Scroll vs. Click

Should your website invite users to click to read more or provide that content via a scroll on one page? Knowing whether your web pages are too long comes down to many factors:

· Type of content/products/services
· Quality of content on the page
· Website design
· Content hierarchy

Let’s evaluate each of these factors in more depth so you can decide whether it’s time to revamp your existing website structure.

Type of Content/Products/Services

Some products or services are far more complex than others. Think about the difference between selling a pair of shoes versus a car. On a product page for a pair of shoes, you’ll want to talk about arch support, materials, warranty, and long-term wear.

But for a vehicle, you have so many more factors. You’ll need in-depth details on the vehicle’s:

· Interior
· Exterior
· Under the hood
· Stats, such as MPG

So should you have a separate page for each of these detail types? Or would it make more sense for your audience to scroll through all those details? Offering options can assist your customers with navigating your website however it works best for them.

For example, you can make it so that as they scroll down the page they learn about different aspects of the vehicle, but if they want to skip ahead, they can click down to the bottom to learn about the vehicle’s MPG.

The more complex your product, service or content, the more it lends itself to scrolling. Going back to the shoe example, if a user has to scroll down through dozens of suggested similar shoe styles to get to the buy now button or the product information, the scroll isn’t worth it and could lead to a website visitor bounce because the scroll isn’t worth it for what the customer arrived at the website to learn about or accomplish.

Quality of Content on the Page

You should always say more with less. So don’t make your content long just to make your product or service seem more important.

Start with simple, clear content. Make sure you’re offering value to your customer and ensure you’re giving customers what you promised with your page title and meta description or ad content that led them to your website. Failing to live up to your promises will mean a bounce in the short term but also lower SEO rankings in the long term because search engines will learn that you don’t provide answers to customer queries.

Once you feel good about the content you have, think about how you can break it up visually. Large, bulky paragraphs of text overwhelm readers. You want your content to follow a logical order in short, clear statements. Use elementary language with short sentences and short paragraphs to make the content easy for the reader to consume.

Website Design

With high-quality website design, you don’t have to worry as much about the length of the page. Two major trends in website design for 2022 include infinite scrolling and parallax scrolling.

Infinite scrolling helps users explore content without clicking. At the bottom of a section of content, continuing to scroll will bring up the next piece of content automatically. This is a popular trend in content-focused websites, such as news sites or blogs.

Social media sites have always used infinite scrolling where you’ll simply see more content if you keep scrolling to keep users engaged and reading. Now, this trend applies to websites.

But with infinite scrolling, you need to ensure your website design is set up properly to be search engine friendly. Each subpage still needs its own URL and you can’t have overlapping content. Plus, you don’t want to have slow page load speeds just to enable infinite scrolling. So you must engage this practice with careful consideration.

Parallax scrolling is nothing new but it has grown in popularity over the last several years. Moving various parts of the website at different speeds can create depth in your website design. And the more depth you create, the more engaged your website viewer can be, which encourages continued scrolling.

Parallax scrolling is especially ideal for interactive storytelling. It can help in making elements slowly appear on the page to engage the visitor.

Content Hierarchy

It doesn’t really matter how long your content is. If the top of the page doesn’t engage your audience, they won’t continue scrolling or clicking.

Before you worry about how long your website pages are, consider whether your content follows a logical hierarchy to encourage users to proceed down the page.

In the early days of websites, people referred to content that required a scroll as content below the fold. It comes from newspaper days when designers had to think about what would motivate readers to open the newspaper to keep reading, proving that the question of how much content is too much content is an age-old question.

The content at the top of the page has to have a good hook and encourage the user to engage if you want them to scroll or click. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re asking them to take one action or the other. What matters is that you’re engaging them to ensure they continue reading.

Just like in the newspaper days, you need to start with the most important information and go to the least important information as the user scrolls. This ensures they learn the most important information first so that if they do bounce, you’ve presented the most important data to keep them thinking and considering you.

The better the content, the more likely they’ll be to scroll or click to learn more.

Visuals

How visually engaging your webpages are will determine whether your user stays engaged to continue scrolling. Visuals will also help break up the monotony of reading content to help the user learn about your company without facing fatigue.

But when including visuals, you also have to consider how they might impact load speeds. Hosting visuals on a cloud service can help you ensure speedy load times while also engaging your website visitors.

So Will My Users Scroll to View My Content?

When your content adds value for the customer and is displayed in a clear, simple and concise manner, the majority of customers will scroll to view it. Chartbeat analyzed more than 2 billion website visits. It found that 66 percent of all attention on a webpage is below the fold or content that requires scrolling to view.

So yes, website visitors will scroll to view your content if you’re providing value. Your content can require dozens of scrolls from your reader if it’s good quality and worth reading.

The question is less about whether your webpage is too long and more about whether it is high-quality content worthy of a scroll or a click.

At Design Positive, we help brands engage website visitors with meaningful content and attractive website design while doing it all in an access-to-all approach.

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Design Positive

Design Positive

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Design Positive is a strategic branding and accessibility agency.