There’s been lots of analysis about website design, user experience and how web visitors interact with websites, from what colours to use, whether the ‘mobile’ hamburger (or ‘sidebar navigation’) is a design disaster, to whether ‘above the fold’ (the top part of the website seen when you first start to view a website) is a thing of the past or not; even how your eyes track across a screen.
There’s probably also all kinds of studies about whether web users prefer to scroll or click their way around a website – the idea that some users just arrive on a website and look for things to click on rather than scroll through a site, whilst others will scroll around looking at the content. If you’re of the view that they click then clearly your website needs to have clickable links in all the right places; if your belief is its all about the scroll bar then you can spread your message across the site vertically so that it gets seen.
It’s not entirely clear to me whether there’s a right answer here. Certainly from the conversations I’ve had, some people clearly don’t like the idea of not seeing what they want as they land on the page (implying you’ll need click through links to get them to see other content on your site), whilst others clearly expect to scroll and look around the site. Maybe it’s a personal preference, although undeniably scrolling through a site seems naturally easier than moving around to find places to click and with the advent of tablets users are increasingly likely to flick their way around a website.
Website design appears to indicate that scrolling is in favour, at least for the moment, given the preference to have large parallax image banners at the top of sites and one page websites (where all the content is on the front page of the site and whilst you can click on a link at the top to take you to the relevant section of the site, the idea is you’ll probably get there quicker by scrolling).
I believe the answer is actually not to focus on what is best (scroll or click) but actually deliver for all types of web user. Ideally you want to provide lots of clicks to provide access to the key pieces of content spread across your website and your website needs to look modern and sexy which these days means it’s scrollable also. You most definitely shouldn’t shy away from duplicating click throughs on your site.
However, WordPress developers AccessPress might have an alternative answer, the Scroll-Me theme which is a horizontal scrolling theme – yes, you heard me, that’s not a typo; they’ve come up with a horizontally scrolling theme. The theme provides you with a full screen page and you click through to the next page which scrolls across the screen – maybe that’s the ultimate answer: scrolling and clicking.