Posts Tagged ‘infinite scroll’

Etsy, the infinite scroll, and lessons for non-profit websites

InfinityWorking at a company that helps organizations figure out how to stay focused when wandering the candy store that is Web technology can be full of interesting anecdotes.  Mostly, it includes stories of accidental techies doing the best they can to make sense of this Web-3-dot-whatever world we’re living in, and trying to find ways to best bring in more donation dollars to support their cause.

Sometimes, this means that the shiny new toys which larger companies play with seem to be an absolute necessity when it comes to their own small non-profit website.  This is completely understandable.  We live in an upgrade-right-now world, where even our web browsers seem to update on a daily basis, often times without us knowing it.

We try to help organizations avoid the shine of the latest fad and focus on raw efficiency gains.  That’s why a Web lesson learned from the good folks at Etsy (fellow B Corporation!) struck a chord with me.  When Etsy implemented the “infinite scroll” in their A/B testing, their findings were really quite interesting.

What’s an infinite scroll you ask?  It’s what happens when you’re looking at search results on sites like Google Images, where as you scroll to what seems to be the bottom of the page, and then all the sudden, wham, more results start to appear.

The vertical scroll is infinitely long!

Okay, back to the lesson at hand.  What Etsy ended up finding is that while the infinite scroll is definitely trending strongly in web design communities, it’s not a tool that you can blindly apply to any website and expect it to actually improve user satisfaction.  In fact, in the case of Etsy, it seemed to cause users to avoid taking the preferred route through the Etsy website.

What does this have to do with non-profit websites?  Quite a bit.  Here’s a few important lessons we can learn from the Etsy case study on the infinite scroll.

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