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I'm making a website. I need to put in social media tools - facebook 'like' button and so on. It's been suggested to me that I use a floating, fixed position header or footer for this purpose.

Somehow I can't find an example on a real, live website to give, but I'm sure you've seen them before - a fixed header or footer that keeps its position on the screen as you scroll up or down the page. Perhaps they are minimizable.

Personally, I find these things infuriating, and I use noscript, addblock etc to remove them from the pages I visit. However, I am something of an cantankerous nerd, and my opinions on things like this do not always reflect the opinions of the wider population.

Are floating footers considered good user interface design for modern, dynamic websites, and are they popular with the general public?

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floating footer designed to seamlessly combine with a regular footer: – Erics Nov 1 '11 at 23:00
floating footer which acts as an expanding toolbar: – Erics Nov 1 '11 at 23:01
I asked a similar question here a while back. The site I referenced has stopped doing the popup sharing tool since then though. – JonW Nov 2 '11 at 9:07
The linked page lead me to a scam as of 03/28/2016. If it was your own website you should correct that. – fhlamarche Mar 28 at 14:56
@fhlamarche Not my own website. I have removed the link. – Oliver Mar 29 at 10:02
up vote 5 down vote accepted

They are good as long as they are done well and unobtrusively. Headers and footers that follow you seconds after you have scrolled are bad, but if they simply stay in place, are small, and do not interrupt your viewing, they are perfectly OK.

With ideas like infinite scrolling, and hogher download speeds meaning pages like Amazon which are hugely long, I think they are becoming more relevant. The issue is, I think, doing them well and cleanly - your example page does it well, broadly speaking. If they are done badly, like so many tricks, they look tacky.

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That depends on what is your primary objective. If you believe that the stuff on header and footer is very important that should always be visible to your user versus the content that your user need to view. And the space that content would acquire be compromised with ever displaying header and footer.

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Will your audience be accessing the same design from mobile devices?

I'm not aware of any studies that indicate that people are more likely to click links if they're in a 'stuck' header or footer.

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