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Our UX team is tossing around the idea of two different positions for our legal footer depending on whether the page content has infinite scroll (i.e. lazy loading of content) or not. When it doesn't, the footer will just be below the end of the page content, and you only see it when you scroll all the way to the bottom of that content. When a page has lazy loading, they want the footer to be fixed at the bottom of the page. There are more technical complications with this idea since the main page content is in a right-side container next to a narrower left-side container, but I won't go into that.

What do you think about this type of experience where the legal footer is positioned in two different ways? By the way, the legal footer contains, the (c) 2015 Blah.com text and links to terms of use, privacy, and cookies.

  • I'm not sure what is being asked here, and more specifically - what are the alternatives? Both designs make sense, in both you put the legal clause in the footer, it is just that one is on a scrollable page, the other is on a non-scrollable page (the content is, but not the page). – Izhaki May 10 '15 at 21:53
  • Wondering what other philosophies people have about two experiences for the same element especially in the context of a lazy-loaded page. – ajm May 12 '15 at 5:43
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Users don't care about legal footers. Only lawyers do.

If you are working on a user-focused UI, put a link to legal information somewhere else. If you are working on a truly user-focused product, fire the lawyers.

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    UX is also about business goals, which have to account for legal formalities (which themselves can be required due to government regulation and not lawyers). Terms of use and privacy can actually be very important in UX if you 'spy' on users using inspeclet etc. – Izhaki May 10 '15 at 21:59
  • @Izhaki of course. It's all a compromise. But if we focus on the users, we can usually say that most of the time, no on cares about legal content (or will read it). – DA01 May 10 '15 at 22:33
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This does bubble up a few questions:

  • Why does a list of items need a copyright sign? It's meant for the articles (or whatever the site is about) and not the list, so why not just place it with the articles only.
  • Why do terms of use, privacy policy, copyright etc. always have to be in a footer?

My answer is to use the copyright sign only where it is relevant. And to put legal information in a menu, for example in the about section:

An example menu

  • Re: the (c), now that I look at our current site, we do have the (c) separate and below the links to the legal pages, though it's all kind of in the same area i.e. below the main navigation list which is in a left-side column. Yeah, I don't know what drove the decision to have the legal stuff in a footer, but that is how they're proposing to handle it. – ajm May 12 '15 at 5:33
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I suggest pushing for a more meaningful call to action in a fixed position bar.

I've seen various websites using infinite scrolling and I've never noticed prioritizing the legal aspect of the footer. It surprises me they want to prioritize legal information. However, if there's user test results suggesting that the legal pages are visited often, this probably makes senses.

I worked on a project that demanded we used a sticky footer for login/signup, which was somewhat effective. Footer navigation can be useful if it's pointing to various prominent pages on the website and perhaps signup/login pages.

This is the project I worked on: view live example

enter image description here

Another service that comes to mind when thinking about sticky headers/footers is Hello Bar. I've used it on various sites and it's been extremely effective. It also has built in tracking.

Side note: I'm in no way associated with hello bar or attempting to promote it, referenced as an example only.

  • Your example looks great. This kind of usage makes sense for important actions, like you said, and therefore justifies always being "in the way." Personally I think our users would be confused to see this footer floating above their lazy-loaded inbox messages whereas they didn't see it on other views in the site. Also, it's possible our lawyers insist on the legal links be very visible and accessible, but I don't know for sure. – ajm May 12 '15 at 5:41

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