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Should the scroll position be maintained when the page is reloaded?

Is it a good user experience for users?

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  • depends on the webpage I would say. If relevant info changes at the top, it should be within focus. If the only probable actions with the page after the refresh is where the user was, then the page position should be maintained. Apr 15, 2014 at 16:02
  • Usually yes, sometimes no hard to answer if we don't know what you are using it for
    – Igor-G
    Apr 15, 2014 at 16:21
  • @Igor-G I've listed a YES in my Answer below. What would be the case to NOT keep the scroll position on refresh?
    – Pdxd
    Apr 15, 2014 at 18:41
  • Please clarify 'reload'. Some answers suggest a page refresh; programmatically reload happens when the user has clicked something that loads the same page, just with different POST/GET vars. Would also help to know if you have any specific examples of what would trigger such page reload.
    – Izhaki
    Apr 16, 2014 at 0:35

2 Answers 2

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First let's discuss the reasons for this refresh. It can be caused by:

  1. A hard refresh from the user clicking on the browser refresh button or keyboard shortcut
  2. User submitting a form with the screen switching to the confirmation message
  3. Scripts that require the page to be refreshed for the data to be regenerated

There might definitely be many outlying reasons but for all of the above I'd say YES.

Keep the scroll position where it is. Why?

  • This helps to keep the user oriented in the page flow.
  • This prevents users from losing their place when reading long pieces of content.
  • If you have an error or confirmation message you'd like to have show up dynamically, you'll want to keep it exactly where it is
  • If you have a lot of dynamically changing content on the page that requires constant auto-refreshing, you don't want to frustrate the user. (Though it is always better practice to have the refresh localized in this case)

Unfortunately my Google-Fu was not strong enough to find any sources to backup my statement besides HOW to implement this so I admit it is mostly my own opinion.

On a side note: When in Chrome, and you click a link below the fold, then go Back, the browser also retains the scroll position.

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On most, not to say all of the websites, I think that it would be better to restore completely it's state before being reloaded !
Even more with the websites where you need to scroll a lot, here is my personal experience : sometimes, I am on Twitter or Tumblr and I encounter a bug, and it just makes me amazingly angry to know that I'll lose sometimes dozens of minutes of scrolling when the page will re-load !

By the way, I think that if your users need to scroll a lot on your website and if you want to maintain the position of the scroll, than it might be a good thing to create something to let your users easily go back to the top when they want to, because by maintaining the scroll, you are removing one of the most obvious way they can do that.

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