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Infinite Scrolling, Pagination Or “Load More” Buttons? Usability Findings In eCommerce

November 2, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Evelina Brown, Independent Technology Author

Mobile Payments 2 300x156 Infinite Scrolling, Pagination Or “Load More” Buttons? Usability Findings In eCommerce

Pagination is by far the most popular loading method to show new items on a site. This is due to the fact that it ships in almost all e-commerce platforms by default. But the usability tests have found that “load more” buttons added to lazy-loading was a superior integration. It resulted in a more seamless user encounter.

The findings aren’t black and white as the performance of every method depends on the page’s context. We’re going to show what Baymard Institute’s usability research indicated for infinite scrolling, “load more” buttons and pagination. This includes findings for both desktop and mobile.

The Research Findings

During this large-scale study of usability in e-commerce product filtering and listings, various test subjects complained about pagination in particular. Generally, test subjects thought of pagination as being slow. Further, when more than a few pagination links were shown, it leads to lowered chances of them browsing product lists.

Most importantly, testers were seen to view a lot less of the overall product list than on sites relying solely on infinite scrolling or “load more” buttons. On a positive note, they were relatively more likely to spend time on the initial first page results.

Pagination

Many test subjects correlated the number of links with the total amount of results. Although pagination links provide better control over navigating to a certain collection of results, almost no subjects really used these throughout the tests. Rather, they mostly just used the “next” and “previous” options.

Using infinite scrolling or endless scrolling, the user can primarily experience the page like all products were loading simultaneously (without truly needing to see all of the products). This is with no performance penalty that can come with hundreds of loading products.

That means well-implemented infinite scrolling can allow for an astonishingly seamless and smooth experience. The user has the ability to simply scroll through lists of products with no interruption. No communication is required as products will show up while the user is scrolling down. It’s no surprise that users browsed a lot more on sites using infinite scrolling as opposed to websites using either “load more” buttons or pagination.

Infinite scrolling

Take note of the size of a scrollbar on a website using infinite scrolling. Subjects usually browsed more than a hundred products. This practically never occurred on sites with pagination and seldom on sites equipped with “load more” icons.

Though this proved to be effective for the initial 50-150 items, some test subjects would keep scrolling down the list without actually focusing on specific products when the list kept going. This turn the initial advantage of infinite scrolling into a liability.

Additionally, infinite scrolling hinders the user’s accessibility to the site’s footer in certain instances. This is one of the main design hurdles of infinite scrolling as it shows continuous results as users near the bottom of a page. The person viewing the page will see the footer for a split second before the subsequent batch of results loads and pushes the footer out of view.

When many items are included on a list (which oftentimes appears with high-level and search classifications), it totally restricts the user from seeing the footer’s contents.

This is an extremely problematic situation due to the fact that footers usually have links to essential cross-navigation, help pages, inspirational category content and customer support information for shipping or returns.

“Load more”

On sites that use “load more” icons such as American Eagle Outfitters, viewers looked over more products as compared to sites with pagination, but their scanning wasn’t as quick as it was with infinite scrolling. Product investigation was shown to be a lot easier as users had the chance to inject extra products onto the current directory.

An advantage that comes with infinite scrolling and “load more” implementations is how the product list builds on top of itself rather than getting replaced over itself. “Load more” buttons lets users to see products compared with other ones over the complete list.

Using a single consolidated listing produced a significantly easier experience for evaluating the best-qualified products. This increased the product discovery ratio overall.

What’s the right loading method for your situation? It’s best to use a combination of different “load more” buttons. The research indicated that no single strategy worked best in every case. Different conditions justified one of three various implementations of the “load more” method.

Here is the rule of thumb that you’ll want to apply in your approach:

• With categories, apply a mix of lazy-loading and “load more”.

• For search traffic, utilize the “load more” button with a variable amount of results given depending on relevancy scores.

• On mobile, use a “load more” button, but load a reduced amount of default products.

Side note: The investigation was from testing e-commerce sites. Your results will change with other kinds of websites.

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