Traditionally I have created sites where the images all download at once, but you often see sites where the images only download once they are scrolled to and in view in the screen. I presumed this was solely increase download speed. In my experience it makes very little difference in actual download speed, as the site downloads the images download asynchronous in order of the page.

I am not referring to pagination downloading on scroll (infinite scrolling), simply images downloading when they are in view.

But what about actual user experience? Do you think it's a better for visitors to see the images download, as perhaps it makes the page feel more dynamic or alive for them, in that although the page is downloaded, its still active to them. Rather than just a page that has downloaded fully and is essentially dead?

3 Answers 3


In my opinion, I think whats best is, you have a pre-loaded animated lite GIF or SVG image to express fast loading of the image. This goes a long way to making the user not even think about the fact that the images have not loaded yet, but that they will soon appear.

And on your end also increases the load time of your website.


enter image description here

  • Yes, actually thats a good point, they do look good, this is more what i mean on the "pagination" kind of loading, i.e. its loading entire content on scroll, not just images.
    – Source
    Aug 14, 2018 at 10:06
  • Whether or not the images download on view or before viewing is your choice and doesn't affect user experience, however where user experience is affected is, if when on view the images are taking longer than say 2.5 - 4 sec to load and there's no preloader to indicate something is gonna appear soon. That's why preloaders like the sample I attached are useful. Aug 14, 2018 at 10:27

If you mean infinit scrolling there are some usability issues, depending on the kind of content.

If content is loaded on scrolling the user has no clue how much content will follow or how far she can scroll down. In certain sites this is no problem, since the user expects endless content (e.g. pinterest)

If an end is expected, loading all content gives the user a clue how much content can be expected (scrollbar).

Downloadspeed could be an issue (bad WiFi, slow mobile network etc.). If so, instead of infinit scolling you could use a "load next 100 items" CTA. In this case the user has a scrolling experience without the drawback mentioned above.

Another thing is the animation of images comint into the viewport. This is used to give a more dynamic feel of the site, but does not necessarily mean, the images are loaded when scrolling.


It depends on the purpose of the page in my opinion. If the main method of exploring the data is through scrolling then it should theoretically enhance user engagement while definitely enhancing loading speed. Also thinking about mobile users where the loading speeds could be ever longer as they are not always on wi-fi. If you decide to go with downloading everything at the same time you can use a script for lazy-loading as the site loads all the images at the same time but shows them one after each other as they load.

In the end it all falls down to what kind of page are you actually making and how much of content is going to be displayed.

You should also consider if pagination is not a better way to go as it leads to more conversions and gives a better sense of control as well as it's easier for user's to go back and find what they liked etc... There are limited options for breadcrumbs while showing the whole content in one page.

If you specify the kind of site you are making, I should be able to argue in more detail.

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