Seeing the Content: Scrolling Behavior

Your site has many different kinds of pages. Some are simple and transactional, presenting visitors with a few options and asking for a decision. Others, such as search result pages or retailer catalogs, contain paginated lists through which a visitor can navigate. Still others, such as blogs and articles, contain content for the visitor to read.

Each page carries its own design and usability constraints.

  • Transactional pages must offer visitors a clear decision and show possible courses of action.

  • Search result pages should make it easy to browse through results, with elements such as pagination.

  • Content pages should provide readable content alongside headings and images.

Any web designer will tell you that this means important content should appear at the top of the page so visitors can see it without having to scroll down. Of the three kinds of pages outlined above, those containing content are usually the longest. When a page extends beyond the visible window of a web browser, visitors need to scroll to read it all.

Scrolling behavior is a measurement of visitor attention. You can tell which content is better by the number of visitors who scroll to the bottom of an article. If all visitors stop scrolling at a certain point in a page, you know they’ve either found what they were after, or have tuned out.

Scrolling As a Metric of Visibility

In October 2007, WIA vendor ClickTale published a study of 80,000 page views collected over one month in 2007 ...

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