Since the early days of the Internet, there has been confusion about whether or not business websites should scroll. To this day, many people still believe that there is a significant dropoff in readership anytime a website puts content “below the fold”, or where the user has to scroll down to see it. However, as we’ll see in this post, this is a very outdated myth that may have been true at one time, but is certainly no longer true today. Here is why modern web design doesn’t worry about requiring visitors to scroll.
Where the Myth Comes From?
The myth that people don’t scroll and that content needs to be “above the fold” is rooted in the early days of the Internet when users were still getting accustomed to the concept of navigating a website. However, it has now been over twenty years since widespread use of the Internet began, so it’s safe to say that a significant proportion of the global population today is made up of sophisticated web users.
This concept is backed up by the statistics on Internet usage: an article from the business section of Time found that on an average media web page, 66% of all user attention is devoted to content below the fold. Clearly, the idea that today’s web users find it difficult or confusing to scroll is false.
Why People Scroll?
Today, when mobile devices account for a significant proportion of all Internet usage, scrolling is unavoidable. In fact, with so many different sizes of screen out there, all of which render the same web page differently, it’s unrealistic to keep content visible and “above the fold” since that line varies from device to device. Even if a web page states key points as succinctly as possible and uses a responsive design specifically with mobile devices in mind, it’s highly unlikely that any website could display all the information it needs to display on one screen.
In addition to this, most Internet users today are very comfortable with the concept of scrolling, as many of the top websites in world today, like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, are designed using infinite scrolling. The key is to think about providing quality content that will get users interested enough to scroll. If the content that appears at the top of the screen seems irrelevant or low quality, the reader is likely to drop off without scrolling. This is usually a content issue and not a web design issue.
What About Infinite Scrolling?
In general, infinite scrolling isn’t a good idea for business websites. It can work well for social media networks and other websites that have a constantly replenished supply of relevant content to display to readers. However, you will most likely want your business website to display specific information about your business, and then make that information easy for potential customers to find. Infinite scrolling makes it impossible for users to search for the information that interests them, or to skip over the information that doesn’t.