Scrolling is a key component of any website design that extends beyond a single landing page. Anyone who thinks the scroll is dead needs to jump out of 2005!
Scroll actions move users through content vertically or horizontally and are a commonly accepted user pattern. The scroll is alive and well thanks to plenty of interesting design techniques and a shift toward accessing full websites on smaller screens. Let’s take a look!
6 Ways to Use Scroll Actions
A scroll action is not just some nifty trick for your website design. It needs to do something, and lead users to engage with specific content or perform a certain action. Unless those criteria are met, scroll actions are just silly tricks.
There are a few different ways to engage users with scroll:
- Scroll vertically: This is the most intuitive pattern where users move up and down the page. Even without a lot of other information, users will try to scroll down if they have any interest in the design or content.
- Scroll horizontally: While this pattern is becoming more common thanks to a proliferation of image sliders, most users still need a horizontal scroll cue, such as an arrow or instruction. Then you must decide whether horizontal scroll is a one- or two-way action.
- Use layers: Layering objects helps users see patterns and movement (think Material Design principles). By stacking elements on a background and foreground, you can encourage scrolling.
- Tell users to scroll: There’s nothing wrong with an icon or bit of microcopy that tells users where and how to scroll. Include the element just above where the screen “breaks” and users would have to scroll to see more.
- Use click to scroll: If you use an icon or element to encourage scrolling, activate it with a click as well. (Users almost can’t help but click on elements that look like buttons.) Using a click to scroll action will provide a pleasant surprise that zips users to the next bit on content.
- Scroll everywhere: There’s no rule that says scroll have to be up and down or left and right. It can move in any number of ways. Consider round, diagonal or other patterns as long as they are easy for users to understand in relationship to the content and encourage engagement.