September 15, 2023

To Scroll or Not to Scroll

This week, we are continuing our series on website design for asset management firms by exploring this popular (and sometimes hotly contested) design question – to scroll or not to scroll.

Scrolling has been a mainstay on websites for decades so it may seem like an odd debate to be having. However, mobile technology and advances in website development are pushing what’s possible and popular for website design and raising everyone’s expectations. Ensuring that your website makes a positive first impression for your firm is key. Let’s get into the debate.

The pros of scrolling

Smooth scrolling (where the site slides down smoothly and slowly as you navigate) gives your site a luxurious and sophisticated feel. It automatically elevates your content and your brand image without saying a word.  

If you want to create an immersive storyline for your firm, scrolling is an excellent tool to help. With scrolling, your brand story can have a clear beginning, middle and end on one page. This allows visitors to take in the entire story without the break in concentration or focus that happens when clicking to another page to continue.

Scrolling is faster than clicking, enabling visitors to view more information without waiting for new pages to load. It also allows visitors to quickly scan content to find what they are looking for.

Website access on mobile devices continuing to grow across industries, making the mobile benefits of scrolling a powerful consideration. Scrolling is ideal for mobile users. It makes for simple navigation and ease of content viewing. Knowing what device your firm’s website visitors are using is important information to have when making decisions about scrolling.

The cons of scrolling

Excessive scrolling can lead to frustration and shorter view times if visitors can’t find what they are looking for on your site. Complex scrolling can also disorient users and make navigation difficult which also results in shorter view times and unhappy clients and prospects.

With a site that scrolls, load times may be slower given that your browser will continuously be trying to load new content. Slower load times have a negative impact on SEO and frustrate visitors. Sites listed on the first page of Google search results, have an average page load speed of 1.65 seconds.

Infinite scrolling without any break points can cause issues for screen readers as they cannot understand the structure/context of the content. In addition, if there aren’t any ways to navigate the site using a keyboard, accessibility of your content to all visitors will be an issue.

As mentioned above, slow loading websites may also have a negative impact on your SEO score. In addition, content that is tucked away on a long page makes it difficult for the SEO bots to find, determine its relevance and then rank your page accordingly.

To Scroll or not to Scroll? Our verdict:

The answer is not one-size-fits-all and needs to be carefully considered. Your firm’s decision about scrolling should be made based on your content, story and audience.

We recommend taking the time to think and plan with your team or creative agency about your website. Understanding your audience, having clear and concise content, and knowing the brand image you want to create are essential to answering this question for your firm. Remember the goal of good website design is determining the action you want visitors to take and then mapping out how to get visitors to accomplish that task with the least amount of friction and in the least number of clicks.

Still on the fence about scrolling? We can help. Reach out to discuss your site and the pros and cons of scrolling (and maybe even a few alternatives).

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