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I am considering to use infinite scrolling on a website. I'm a bit confused because this website has some side menus.

Explanation picture : enter image description here

Only the main content panel (2) uses infinite scrolling. The two topbars never move, even if user scroll up or down. Sides menus should be scrollable (because they can be more longer than the screen size)

Is infinite scrolling to browse main content panel is accurate ?

It certainly works for some websites (Google Images, Pinterest...), but these ones have only 1 or 2 level of navigation using horizontal menus and have no side menus at all. If someone has some example of website using infinite scrolling with sides menus, I take its !

In my case, I'm afraid to get a bad design by implementing this solution. If a users scroll when s/he focuses a side menu (1), should the entire page scrolls down, or only this menu.. Or all the menus but not the main content ?

What do you think about this ? Is infinite scrolling with side menus a bad design idea ?

  • Using infinite scroll in the first place is the bad design choice. – CodesInChaos Mar 25 '14 at 12:16
  • What's the reason you wanted to implement infinite scrolling if you don't mind me asking? – nuwa Mar 25 '14 at 12:57
  • It looks like you're trying to fix an information architecture problem by a overly complex interface. Think more about using the content AS navigation. – Stewart Dean Mar 25 '14 at 14:00
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Infinite scrolling is useful when displaying bite size information users can grasp at a glance and in cases where users won't re-visit a certain point to get some information they've seen.

Among the examples you mentioned another great example is Mashable

Here they have implemented infinite scrolling for all 3 panels.

First decide whether infinite scrolling is the best option to display the information your site is giving out. Understand what information your users are seeking from your site.

Also is the main content depending on the side menus? (Ex: You click on a link from the side menu and the content loads to the main content area?) If it's not you can easily follow Mashable. If it is it's going to be a little complicated and you might want to consider changing how you present your information.

  • Yes, the main content depends on side menu. Of course you (and the others) are right to cast doubt about the choice of using infinite scrolling. In the thought to adopt or not this solution, I wanted also to evaluate usability of infinite scrolling in our multi menus on column layout. – Domz Mar 26 '14 at 10:17
  • @Domz We have implemented an app where 3 panels have infinite scrolling. In this case the right hand panel, Panel(3) depended on the middle panel, Panel(2) and Panel(2) depended on the selection you made in the left panel, Panel(1). So far we've only tested this within a small group and we did not come across any usability issues yet. – nuwa Mar 26 '14 at 10:28
  • However your scenario is quite different from ours. Why do you have two Side menus on the left and right? is it possible to combine it into one? So in a 2 column view we can leave it on the left while the content loads on the 2nd column. Also important is, are there links in your side menus your users will want to revisit? If that's the case, infinite scrolling is a no. – nuwa Mar 26 '14 at 10:33
  • 2 Sides menus is the "worst" case if our users want to display a lot of information. In the final product, we may actually have 1 column only. The side menu is a navigation menu. Our users could use them a lot. I assume in your case that your side menu scroll at with all the page. Do you try to keep it fixed while only the main content is scrolled ? – Domz Mar 26 '14 at 10:42
  • @Domz No. Only the panel which the mouse hovers over will be scroll-able. In your case, if you have implemented infinite scrolling in one menu, you don't have to break it into another if the reason is "to present a lot of information". An advantage of infinite scrolling is to display a lot of information within a fixed panel. – nuwa Mar 26 '14 at 11:09
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Be cautious in this case because users might want to revisit a menu entry they have previously found. If this means scrolling for 2 minutes each time to find the menu, it will be irritating! In that scenario, user should be able to bookmark the item, save it as a "user saved item" or similar...

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