Do people use back to top links?
It seems like this technique has fallen out of style. Are there good reasons not to provide these kinds of links? Please provide references.
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Reason 1: Your site will look like it's not been touched since 1996.
Reason 2: It will mean that your pages are far too long, if users can't just scroll to the top or bottom.
And Reason 3:
Jakob's answer: Yes, "return to top" can be avoided, because the exact same functionality is provided by simply dragging the scrollbar to the top of the page. It's almost always better to rely on a single, generic interaction technique so that users don't have to ponder the choice between two alternate interaction techniques for the same goal. The time it takes to make the decision is usually more than the time saved by the shortcut. (The exception would be for extremely long pages that would take forever to scroll, but such pages should be avoided in the first place.)
This is just my opinion, not based on any hard data, but I think the reason why we don't see Go To Top links anymore is because the footer has broadened it's scope and is not just a place for copyright information, more over a new well of content, where a full navigation, such as the one usually found at the top of page, can reside.
I've always found these annoying and in my experience users never used them. The end/home and pg up/down keys largely provide this functionality from the comfort and speed of the keyboard. Less directly but more accessibly the scroll wheel and scroll bar provide more accurate and more universal functionality without cluttering your page at all.
The one exception I've found is mobile sites, where I don't want to scroll all the way up, but often the problem there is lack of navigation; I scroll all the way to the bottom to be greeted with no nav bar. Good mobile sites often have a nav bar at both top and bottom.