So much of what we do online is intuitive to the point that it’s practically mindless. How many times have you scrolled through an endless feed or pages of content and didn’t really give it much thought? With UX design, it’s often the details behind these absent-minded actions that can elevate or completely destroy the user experience.
While the end user might not be actively thinking about how they scroll through your website or app, on a deeper level they are acutely aware of the experience and this has a definite impact on how they feel about interacting with your brand in the future.
With the average end user spending 69% of their media time on smartphones, attention to mobile UX features is a top priority. Scrolling is a vital part of this user experience, and it’s one that’s frequently underrated. Scrolling is how people will find your content. Making the process as seamless and intuitive as possible is a necessity for app and website design.
Here are a few tips to improve your user’s scrolling experience.
Bust Through Scrolling Fatigue with Strong Content
One of the main goals of UX design is to keep end users engaged with your site or app as long as possible. Scrolling fatigue can interfere with this engagement and result in an abrupt ending to their experience. Scrolling fatigue happens when someone becomes frustrated, bored or tired with the content in front of them.
The zombie scroller is the perfect example of scrolling fatigue, as is the person who quits because the content was just too long or uninteresting to engage with. The solution to this is simple: develop a content strategy with the scrolling experience in mind.
For example, use eye-catching images to break up lengthy content or rope people in the right away by filling them in on the purpose of your content and giving them a reason to keep their finger moving.
Avoid the False Bottom Illusion
When someone loads a site or opens an app on their phone, the first screen they see is considered above the fold content. This is a power player for web design, and it serves to capture, engage and encourage interaction. This is a lot of pressure for such a small space, and it needs support.
This support comes from the content your end user finds below the fold as they scroll down – at least it should if it’s been designed with UX in mind. Something that can hamper this is called the false bottom, where it visually appears that there is nothing below the fold to scroll to.
For great UX, make it easy for users to discover below the fold content with visual clues. That’s not to say we should stuff everything we can above the fold. Stuffing what’s above the fold with too much content discourages users from scrolling below the fold. Conversely, keeping the content above the fold minimal encourages users to scroll below the fold.
Recent studies have shown that mobile users are more likely to scroll. For example, according to UX Myths, half of mobile users start scrolling within 10 seconds and 90% within 14 seconds. This means that instead of abandoning when above the fold, between 50% – 90% of mobile traffic will scroll.
Don’t Lose Sight of Navigation
Nobody likes to feel trapped, and this includes the end users of your website and/or apps. There are few things worse to UX than someone landing on a page and getting that panicky feeling that there’s no way to escape.
It’s key to always keep navigational tools easily accessible to the user scrolling through your content. They may want to back out entirely, or maybe they’ve seen something that has encouraged them to explore further. Sticky navigation that follows your end users through the scrolling process is a valuable UX feature for mobile web design. Although the main navigation doesn’t need to always be visible in their face, it should be easily accessible. For upon a scroll up or hover over that navigation should easily appear.
Are your end users getting the most out of their scrolling experience? We’d love to help improve your UX design to keep them engaged longer.
Abdul has helped over 40 Fortune 500 companies make informed user-centered design decisions through evidence-based user research and UX best practices. As an Adjunct Professor, Abdul has taught in DePaul University’s graduate UX programs and for nine other universities.