I have a search page in development where you can't see the results because they fall below the fold. We've implemented auto-scroll as a solution. I think it's dizzying; is this a viable solution or is it not user-friendly?
First thing first: I don't know the details, but I think you should try something in which the results are not below the fold. As you can see, it only brings trouble.
As for auto-scrolling, you'd be doing something that may confuse users since the page would start to have an unexpected behavior all of the sudden. For example, in your particular case most users may wonder what is wrong with their mouse, or what did they touch.
This being said, let me play devil's advocate and suggest this: If you're going to do this, try doing a smooth transition, maybe even display a scrim with the word "searching" or similar, and finally add a title on top such as
"Your search results for [search string]".
Another option would be to do what most search engines do: use a main splash page, then show results on a different page, with a search box on top.
This way, you'd be using a known pattern, and it will be very clear for users.
Disclaimer: Of course you'd need to test these options, like with anything UX
I don't understand why you don't have a separate page for search results.
After you display the items of the search, scrolling as your prime method of exploring the results can be an efficient way to browse the information, without having to wait for pages to preload.
If a lot of items is displayed, it is because the search is not very specific, so he will need to see all the items in the page.
To limit the number of results, you can use auto-completed search suggestions (as the user enters a query, the search suggestions shift to auto-completion).
Pagination, on the other hand, is a safe option.
Anyway, I think scroll in search results page, even with a lot of items, is an acceptable pattern, but auto scroll make no sense to me.
Do you remember how it feels when somebody scrolls a window while you are reading it? You feel dizzy. But, you feel ok when you are the one doing the scrolling. It is because you can't follow the feedback from somebody else's fingers.
Do you remember how you feel when you are trying to read the name of an actor, on the screen, and while you were halfway through, the name disappears?
The autoscrolling may turn out to be stylish if you do it very smoothly, slowly, without jerks, on a high resolution screen (that is present on high end mobiles). You need to move at just enough speed so as not to cause "blur", and do it without visual defects/patterns.
You better start the autoscroll only after enough idle time (like 5 to 10 seconds). If you start scrolling immediately, the user will end up losing the first result of the search which is at the top of the page (and which happens to be the best match for the search).
It adds to development/testing time to make it work on variety of devices.