Somewhere along the way many business owners decided that having to scroll to continue reading information on a web page was annoying to people. That somehow it was a bad thing and should be avoided at all costs. Where and how this misconception got started is anyone's guess, though I'd wager it started with a few people who hated it themselves and assumed everyone else felt the same way.

But here's the truth: people who haven't been living under a rock for the past 20 years don't get all that annoyed with scrolling. Unless you're on Facebook in which case, the endless scrolling is downright ridiculous. But I digress.

Scrolling is not an unreasonable request on any site visitor. Avoiding scrolling is. There are just too many screen sizes to take into account for these days to make any given web page not have any scrolling whatsoever.

Take Mr. Company CEO, for instance, who may have a 30" monitor where scrolling is non-existent on certain sites, assuming his browser window is open to full-screen. But Jane, his secretary, might be on a 17" monitor and keeps her browser size to much less than full-screen so she can multi-task. Then there's the Marketing Director's hipster intern who has a sticker-covered 11" MacBook Air. Oh, and there's Sue who, due to her constant eye problems, prefers to have her screen resolution low so that everything on the screen is much bigger. And let's not forget the head of IT who uses some crazy set up of 3 or more monitors, each set at portrait (vertical) orientation with a high resolution so everything is tiny and scrollbars rarely show up. Except on his shiny new Windows phone that he uses when he's not muttering stuff about people's idiocy.

In every single case, the cut-off point (or fold) for any given website is different. Every single one. Multiply that by, well, pretty much any number you want and maybe you'll start to see why avoiding scrolling is virtually an impossible task if you expect your website to contain anything more than your logo and 5 words.

All this means that elements toward the top of your site will need to more important. But even then the size of the "top" is variable so obsessing over that is essentially the same unwinnable battle.

So what's the solution then? Easy… don't worry so much about scrolling. It's as normal as clicking on links. And like with most things in life: everything in moderation.


Published on March 6, 2012