“If there’s one lesson to take from every major change in how people browse the internet over the last five years—the rise of infinite feeds, the gradual retirement of slideshows and pagination, the explosion of very tall, vertically interactive page layouts—it’s that users hate to click and don’t mind scrolling. Taps are expensive, swiping is cheap. Clicking is a choice, like jumping; scrolling is inevitable, like falling.”
Addendum (1/11/2014) Writing in Digiday, Jack Marshall elaborates on Herrman’s point:
“Publishers are rushing to catch up to changing digital habits, and one of the biggest changes is the rise of streams.
“Look no farther than Yahoo’s new food and tech sites. The sites present users with an infinite list of image tiles and headlines which, after clicking or tapping, expand to reveal full articles. At the end of the content, the feed continues. A user could, in theory, consume content on Yahoo’s new sites infinitely without ever being aware of the fact that data is being loaded in the background. It’s a far cry from clicking a link and waiting while a blank “page” populates with new content, which is how most publisher sites work today. That’s the same approach the Atlantic took with Quartz, its ‘mobile-first’ global business publication that has a viewing pane in which stories (and ads) are shown in an endless stream ...
“Social media has also changed the way users interact with digital content. They’re now used to flicking through feeds of content on networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and they’re beginning to expect the same from media publications, too. The rise of touchscreen devices has had a similar effect. It’s easier for users to swipe their way through content than it is to have to tap and wait for it to load.