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This is a reoccurring problem among clients I work with, so wanted to see if anyone else had some insight. Every client I design for tends to be hyper-aware of page length, with the tendency to fret over if the user will get "lost at the bottom of the page" or need help navigating back up. The pages are of average length, and I try to assure them that users will just scroll back up if they need to. I provide multiple CTAs along the page, including top and bottom. But still, the clients want to include "back to top" elements or fixed top navs. Does anyone have ways they combat this? Any data or articles?

Thanks!

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    I don't necessarily agree with everything mentioned on there but this discussion on 'back to top' links raises a bunch of interesting points. – Roger Attrill Jun 26 '17 at 22:23
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In our Compelling Web Content course, we tell designers to determine page length by relevance of information, not by arbitrary measurements. When browsing people are happy to scroll down long pages when the informational units share the same level of granularity and are highly related, such as when searching for a gift within a specific category. This is why on e-commerce sites we observe people click See All to view all products at once when given the choice.

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/infinite-scrolling/

As long as all of the information on a page belongs on that page, then the length should not be an issue. Problems arise when you start to shove a bunch of different content onto one page, that is when your users tend to get "lost".

  • Thank you! I will use this to combat some of these concerns. – Anna Platano Smith Jun 26 '17 at 19:30
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  • It sounds like clients now understand that "People don't scroll" is a myth yet, they still believe that the focus should be put on the top page. Try to reassure them that spending most of the time above the fold is a normal behaviour.
  • Remind them that any additional button or links will make things less easy and above all will make the CTAs less effective.
  • Maybe their concerns about a "back to top" action is coming from another deeper issue. Try to find out what could it be.
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I think this article from Nielsen Norman Group, offers complex guidelines for the back-to-top button and answer to your question:

  • Use a Back to Top button for pages that are longer than 4 screens. For relatively short page lengths, Back to Top links are overkill — people can simply scroll back without excessive effort. No need to clutter the interface if you can simply use the scrollbar or your finger to quickly navigate to the top.

  • Have one sticky Back to Top link per page instead of including multiple links in every section of the page. (This latter pattern used to be popular on pages with anchor links.) In usability studies, we observe people ignoring these repetitive links because they are so predictable.

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