Due to the recent sprouting up of the trend of infinite scrolling on big name web apps (new twitter and google image search), I’ve been thinking a lot about this new web trend.
Something doesn’t quite sit right with me with infinite scrolling. My main concern is it breaks the experience of the scrollbar, now it is not a consistent way to navigate the height of a page (because the height is changing). Because of this the browser acts differently than what a user is used to and may confuse some users. Also it feels odd, scrolling to the bottom of a page then the scroll bar jumps up a bit and now the page is longer. It doesn’t feel like how the browser should act. There is a basic article on UI Patterns (the comments have some better insight than the article itself):
Back to twitter and google image, I think the twitter interface might be the only acceptable the place to do it. I think twitter can get away with it because of the nature of their application, because tweets are being added every second. I think google images is not a good place to have it as pagination is very useful for remembering where images are - and a lot of the time people jump back and forth between image pages.
Are there any REAL reasons to use continuous scrolling and break user expectations of the scrollbar? Are there any other examples of it being used in a proper context or in a wrong context?
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