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Scroll or Click – that Remains the Question
22nd October, 2017

To Scroll or Click has been a fundamental question of website design since we first started, with the advent of Mobiles and smaller screens and the time it takes for a page to load – the assumption in all recent usability tests has been to all for Scrolling over Clicks.

The ideal situation is to have all pertinent information on a single screen for the user no scrolling or clicking… just access to the information they need.  But there is an issue at stake here, you need to design for the user.  And that is the mistake a lot of designers make, especially at the moment, and I am not sure I know the reason why that is.  Other than with the sheer variety of screen sizes out there it is very difficult to cater for all users – nigh on impossible in fact.

However, the question isn’t about Scrolling or Clicking, it should be more about what is the intended purpose of a particular web page and how to make that particular web page better.  Note I said web page and not a website.  Far too often Designers create a website and think the ‘theme’ or ‘design’ has to follow through across the whole website.

So, I’ll offer some examples.

  1. Internet Banking – I recently noted that when I want to sign into my bank I had to start scrolling to see all the ‘passwords’ I needed and before I could click the submit button.  Only a few days ago, everything fitted onto my laptop screen quite happily, now the website has been ‘mobilised’, it’s longer, more spaced out for those fingers and fits with their brand more.  Result, I have to scroll more to see what information and actions I need to do. – Fail
  2. WordPress Admin – it’s probably due a revamp, and they will probably ‘mobilise’ it as well, but right now it works… Everything from the left-hand menu to the Publish button on the right is in range on my screen at all times.  But then it may be we are still a way from sitting down and writing these sorts of articles on a mobile. – Pass
  3. Magento Admin – hailed as a revolution in UX making it easier than ever to input information and get around.  Frankly shocking, it seems nothing can be done without waiting for Magento’s icons to stop spinning and for things to load.  But the real problem is the layout and all the white wasted space – Fail

The key really is to decide what an individual page is going to be used for.  Is it the homepage of a website or a category page – where you want people to be impressed and to facilitate a good visual experience.

Or is it a contact or product page – where we want people to carry out specific actions, call a number, buy a product.  These pages need the key information at the top, or if thinking mobile they need to scroll with the user so that when the user makes the decision to do the desired action – the information is right there.

Finally, the same rules apply to Admin Pages, these required complex, but understood routines and actions, people need to get things done.  In this case everything needs to be avoidable, the least scrolling and the least clicking for any screen – should be the key aim of the page.

So, back to the original question – to Scroll or to Click, actually it is the wrong question, the question should be to create websites with enough flexibility to allow people (users) to do what they need to do with as little scrolling or clicking as they can get away with.