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I am creating a website that I want to have an infinite loading system on the home page. This page contains a tiled list that will fill up the page from left to right, and also most likely from top to bottom (and further).

I have researched infinite scrolling, and found two ways to do it: automatic scrolling, and 'Load More' button scrolling.

Which one should I use for the page design I said above? Should I use an automatic scroll mechanism (like this one), or a button infinite scroll mechanism (where you press a 'Load More' button to load the rest of the page)?

If there is no specific one that I should use, which one do people actually prefer?

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marked as duplicate by Benny Skogberg, Matt Obee, JonW Apr 29 '13 at 12:55

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4 Answers 4

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The general rule is that if you can achieve the same result with less user interaction, you should do it.

Infinite scroll is one of the clearest ways of handling this. When someone has scrolled to the bottom (or near the bottom) of the screen, it's a fair bet that their next action would be to load more or go to the next page. So is you load more automatically, the only down side would be a little bit more bandwidth use if they weren't going to scroll anyway. That is a minimal downside to allow your customers to continue reading and focus on the content and not the navigation of that content.

If you do this, you really need to make sure that the transition is smooth. That usually means loading new content before the user has scrolled right to the bottom. Twitter does a good job of this.

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If your site is also to be viewed on mobile devices, you should use "Load More", in order to allow the user whether he/she would like to spend more of his data plan's bandwith.

Also, this depends on the type of data you will present.

  • For casual data, and on desktop/laptop devices, auto-scroll is ok.
  • For business data, always use "Load more", so the user knows where the data continues..
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I learned (by experience on e-commerce website) that Infinite Scrolling with an automatic behavior is a very efficient way to major the number of item viewed by visitors (and time/visit). But you have to be very clever with the 'previous' navigation fonction to recover the exact position of your visitors when they want to return on their paths.

'Load more' is kind of smooth transition between pagination and auto infinite scroll. So it's about the audience of your website, in many case the old fashioned pagination could make feel users more confortable and the "load more" will be less disruptive.

Infinite scroll is powerfull but it also could be very techy to integrate it correctly in your website. As it will affect the navigation, be very careful with that.

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It depends on the performance you can achieve. If you can load the next batch quickly then automatically doing so might be best. If you try to auto load and it's not fast there will be a herky-jerky effect that is unpleasant.

Twitter auto-loads and it does it fast. http://fastcodesign.com also autoloads and at times isn't very fast and is very irritating when it locks up when you scroll to the load-more point (note: fastcodesign.com has improved this lately, it looks like they've been optimizing it, but a year ago it was very painful).

Compare the weight of the articles on those 2 sites: twitter has very light articles, fastcodesign has very graphically heavy articles. Twitter is easier to auto-load quickly while fastcodesign is not, takes more tuning and optimization (and is still problematic).

But before you decide for sure to use infinite scroll I'd do some more research and search on "infinite scroll pros cons". I know Yahoo has recently adopted it but it still has issues with bookmarking and SEO.

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