Users Prefer Scrolling to Clicking

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in Design | No Comments

Back when we had conversations about the design of eApp, I remember one of Agency’s immovable requirement was that the design should require as little scrolling as possible. In fact, they even pushed for a design that used horizontal scrolling because they were so certain that people disliked scrolling down. All this hand-wringing was misplaced, however, because the idea that users hate scrolling is mostly a myth from the early days of the web.

In study after study, it’s shown that users prefer scrolling to clicking. Links at the bottom of pages are sometimes clicked more frequently than links on the top. This is actually pretty common sense, if you think about it from both use-case and tech limitation perspectives:

  • Clicking is a decision. If you force a user to click on a link to jump to the next page, you’re asking them to decide whether your content is valuable. You’re stopping halfway through your pitch and asking them to buy. It completely breaks up the reading flow, when what you really want is for them to continue to read what you have to say.
  • Despite the increase in internet speeds, web pages don’t load instantaneously. This is particularly true on mobile devices. Some sites still take a while to load, particularly if the site is poorly built, uses a lot of plugins and has a lot of ads. If the first page a user begins reading takes a while to load, and the user sees that he or she is only on page one of three, he or she might simply bail rather than sit through the long delays multiple times.

There are a few articles that discuss just this (see below), but my favorite is:

http://www.iampaddy.com/lifebelow600/

Here are ones that deal more directly with studies and data, however:

http://bokardo.com/archives/scrolling-easier-clicking
http://uxmyths.com/post/654047943/myth-people-dont-scroll