We have multiple magazine and digital titles that are cross-sold in our site footers. Not to mention corporate messages and awards to convey. Obviously 'load-more' is the right solution but one of our website design teams wants to use auto-load infinite scroll.

As the UX lead I can over-rule the decision, but as we all know, it's not a profession based on opinions, proper UX is based on data.

So with that in mind... before I start throwing my weight around looking like a UX Prima Donna I want to see if anyone had tested this?

I'd be really grateful if you could share your results if you have.

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    The question seems to (1) imply visibility of the footer is a business requirement to increase cross-sell opportunities and increase visibility of corporate message and awards, and (2) infinite scroll reduces or prevents visibility of the footer. Is that correct? This does not seem to be an either/or decision. Take a look at this page. It combines the two options. Also, see a previous question. Nov 14, 2012 at 13:26
  • Thanks Benny, I guess what i am looking for is any A/B test to see which seems to be more successful as a device. Dwell time, bounce rate etc. There is a lot of 'opinion' in the other post, which is okay and does support my original UX thinking, but I'd always look to back my opinion up with some sort of test data. Nov 14, 2012 at 13:47
  • @user1757436 I hate to chase the footer until it stops refreshing to click on one of those links, that is actually much more annoying than clicking the load more button 1000s of times. I mentioned a couple of sites that are putting those links in the sidebar in my answer. Nov 14, 2012 at 16:48
  • A summary of Google's research originally mentioned in this Q&A. Interestingly, Google image search uses infinite scroll while whereas the regular search uses pagination. Nov 14, 2012 at 17:21
  • That's a great little bit of justification for 1 page over pagination, Thanks for finding that. I find it strange that they know that users prefer 1 page but the search results are still paginated (must be something to do with Ads/pageloads etc, we also have that commercial pressure to reload ads as much as possible). It seems Google still think there is a limit to auto-load infinite scroll though. 10 Pages in they present the user with a load more button. I'd love to be able to find out what they based that on (my gut feeling is its down to 'load') Nov 15, 2012 at 10:25

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There are a lot of companies using infinite-scroll, I'm talking about data-driven companies that are fighting for user engagement (Facebook, Twitter, Tubmlr, etc), although most of the media/publishing outlets aren't in that group some newer (redesigned) sites are doing it too, see ReadWrite, BuzzFeed and Quartz.

The problem as I see it is that the traditional web design assumes that there has to be a footer, but if you design with the infinite-scroll in mind some interesting solutions appear: see how ReadWrite cross-promotes the other sites at the end of the sidebar, as well as places the footer links in that section. (This is actually how it should be done, rather than putting the users that want to click the footer to chase it between scrolls)

I don't think that there are any studies, I've done some research previously, but if you think about it, at least in my personal scenario, the >80%-90% of the times I get to the footer is not to click footer links, it's to click the load more button.

So that is a valid study that you could easily do (and tell us ;) ): what percentage of clicks goes to the "Load more" vs the rest, that can give you an idea of how important for your audience could be to save them that click.

  • Thanks Marcos, some really interesting points. I think the load more will win out on this occasion. We have a portfolio of over 40 media sites, 1 global footer and corporate pressures to cross promote. If the board or team ask me to justify infinite scroll I will definitely use the data we get from load-more clicks (great thinking). I wonder if psychologically users need a break from constant loading though, a moment to pause and breath. That second or so where the mental load is less? When i'm using apps with load more I seem to enjoy the session more than if the end is not in sight. Nov 14, 2012 at 17:07
  • @WillCustard You're welcome, you could also test this with a smaller site only, I think the other sites linked from ReadWrite have a traditional layout and they belong to a similar media network. Nov 14, 2012 at 17:19

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