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What is more efficient: scrolling down or opening thumbnails?

Which one would respect the user's patience the most?

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I removed the purely subjective part of your question. – Patrick McElhaney Feb 8 '11 at 19:05
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The thumbnail view is easier to use. It fits more information on screen so I can see everything at a glance, it uses smaller graphics so it is quicker to load.

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I agree but consider that thumbnails require two clicks (one to see the full image and one to come back or go to the next), and to scroll down requires zero clicks. – janoChen Feb 8 '11 at 16:33
Reducing the click count of an interaction is important but it should not be done if it makes something harder to use. For example a few clicks is a smaller excise on the user than never ending scrolling i.e. I am going to get annoyed if I have to scroll down the page for ages before I find something I like. – ArchieVersace Feb 8 '11 at 16:49
How about this: Thumbnails at the top, which are links to "fuller" content further down the page (fragment identifiers) – Jonta Jun 10 '11 at 10:48

I usually prefer scrolling down because I want to see the full-sized images right away. It's also easier to share content that's presented that way, for people like me who use sites like Pinterest. However, if there are lots of images in one page (maybe 40+?) then thumbnails are easier so I can find what I want right away.

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