A lot of sites now are implementing infinite scroll, allowing users to paginate by scrolling down the page. These are usually sites that present their data as a “feed” or “stream,” and the data is usually “skim”-worthy (status updates, images, quick and concise information…).
Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Svpply and Facebook all employ this method of pagination and they all have their own unique methods of doing so. Twitter has hotkeys (‘J’ and ‘K’) that allow users to jump from tweet to tweet and loads an additional batch of tweets once you reach a certain threshold. Tumblr and Pinterest dynamically load content while displaying a static call-to-action on the side, “Scroll to top” or an arrow, allowing the user to quickly jump back to the top of the page at any time. Svpply shows the first set of content statically and the user has to explicitly initiate the infinite scroll by pressing “Show All.” Facebook has an interesting and smart interaction. As you scroll down the page, content will continue to populate. However, because the footer is at the bottom of the page, it would be difficult to access if status updates continue to fill the page. If you scroll down the page fast enough, the system assumes you’re trying to get to the footer and stops the continuous loading, an extremely clever solution.
Do you ever find yourself browsing an e-commerce site and clicking on “View All” to see the entire catalogue, rather than clicking through 8 pages of clothes? Google research just published:
User testing has taught us that searchers much prefer the view-all, single-page version of content over a component page containing only a portion of the same information with arbitrary page breaks
This, hopefully, means that Google Search results will soon also implement infinite scroll, although the logo pagination is a classic component to the site.
Thinking about using infinite scroll on your site? UX Movement has a great list of best practices you should follow.
Google Search with Instant Pages
Instant Pages now in the latest build of Chrome
Google Voice Search
Google has started testing a new voice feature on its homepage for Search. After clicking on the microphone icon, the user can say their search term aloud and be directed to results, assuming the system assumes the right words. Though it’s already a good feature for mobile, and I’m assuming this integration is to help accessibility, it’s interesting to see that this feature requires the user to click to initiate search, even though Google Instant has essentially made clicking or pressing the enter key obsolete.
Google Revamps Toolbar
Google’s known for being extremely minimalistic in terms of their homepage experience (logo, search bar, search button). There’s no random hubbub all over the place, no interstitials, visual ads, and not even AdSense. So any kind of tweak to the homepage, which averaged 3.5 billion visits in January 2011, will stand out to constant users. The new toolbar has a subtle and elegant visual treatment as opposed to just plain text. So far the new toolbar works on only the Web, Images, Maps, and Gmail tabs, and only in Chrome. The image below shows some of the dropdown menus in their expanded states.
Google Zeitgeist 2010
2010 has quickly flown by, and we’ll be in 2011 in a few short weeks. Google has just launched Zeitgeist 2010: How the world searched, their aggregation of the World’s most searched terms this year. In addition to their list of the top 10 searches for certain categories, they’ve added an HTML5 visualization to help compare top global events and fastest rising queries.
Google Search Preview
Now when you hover over a search result, or click on the magnifying glass icon beside the hyperlink, you’ll get a preview of the site shown in a tooltip. The preview will show the most relevant parts of the selected site to give the user a better idea of what’s to come upon click-through. In this case, I searched “user experience” and previewed its Wikipedia page. There are also contextual call-outs that highlight some key phrase in the page, but it only seems to be shown on Wikipedia results.