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Why its OK to scroll on a web page

Friday, August 09, 2013 | Eva Pettifor |

Why its OK to scroll on a web page

On a number of occasions, I have had clients request that their home page design is condensed to the screen so the user does not have to scroll, I have summarised below why this is not necessary.

While it's a good idea to have the most important information towards the top of the screen, it is not necessary to have ALL of your content visible on the screen without the need for vertical scrolling.

Newspapers tend to put their main attention getting headling and story 'above the fold' which is where this idea originally came from, but websites are not printed newspapers and website usability has changed a lot since the early days of designing websites.

For a number of years now it has been perfectly good practice to make your home page (or any other page on your website) a lot longer than the height of a computer screen.

  • Scrolling is a positive thing and encourages your visitors to explore your web page further, most people expect to scroll as their hand is already on the mouse, usability eye tracking tests have proven this theory
  • Having more information rich text content, particularly on your home page, is better for search engines
  • It only takes a second to scroll down, but takes a lot longer to click on a link to a separate page which will annoy your visitors
  • Computer screens come in all sizes and resolutions so what may look perfect on your screen will look different on someone else's anyway... (People are now using a variety of devices including small notepads, large desktop PC's, projector screens, phones and more which makes it impossible for all content to appear the same way for every one...)
  • Some white space in your design is more pleasing to the eye than trying to squash everything in a small space (if its too hard to read, you will lose your visitor's attention)

I've also listed a couple of supporting articles below that explains the old fashioned idea that web pages should appear on the screen without the need for scrolling.


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Copyright Eva Pettifor, Darwin Web Design. Please seek my permission prior to reproducing this article in any way but feel free to link directly to this page if you wish to use this content - thanks!

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