New websites are all about upgrading your look and having the smoothest, most intuitive experience possible for your users. Would you ever think to yourself, “What can I possibly do to massacre my User Experience and make my site frustrating to navigate?” No? Surprisingly, many sites are still doing that in a design trend that we will certainly not see the last of in 2016.
I’m talking about Scroll-Jacking.
Scroll-Jacking (most often confused for Parallax Scrolling) is not quite as ominous as it sounds, but it can feel very unnatural and ultimately steer people away from your website. Scroll-Jacking is taking a user’s scrollbar and navigation elements away and forcing them to progress through animations or images by scrolling the mouse’s wheel up or down.
Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Take a look here at a website by the Alzheimer’s Research UK.
All done? Sure, the Dementia Lab looks really cool, but I chose it as an example because it shares many common problem amongst sites of this kind.
A big problem you’ll see within seconds of visiting the site is a loading bar. There are so many images and functions running here these sites can reach 10mb and up. If your connection is slow, you may be waiting a while. And most users hate waiting.
Assuming everything loaded properly and you are now in the site – you can start scrolling your way through this information. What you have probably noticed is that information is whizzing past you even on a slower scrolling speed. Sites that use scroll-jacking functions feel so unusual because it is not what we as web users expect or are used to. You are expected to adapt to speeds and scrolling patterns defined by the designer or you can end up completely scrolling past information without ever knowing it.
Another problem you will often find is that you have to scroll a lot in order to see everything the site has to offer. I have found myself scrolling more than 75 times for one page – what a workout!
Flash Vs HTML5 takes everything a step further not just by leaving out a quick navigation from each information point to another, but by taking scrolling out altogether and forcing you to drag the page up in a very unnatural movement. By the time I was halfway down the page, it felt gimmicky and I just wanted it to end.
So, as the new year kicks off and you are considering ways to revamp you or your client’s website, let us consider the history of web design and what users have come to expect from their web experience and just let this become just another fad. We don’t want to make life harder than it already is.