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On the web page I have the list of countries (country selector). When the page is loaded user location is determined and the page is automatically scrolled down to the corresponding country.

Example: http://www.apple.com/choose-your-country/

The list contains ~70 countries. There are no flags.

Can this autoscroll confuse users?

Please share your opinions.

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How many countries does the list contain? –  unor Oct 19 '13 at 21:54
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The list contains ~70 countries –  k4h Oct 19 '13 at 22:28
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@k4h A small panel, appearing on the side, with the detected country flag, and a question would be appropriate. Do not irritate users with scrolling that they haven't initiated. Try to avoid multiple columns in your list. –  Alph.Dev Oct 20 '13 at 18:43
    
@Alph.Dev any idea how to show 70 countries in one column and avoid long scrolling to the bottom? –  k4h Oct 21 '13 at 12:00
    
Scrolling is not a bad option if your list is compact (I'd say 2x screen height) and easy to overview. It's better than hiding countries behind a click. If you really don't want to scroll, there are lots of options. Use search with auto-complete; Group flags by regions under tabs; Use a clickable world map; Popup/dropdown to show full list only if autodetection is wrong/failed (if you say it's 99% chance to be correct, why not show full list only in 1% cases). Be creative! –  Alph.Dev Oct 21 '13 at 12:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I was going to say no, automatically. The W3C rather forbids an action which is not prompted by the user. If the user selects a country and the page "jumps" to the appropriate point on the page it should not be a problem. If the page starts slowly scrolling after determining the users IP address, I could see how this would confuse a user into thinking their mouse is malfunctioning or their computer is on the fritz, so to speak. If you are asking a user to select their country, I would imagine your site is targeting a very large audience. That means your website needs to be very user friendly... to a very large audience.

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Thanks for your answer. I assume, that automatically determining user's country and pointing it to the corresponding country in the list would work in 99% of cases. What do you think would be the best way to display such country list? –  k4h Oct 20 '13 at 7:48
    
I really have to refer you back to the comments posted by @Alph.Dev. You don't want lengthy, ornate coding that might turn around and bite you. He mentioned using a single column for lists of countries, which is what people are used to. If you can be creative and start a new trend in web design, go for it. Just don't reinvent the wheel. –  Thirteen Oct 21 '13 at 16:54

The standard anchor link with an id attribute causes a page to scroll down to a specific point, so the general behavior of jumping to a point in a page is well established.

Having said that, it can be mildly confusing because that case is much less common than a standard link that causes a page to open "normally" at its top.

I think the question is "how useful is it in your particular case?" If it's not clear why the page has scrolled (or jumped) down it might not be useful enough to warrant the potential confusion. Personally I find pages that scroll down a small amount (like 1/4 of a page) to be less useful since the targeted content would be visible if the page didn't scroll. (Of course sometimes you can't predict if the anchor link is close to the top of the page or 5 pages down.) The link I provided works well because the pertinent heading is obvious and right at top so there's not much confusion - I quickly grasp why it jumped to that spot.

I think with fairly minimal testing you can determine whether or not the jump/scroll down behavior for your particular case is useful or not.

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