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I've been asked by a client to add a "Show More" button after a pre-defined height on all pages on the users website.

It's naturally quite a difficult task to achieve because I have questions such as "what is a pre-defined height" (pixels/content??) but also we aren't just talking about plain text content here... It's going to be rich in HTML and there is going to be no way to create a positive experience for the actual end-users and eyeballs of his website.

Can you please help me explain why this would be a bad idea so that I can support my reasoning for suggesting they rethink this "Show More" with more substance...

  • 6
    You ask them "what is the measurable business benefit to doing this?" – JonW Jan 15 '15 at 10:40
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    It's probably not that hard to implement, you can just define a visible div with overflow: hidden and set an absolute height by a JavaScript function triggered by the link. But as somebody who's been annoyed by countless "show more"s: please don't do it. – Rumi P. Jan 15 '15 at 12:09
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Pretty much what JonW said. Ask them what problem they feel this is solving. Clients often ask for features just for features sake without actually ensuring that the feature serves a useful purpose.

In general, web pages simply don't have 'heights' and if there is more to see, there's no reason to hide it behind an extra user interaction. Just show it in the first place so they can scroll through it as they see fit on whichever screen they want to use.

8

There's two situations where I see "Show More" valid:

  1. When the "more" part implies a lot of data which might not be needed on the initial view. What "a lot" means depends on the target audience: if it's an intranet site, or internet, if it's going to be shown on mobile phones with limited data transfer rates or not, etc.

  2. When there's content under that "show more" which might make the website look polluted. Think of a standard blog, where you are shown many posts in one page that might make the website too long and have users scroll through a big chunk of text to see what's below it. It'd be ok to just show an excerpt and have users click "show more" if they want to see it in full (whether that leads them to a different page or extends the original text could be up to discussion).

Otherwise, I see no point on using "show more" on a website, you can put a scrollable region (or have the website extend as tall as needed).

2

The benefit of 'show more' is to prevent content from pushing the content below it out of view. If this is for the whole page, then there is nothing below (except perhaps a footer) and it is an unnecessary hindrance to reading the entire page.

If you need to persuade them, show them a fixed position 'show more' page on a short and tall display. On the short it will be off-screen and on the tall there will be a pointless gap below. If they then want to scale it to screen height, well, the screen automatically hides anything below the bottom anyway.

If they still think that is an improvement, then you may have to refuse or concede defeat.

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    I believe the reason cited was "So each page is of the same height". I don't understand the relevance of making each page the same height. It just adds unncessary friction to the user experience. – Layke Jan 15 '15 at 16:15
  • @Layke Do you have a sticky footer? – MiniRagnarok Jan 15 '15 at 16:37
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    @Layke that is one of those "things that the client thinks is a problem but isn't". Remind them that pages don't have 'heights' as all web browsers are different sizes and content will reflow as needed. – DA01 Jan 15 '15 at 17:58
  • @MiniRagnarok No. No sticky footer. – Layke Jan 16 '15 at 8:59
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You're asking us to give you reasons why it's a bad idea. Sorry, but to me this just looks a bit lazy. What you should be asking us is “Is this a good idea, why (not)?”.

Agreed, it should be backed by solid reasoning as well as outweigh the disadvantages. But if the reasoning is solid, adding it doesn't have to be bad per se.

Advantages

A ‘Read more’ button...

  1. hides content on websites that have content overload. Hiding this behind a button tends to give a smoother/better user experience.

  2. gives users a chance to reach the bottom of the page faster than on a content-overloaded page. Also, pages that autoload 'on scroll' are bad UX as getting to the footer is just impossible.

  3. gets the page to load faster since there's less content.

What I like to do is show a ‘Read more’ button ONCE that autoloads some more content and from then on, uses autoload on scroll.

Also, what you should do is divide the page according to content, not height.

For completion I'll also list some disadvantages:

Disadvantages

  1. Google's page crawling might not work correctly. It all depends on your implementation
  2. ‘Read more’ buttons are generally for lists/newsarticles, not for regular content.
  3. They are also usually for websites with lots of content. On websites with little content they're not worth the hassle.
  • Would +1, but this post is clearly missing the problem that the user is botherd with doing an action instead of reading. This is okay after 10 pagelong blog posts, but not after little content and annoys the user when he has to click every two lines. Auto loading the content when the user is scrolling towards the end is better, but again, not worth it after two lines of text. – Sebb Jan 16 '15 at 13:35
  • @Sebb That's EXACTLY what I'm saying in that last disadvantage.. – Vince Caregnato Jan 16 '15 at 14:59
  • yes, it was just a little short and therefore looked like it would be a good idea with some disadvantages and not like a bad idea for small sites imo. Upvoted anyway since it's the completest answer in this thread. – Sebb Jan 16 '15 at 18:29
  • @Sebb Yeah, maybe I should've formulated my answer a bit differently. It's just, I wouldn't even consider using a 'Show more' button on small sites. – Vince Caregnato Jan 19 '15 at 8:21
0

Depending on the revenue model of the site, "Show more" actually brings money in. Assuming it sends you to the article, it actually gives twice the ad revenue. It also increases page ranking through pass through clicks and time spent on the site.

This is why you see a lot of sites now doing "top 10 most ugly celebs" etc. That requires 10 clicks and 10 sets of ads.

Not sure what the revenue model of this site is, but honestly, there are business reasons for doing this.

As for implementation, unless they want half a sentence showing before the "break", and they have a reasonably small amount of articles, I would suggest asking them to insert a "break" where they think it would be reasonable. However some reasonably easy regex can be done to find breaks and/or periods. If that is the concern.

For more recommendations, it would require more data as to what blogging/ website platform they are on.

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