Friday, July 21, 2006

No more "more" pages?

Does "infinite scrolling" increase usability? Or hinder it?...

"Atul Varma of Humanized thinks we’ve got a pagination problem. He comments on the “previous 1 2 3 4 next” paradigm seen at Google and elsewhere:

There’s no semantic meaning in these numbers; there’s no telling what’s lurking behind a representing numeral’s bland exterior. If I find something good on the fourth page, I’ll be unlikely to find it again without aimlessly clicking on random number after random number. Normally, if I don’t find what I want on the first page, I’ll usually just give up…

The problem is that every time a user is required to click to the next page, they are pulled from the world of content to the world of navigation: they are no longer thinking about what they are reading, but about about how to get more to read. Because it breaks their train of thought and forces them to stop reading, it gives them the opportunity to leave the site. And a lot of the time, they do.
In order to demonstrate an alternative, Humanized created a news aggregator with a feature called Humanized History. When you get near the bottom of a page it automatically adds more content. It’s like an endless page. The point? “Don’t force the user to ask for more content: just give it to them.”   (Continued via signal vs. noise)       [Usability Resources]

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