Deciphering the Infinite Scroll Trend in Website Design

February 08, 2014 Web Design

At the start of every new year, web designing pundits sit down to look over the developments in the past year to predict the trends for the coming months. This year, the pundits have forecasted a growing relevance of the infinite scroll trend in website design or the rise of the single long-page layout. This design phenomenon came into prominence last year and from then onwards, has picked up steadily in popularity. But before you feel inspired to adopt it for your website, it is worthwhile to delve into the whys and the wherefores of the trend so that you can appreciate it and use it more meaningfully.

What Prompted the Development of the Infinite Scroll Trend?

The infinite scroll trend is the absolute antithesis of the golden rule of website design that harps on placing the lion’s share of the content above the fold. It seems that designers today have overcome their fear (or hatred) of the scroll and have embraced the single long-page layout. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr had incorporated this design principle long ago. But it was actually the smartphone revolution that compelled websites to embrace this design concept.

Smartphones and tablets have small and narrow interfaces. The infinite scroll design makes browsing convenient on such devices. Besides, most smarpthone users are already accustomed to using this layout courtesy the social networking sites that use these designs. So designers naturally veered towards the vertical content layout.

What Types of Websites Can Carry Off the Infinite Scroll Layout?

The infinite scroll website design is just like any other fashion trend. Fashion should be aped with caution, and you should follow a trend only if you can carry it off with aplomb. The infinite scroll layout is not suited to all kinds of websites nor is it guaranteed that adopting this design will improve the functionality of every site.

This particular layout is most suitable for websites that receive a large mobile footfall and also those with content that is most conveniently read when presented in a single-page format. The latter category includes blog and review sites where the content is presented chronologically backwards and is updated regularly.

The infinite scroll layout is most unsuitable for multimedia-rich websites. The plethora of media on a single page increases loading time and frustrates the browser. You may even end up driving away your visitors with such a layout. Going minimal with your chunks of text, images, and colors when using the infinite scroll design is the best way to make this layout effective. Take for instance the Chleon website. The use of minimal colors, small chunks of text, simple typefaces, and a clean and clutter-free grid design keep the infinite scroll design of this website from turning into a pain point. The Free Range Designs site too makes the optimal use of the infinite scroll layout by steering clear of all flashiness. They have instead visually segregated each section of a page and kept the navigation simple and intuitive.

So now that you know why the infinite scroll design is here to stay, consider it for your next project. But wield it cautiously!

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