Article: UX: Infinite Scrolling vs. Pagination



Today I discovered a great article called “UX: Infinite Scrolling vs. Pagination” by Nick Babich. I hope the UX Mastery community finds it as interesting as I did!


An often ignored part of this discussion is Accessibility. This is a good read on Simply Accessible - - I had numerous meetings about this a couple of years ago, as infinite scroll was something that was internally wanted by some former colleagues, however I came from the Accessibility angle and the knock on benefit is that I can share with all a particular results page… eg -[IMAGE_COLOUR][]=true&f[PROVIDER][]=The+European+Library&f[TYPE][]=IMAGE&page=3&q=melbourne&qf[]=australia&view=grid


I love this topic. I’ve debated it at length several times as a result of choosing this Discourse platform (with its infinite scroll) as my community platform of choice.

There are a few issues that are frequently raised.

  • Screen readers
    In some cases infinite scroll messes with screen readers, but not the most popular ones, so that is possibly an issue for a very small percentage of users (but most likely none).
  • Focus is lost when navigating back
    Discourse actually handles this so it’s not an issue. (Scroll down through this page a while, click on a link, click the back button and you’ll find that you’re exactly where you were when you clicked the link.)

  • It’s not expected behaviour
    Fair enough in the old days, but now… Facebook

  • Unable to access footer content
    We made sure that all necessary home page footer content was accessible through the main navigation, and in the footer of posts.

  • Inability to get to the end
    This argument has always confounded me somewhat – there is nothing of value at the end so why do you need to get to it?

I don’t believe that infinite scroll is always good or always bad, but rather something that should be decided on a case by case basis by weighing up the pros and cons.

NNGs stance on infinite scrolling is that it’s not recommended for goal-oriented finding tasks, but that it is “advantageous for content that streams constantly and has a relatively flat structure, where each unit of content belongs at the same level of hierarchy and has similar chances of being interesting to users”.