Since it appeared on promintent portals around 2 years ago, the new trend seems to have gained popularity and is now being adopted as a replacement for traditional website pagination. Inifinite scroll is a script code that runs on a web page and automatically brings up more information when the user hits the bottom of the page. This removes the need for a “next page” button or any other kind of pagination.

How It Works

There are quite a number of versions of the Inifinte Scroll code, however they all make heavy use of Javascript as their language, using standard jQuery or similar libraries. The code runs on the listing pages of a website and detects whenever the user is scrolling down towards the bottom of the page. This triggers a function that retrieves the next page of content (asynchronously) and displays it at the end of the page. The page therefore grows to display more and more content as the user scrolls down.

Major portals such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have already adopted this technology and this has helped to make it popular and familiar with more web savvy users.

The Good

Most of the benefits of Inifinite Scroll are linked to the user experience. Most users find it helpful that content is automatically added to the page whenever they reach the bottom. The design also benefits from space gained and the removal of typically cluttering pagination controls.

Infinite Scroll is also very suited for mobile content where users rely less on tiny buttons or clickable controls, exclusively relying on slide to scroll gestures. The technology may also be very well suited for the next generation of mobile navigation, using eye detection allowing users to flip through content without touch at all. The new technology tracks the movement of the users eyes to determine the actions to perform, including page scrolling.

Yet another benefit of Infinite Scroll is the potential to expose more content to users who are typically shy of pressing the next page button. The javascript code trick simply removes that mental barrier from the minds of visitors and makes the transition to next page of content invisible. This often results in more of your content viewed per visit.

If you like what you read about Inifinte Scroll, it is time to have a look at the drawbacks and possible costs of this technique. Read on.

The Bad

HTML5, Javascript and JQuery are all the buzz at the moment, and chances are they will continue to grow in adoption and popularity. However developers must balance the benefits of these new tools with the loss of those still using old web browsers and devices. In this case, Inifinite Scroll can make pages inaccessible to these visitors. More commonly, the code can cause performance problems on slow devices, damaging the overall experience of the site.

Inifinite Scrolling is very good at pushing users forward through your content, encouraging them to browse more and more of your posts. However, the technique falls short when it comes to moving backward or paging to specific pages. This makes Infinite Scrolling only good with small sets of pages, but it can be uncomfortable to use on more than a handful of pages. Take the simple act of going back to a previous page. This is clearly becomes more complex than the traditional back button.

Bookmarking and URL copying is still one of the dominant ways in which users share and suggest pages on the web and social media in particular. Infinite Scrolling removes much of this functionality by not allowing links directly to a specific page of posts, but rather only to the top page. This can be a major concern if you site replies on sharing of Urls to visit your content list pages.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about making your pages and content each to reach and index by search engines such as Google. Automated robots (software) scour the web to find out new content by following links on other pages to arrive at your posts. This process is a delicate one which requires sites to provide pointers and adhere to rules to ensure that the robots can actually traverse and read the content.

SEO is a critical issue for most content sites, such as blogs. For this reason, we treat the impact of Infinite Scrolling on SEO as a separate point. In essence, if properly implemented modern robots are capable of indexing and handling Infinite Scrolling pages. This however requires developers to follow guidelines carefully and provide additional navigation information to facilitate SEO. On the other hand, SEO be dramatically hindered if the necessary work is not done, resulting in your posts losing their ranking and dropping of the all important Google index.

Infinite Scrolling pages can also be a headache when it comes to collecting page analytics. The same technique that saves users the trouble of flipping through multiple pages makes it very difficult for analytics tools to track views on your listing pages.

The Verdict

We think that Infinite Scroll can be a great addition to a range of websites, however it is not going to replace traditional pagination any time soon, nor is it suited to all types of sites and pages. Its strengths make it useful and attractive when used to improve the user experience, especially when used in conjunction with other asynchronous techniques. It is most appealing for mobile and responsive layouts. On the other hand, its performance cost, SEO and analytics complexities can offset its perceived benefits.

For these reasons Infinite Scroll does not work well for everybody. Here is a great case study from the e-commerce website who tried it out and quickly decided to remove it.

>> Why did infinite scroll fail at Etsy?

About Webcraft

Webcraft develops websites for business, small and large. We specialise in ecommerce and transactional sites that can help your organisation truly take advantage of the Internet to grow and evolve.