvantage is that user is not be able to see the previous content without clicking back. So they don’t have a single snapshot of their content.
  4. Related to this is that the user is actually penalized in terms of data download as going back to a page they had already viewed is a new request.

By loading more content on the same page, we are able to solve the above problems and give great user experience with minimum clicks.

Scrolling-is-often-faster-than-paging

 

 

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  • lennybacon

    Hi,

    The fact hat paging instantly tells the user how many information is there (X Pages at Y records per Page) is a usability feature.

    I think it really depends where paging or scrolling makes more sense over the other.

    Based on my experience I do not agree with some of your arguments.

    > It takes more time to download content

    Nope. Having amount serious content you will reload “pages” in the background.

    > The biggest disadvantage is that user is not be able to see the previous content without clicking back. So they don’t have a single snapshot of their content.

    Nope. Usually you cache previously loaded pages so you do not need to request the data again.

    > Related to this is that the user is actually penalized in terms of data download as going back to a page they had already viewed is a new request.

    Nope. See previous comment

    • Lenny,
      Thanks mucho for taking the time to share your experience.

      In my experience, both have their advantages though for any “feed” related design, the scrolling works better and has a better usability. The best part about scrolling is that the user ultimately gets one overall page to view rather than navigating through series of pages. One could present a case either way but scrolling minimizes the mouse clicks for a user to consume information.

      About the points you mentioned,

      1. I agree with your viewpoint of “downloading content”. I think it would be the same in both the cases.
      2. About caching pages and getting penalized for data download, I’m speculating that Aarti(the author) was trying to highlight that usual implementation of pages related approach. The general implementation seen on the web is that it would be developed in such a way that clicking on the page number would result into a new request. Something which can be solved with cache related tags in HTML.

      Again, thanks for your valuable comments. Please keep them coming.

      -Tarun

  • Amit

    Good read

  • Sanchit Sharma

    Not buying this point. There are many studies that show certain cases where paging is mandatory and some where scrolling is.

    Lets try and keep them simple. The thing to keep in mind is what the user is doing. Is the user there to discover new content without looking for anything in particular (browsing) or is the user there to search for something specific? Long scrolling helps with discovery and actually offers better usability as scrolling is much simpler and intuitive than clicking. Pagination offers easier search ability ( the different pages act as a guide to be able to bookmark searches, something that long scrolling doesn’t offer). There are other pros and cons as well but this is the crux of it.

    So in short, when you are particularly looking for something there you go for the pagination where first page may provides the best results(google normal search results page) but when you are not looking for something particular and it can have multiple results, that time you go for scrolling(google image search).

    • Shruti Sharma

      Hi Sanchit,
      Thank you for taking out time to read this blog. I think the author has her viewpoint. But, both have their advantages and disadvantages. This is just one side of the coin. Probably, she can take up and write on the other perspective!
      Glad you have put your point forward.
      Come back again to read our blog posts.