When creating or redesigning a website, you will eventually be faced with an important decision: are we going for paginated or infinite scroll? No matter what industry you’re in, deciding how users will navigate your content is extremely important – not only for usability, but also for engagement and conversion. There are pros and cons to both methods that need to be taken into consideration in order to understand which one suits your website and goals. Before we identify them, let’s define the two types first.
Pagination is the practice of segmenting large amounts of content onto multiple pages. Take Amazon as an example; when the number of products in a certain category (like electronics) grows, scrolling indefinitely can become tiresome. Listing products on multiple pages, like the below, makes it easier to go through them all.
The biggest value of this approach is that it is conversion oriented. Pagination helps users take control of the site; they understand the structure, they know how much scrolling or clicking is needed until the end of the category and can easily locate a desired product.
It works better in instances where the content is limited, making pages load faster. As a result, Google will be able to crawl your site much faster, thus improving indexing and visibility.
As users have more control of their navigation and can find products faster, there is a potential for them to spend less time on the site. Also, this tends to affect the experience on mobile, since pagination is all about clicks and users don’t like to tap on this medium.
Infinite scrolling is a web-design technique that loads content continuously as the user scrolls down the page. It is called infinite because it never ends; your Facebook newsfeed is the best example of this.
Infinite scroll loads content as users’ navigate down the page without having to click or wait for anything because it loads automatically. This helps users travel through visuals without any effort, made to increase engagement on the site. As well, infinite scroll boosts content discovery as users keep navigating without stopping throughout the site. This technique works better on mobile where it’s much easier to scroll than click on tiny little buttons.
Not every business can use infinite scroll for navigation on their website. For example, if your business is goal oriented, then infinite scroll will not help. It doesn’t let users take control of the navigation, which could lead them to scroll without clicking and converting. Also, it affects user experience as it increases the load speed, which in turn can affect your Google rankings. If implemented incorrectly, Google won’t be able to crawl the content of the site, since it needs to load an infinite amount of content all at once.
SO, WHICH ONE IS BETTER?
The answer to this question really depends on you. Before choosing what type of navigation you’ll implement on your platform, identify your business goals and your platform’s purpose; are you providing information or selling something? Do you care about user engagement or conversions? The answer to these questions will help you make the right decision for your site. To learn more about best practice for your website, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.