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.