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I noticed that facebook.com, twitter.com, and pinterest.com populate their respective feeds automatically. youtube.com has a button.

If you scroll down...the feed ( or the page have you ) just keeps populating as you scroll.

I find this strange and for the app I'm building would prefer their to be a button that is pressed.

I'm wondering if this type of behavior driven responsiveness is a better choice.

Is this an opinion based decision or is there some guiding UX design that would determine the automatic way is better?

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I'd like to think that Facebook and Twitter want you on there as much as possible. Setting automatic scroll is to make the user not realize how much time they have spent on it and so they'll remain on their website. But having said that, if your device don't have a big enough memory, loading more post automatically can lead to the site/app slowing down, so in this case, having a button to the next page would help. What is your app for and who will use it? –  dayuloli Jun 21 '13 at 21:05
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Are you referring to Infinite Scrolling? - ux.stackexchange.com/questions/1850/… –  JonW Jun 21 '13 at 21:13
    
@day, it is for saving favorites ... the feed will just show which favorites have been saved over time ... –  pure_code Jun 21 '13 at 21:59
    
noticed youtube does have a button ... maybe b.c. they have pretty horrible comments compared to the other 3 sites I mentioned. –  pure_code Jun 21 '13 at 23:14
    
Honestly I don't like a lot of those Infinite Scrolling sites, because the scrolling's based on bandwidth and assumptions the user will be reading everything they see. If I'm digging for something, I'll get to the bottom and have to wait for more to come up. I prefer paging; yes I'm still waiting, but at least you're not giving me the impression that I shouldn't be seeing this "loading more items" footer. –  KeithS Jun 26 '13 at 23:12
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1 Answer

It's becoming pretty standard behavior to employ lazy loading, as you noted. Speed and responsiveness are important to the user experience. Any design decision is based on the tradeoffs between the different choices.

In these examples, the user's behavior dictates when additional content is loaded, but the initial load is very fast. The screen says "here's my content" and when the user responds by scrolling, they are saying "Great, show me more." The system responds by loading additional content. It's like adding social skills to the web app. It's waiting for cues from the user that more information is welcome.

If this design decision means more people will see featured content, that could be worth $$ to advertisers. This strategy can keep people on your site when they might otherwise not wait for the page to load and might abandon the site.

You mentioned you wanted a button press to load the additional content. I don't see any advantages to doing it this way, when scrolling is expected behavior and the user will likely scroll anyway. The only reason I can see for using a button to initiate this behavior is if you have to obtain the user's consent to show the information.

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+1 Your last sentence is exactly why I want a button. I have a dislike for unsolicited loading of extra data. Infinite scrolling is "advertised" as better UX because the user doesn't need to click, but I see it as a form of a dark pattern with the sole purpose of keeping you on site / in app longer. –  Marjan Venema Jun 22 '13 at 10:01
    
So, better from whose perspective, then? Point taken. –  LindaBrammer Jun 23 '13 at 0:38
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