In the case of displaying blocks of text I know that the majority of applications on the iPhone support scrolling. Notable exceptions are ebook apps like iBooks and the Kindle app.

  • Is the decision to use scrolling or pagination based on content length alone or are there other factors?
  • If the length of the content is the deciding factor, what length is long enough to warrant pagination?
  • 1
    Good question! Related: If there is some kind of pagination, should it be "previous/next page" or "show 20 more" (like app store)? Or should it load the next part of the list automatically when you reach the end of the list? (Feel free to add it to the question if you're interested in that too)
    – Phil
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 15:28
  • Thanks @Phil, I clarified my question as it relates to blocks of texts instead of lists. IMHO I think that lists should almost always use the "show 20 more" method unless the list is sorted by something other than relevance in which case a user might want to skip pages to get to a lower price, older items, etc. Commented May 18, 2011 at 15:41
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    This thread is about scrolling vs clicking in general: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/1850/…
    – JoJo
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 17:05
  • @JoJo thanks, though the answers seem more geared towards lists than blocks of text they did give me some good ideas. Commented May 18, 2011 at 17:37
  • Thanks for the clarification! @JoJo: Interesting as well. I'll ask the auto-load vs. manual load vs. paging in a separate question.
    – Phil
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


I think it's dependent on the kind of content you're showing, Scrolling has less friction, so the user can get an overview more easily, whereas pagination allows you to give more structure to a mainly forward-moving process such as reading.

I would use scrolling...

  • if my content forms a logical group, e.g. the settings page. There I'd probably offer sub-pages for groups of more detailed settings.
  • if I expect my users to want a quick overview over the content - one flick of the finger and a large portion of the content has flowed by.
  • if my users have the need to move around the content quickly and easily, e.g. to compare different items.

I would use pagination...

  • if there's lots and lots of content to display, although I'd be hard pressed to specify a certain cutoff value.
  • if I'd like to convey an actual reading experience to my user, as opposed to only scanning the content for relevant information snippets.

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