-3 mins read

Every website’s content is unique. After putting a lot of time and effort into your website’s content, you will want to create a browsing experience that will match. This is a key factor into deciding how to structure your site. You need to organise and show your website’s content in a way that satisfies customers. 

Modern websites can basically be separated into two categories of content organisation. These two categories are;

  • Paginated sites: these divide content into different pages ex. Google
  • Infinite scrolling sites: these place all of the websites content which place everything on one page

Both of these types of content organisations have their pros and cons. Depending on your website content and number of scrolling pages, UI UX design companies can decide which method works best for a project. This article will take you through “what is infinite scroll, pagination.” and how different aspects of a website are influenced by infinite scroll and pagination.

What is pagination?

Pagination is a method wherein, content is separated into different pages on a website. Users can navigate between these pages by clicking on links. These links are often in the form of numbers that are located at the bottom of a page. Paginated content is often related by a common theme or purpose. 

Pagination is used widely across many online businesses. E-commerce websites and informational websites like blogs. Users can select a numbered link at the bottom to jump to a different archive page or jump to a specific page by clicking on an image thumbnail if the blog or informational website has featured image thumbnails for different articles.

What is infinite scroll?

In this kind of content organisation UX practice, content keeps on loading when a user reaches the bottom of a page. This creates an experience of an endless flow of information on a single seemingly never-ending page. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and image-heavy stock photography websites like Unsplash.

In an infinite scrolling page, there is no need to to click as the web page dynamically populates with new content as users scroll. It implements lazy loading design pattern to render new images when they appear onscreen. 

While both of the content organisations are useful and widespread, they are not interchangeable. There are websites for which pagination works best and others for which infinite scrolling is a better idea. 

Infinite Scroll

Pagination vs. Infinite Scroll

Website developers will need to make a choice between using pagination or infinite scroll website depending on the purpose of your website, content type and intended user experience. Pagination works better on websites where users are looking for specific pieces of content. Whereas infinite scroll is better suited for websites where you want users to discover and explore the content available. Infinite scroll is also much more effective for mobile devices. Pagination and infinite scrolling have different strengths and weaknesses.

Pagination is widely used in in e-commerce websites because it enables better product searching and cataloging. Most users who visit these websites are looking for a particular type of product and only want to view the pages most relevant to what they are looking for.

Alternatively, social media users don’t have a specific reason for visiting the website. They are just looking to be entertained or informed by browsing unique content. This is why most user generated content sites and news sites have infinite scrolling. 

Both pagination ux and infinite scrolling ux have different purposes and influence the user experience of a website. Let us look at how different aspects of a website are influenced by infinite scroll and pagination.

Pagination vs infinite scroll

Mobile Pagination

Mobile pagination is a powerful practice of dividing long lists of content, such as articles or product listings, into a series of smaller sections that can be loaded and viewed one at a time on a mobile device. By breaking down large volumes of content into smaller sections, it significantly reduces the need for endless scrolling and enhances navigation on small screens.

Whether it’s a “load more” button or numbered links, mobile pagination offers a robust solution to help users easily access all the information they need, without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Some websites also use infinite scrolling, where new content is automatically loaded as the user scrolls down the page.

Engagement

Infinite scroll is designed in a way to boost user engagement and increase the duration of time that users spend on your website. If a majority of your users visit your website with no particular goal in mind, infinite scrolling will continue to roll out relevant content in a way that is efficient, digestible and interruption-free. 

Pagination, on the other hand, works better for getting users to their desired content as soon as possible. The negative aspect of pagination is that it makes freeform exploration more time-consuming, as users will need to keep clicking on “next” and wait for new pages to load. 

One way to combat this inconvenience is to lengthen the individual pages and optimise for load time.

In infinite scrolling too, the loading time can become slow. The more visitors scroll, the more content needs to be loaded, slowing down page performance. This can be solved for by reducing image sizing only to what is required to reduce the bandwidth used.

Engagement

Ease of Use

If your website content is paginated, it allows users to become familiar with your site’s layout. As long your pages are well-organised, your users won’t have a problem clicking between them. However the aim should still be to reduce clicks as much as possible, since users expect to click as little as possible to achieve their goals on a website.

If your website content is better suited for infinite scroll, your site’s ease of use will stand out. For most people, simply scrolling to reveal more content comes a lot more naturally. It is fast, easy, intuitive and responsive. Users not only appreciate this kind of positive user experience, they have come to expect it.

Additionally, infinite scroll is also much more user-friendly on touch screens. Infinite scroll was initially built for mobile devices because it minimises button-pressing, which can be extremely frustrating on phones. 

Ease of Implementation

Most website builders default to pagination for content structuring. When building a website, pagination features are available out of the box. However, for a more user-friendly experience, adding infinite scrolling takes some more work on the part of the UI UX design agency or website publisher. They require some add-on features or a developer who can implement infinite scrolling. Transitioning a website from pagination to infinite scroll will also require some effort to restructure your site’s organisation. However, the workload is well worth the effort.

Visual Appeal

Infinite scroll is definitely more visually appealing which makes it perfect for photo sharing websites, portfolios and other websites that rely heavily on visuals.

Conclusion

Both of these UX approaches work differently for different websites. Based on your content, choose the approach best suited for you. Test both of these methods to get data driven insights to find out which approach your users prefer – pagination or infinite scroll.

An in-depth analysis of customer behavior is imperative to take in account while building a web-page. Understand different user-research methods before you undertake the design process.

FAQs

1. Is infinite scroll better than pagination?

Ans: It depends on the context & the specific user experience goals. Infinite scroll can provide a more seamless and continuous browsing experience, but pagination can make it easier for users to navigate and find specific content. The optimal choice relies on user needs and use case, considering the pros and cons of both.


2. What is the difference between pagination and infinite scroll data table?

Ans: Pagination divides content into pages with a fixed number of items per page, while infinite scroll loads new content as the user scrolls down without any clear page separation. Making pagination suitable for limited data in tables and infinite scroll for endless scrolling.


3. Is pagination good for UX?

Ans: Pagination can improve UX by aiding in finding specific content and navigating through large data. But, it can be frustrating if there are too many clicks or slow page loads.


4. What is the difference between scrolling and paging?

Ans: Scrolling refers to the action of moving content up or down within a single view, such as scrolling through a webpage or a social media feed. Paging separates the content into pages with a fixed number of items per page, allowing users to navigate through them using page numbers or arrows.

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