The paradox of the Infinite Scrolling and the Footer

infinite

What we are going to talk about is not a technical error but a wrong approach, a contradictory implementation choice.

Let’s think about the general structure of our web system. We have the classic Header for our web system where we usually put main menu, table of contents, main links and other relevant objects for the users. We also have the Footer where we can repeat some main menu links and put some more information like About us, T&C, Copyright etc.

We have, obviously also the Content that, in case of the home page, it could be the list of all articles ever written. But wait a second, we can’t load billions of articles all at once, so, let’s split them in blocks. The pagination could be a valid solution but we want something better, nicer, more dynamic..

The infinite scroll could be a good alternative, so the user just scrolls down the page and a bunch of articles are automatically loaded and magically appearing with a fancy fade in effect or maybe a slide down.

Here we are, do you see the paradox?
Let’s look at that together.

Scrolling down an endless articles list you’ll never reach the end and never see the Footer. You will keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and never see the end, the T&C, the newsletter subscription form, the Privacy Policy, Copyright etc..
Moreover, there are many other related issues like SEO (Google doesn’t seem liking Infinite Scrolling), Accessibility

There are many websites that adopted this approach, some unknown but some important and well known.

Few solutions available

Well, there are many different approaches to bypass this paradox like

  • Use a normal pagination instead of the Infinite Scroll
  • Use a bottom-button with “Show more…” which appends a bunch of articles to the current list
  • Don’t use a footer; if you really need something similar, just move it to the fixed sidebar
  • Use a fixed position footer, a footer floating on the bottom of the website (and remember to leave the proper top-margin when you reach the real end of the page)
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