Scrolling Redeemed

Page scrolling was once shunned — a design feature to be avoided because the physical act of moving a web page with a mouse disturbed users’ “cognitive flow” (otherwise known as “patience”). But that was before mobile. Now, due to the predominance of small screens that provide tiny portions of page content at a time, users have no choice but to scroll through pages in order to read or find something. This would be bad, except for the fact that mobile screens can be scrolled much faster using a finger than a mouse on a computer. The overall user experience is actually better since with little effort a whole page can be browsed in a few seconds.

Now that scrolling is being embraced, best practices have arisen to support scrolling in design. In fact, designing for scrolling opens up new possibilities for creating engaging websites:

… once you start approaching the long scroll as a canvas for illustrating a beginning, middle, and end (through graphics, animations, icons, etc.), then you start to see it’s film-like power in capturing user attention.

The following is an update that describes current thinking about scrolling, and provides some tips on how to incorporate scrolling successfully in modern website design.

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