The Big Bad Screen Scroll Monster

By September 20, 2014Branding

I have forwarded this article from UX Magazine to a few select clients, and after a few days of thinking it through I believe it is worth sharing here.

A lot of the article reads as inside baseball, but there’s one section that everyone needs to know if you own a business or help run a business:

Stop thinking of screens and start thinking of transitions

We are just starting to realize that the “screens” approach doesn’t cut it when it comes to mobile design. Thanks to apps like Facebook Paper or Yahoo! Weather that showcase a different way of designing, we know we need to design based on transitions rather than still images.

Transitions, once just disposable eye-candy, are becoming the center of a mobile experience. They not only give a live, interactive tone to the interface: they are an interface element in their own right. Transitions convey movement, space, change, and hierarchy and are a great ally in communicating the underlying app structure to the user. They also render a static approach useless.

Let me put this in real world context by demonstrating what I see a lot of:

» Business owner says, “I want something simple and clean.”

» My team produces ‘simple and clean,’ and we review it.

» During review, client says: “Why is there content ‘below the fold!’ Why do I have to scroll so much?! OH NO…NO ONE WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO…NO ONE KNOWS THEY SHOULD SCROLL…NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO SCROLL… OMG WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!!!111!?!!?!”

Ok, so maybe that last part is exaggerated a little bit, but you get the idea. Yet you may or may not be surprised by how many passionate discussions I have had with those who still believe in a “fold,” or area of screen where content falls below.

That’s when I calmly come along side them, figuratively speaking, and talk them off the ledge, reassuring them that scrolling, transitions, flicking, and generally moving through a web experience is something we all know how to do.

I also try to talk about how “the fold” is dead. It’s a moving target. The last stats I read were from 2012, and there was a 19% market share on desktop monitors for a particular screen size. But if 3 in 5 visitors are on a tablet or smartphone, what does it matter? The fold (aka, bottom of your screen) changes just by flipping the orientation of the device! Like I said, the fold is dead. It’s yesteryear’s thinking, a mindset from the past. Not current.

Most of the time that little conversation is enough, but you might be surprised at how much this topic needs to be reaffirmed and revisited.

And so I present this article in good faith – not out of frustration because if I was frustrated I wouldn’t do what I do 🙂  The article is written by/for designers, and the author uses mobile app design as the catalyst for the advice, but the info is applicable to any creators for web experiences, as well as those who hire said creators.

Dan Crask

Author Dan Crask

Hello - I'm Dan Crask. I help brands discover who they are, then express it visually. I co-own Brand Shepherd, am a husband, father of four children, and I don't believe in a work/life balance - it's all life, and all of it matters.

More posts by Dan Crask

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