Trying something new is scary. The natural aversion to potential failure is common in business and makes sense if you take traditional definitions of the word. However… webster's dictionary defines failure as:
Yes, I went there. This means without failing you cannot grow. If you never see what doesn’t perform, how can you know what does?
Permission to launch something that could possibly fail is paramount. The freedom to implement a change, monitor progress, and learn how well it is working is really the key to success. We try to launch, learn quickly and iterate.
Recently, we wanted to know what is better – pagination or show more infinite scrolling on search result pages. We did some research and found there are pros and cons to both. The different user interactions between infinite scrolling and pagination is basically the use of the mouse - scrolling vs. clicking.
- Large cognitive load
- Information overload
- Breaks the scroll bar
- Audience engagement with results feed
- Less focus page navigation mechanics
- No page wait loading times
- Efficient use of screen real estate
- Touch screen friendly
- Breaks up the flow
- Requires user interaction with interface
- People like groupings
- Easier to remember position on a page
- Structure is easy to navigate
An argument could be made to implement either, and staying with pagination would be the safe option, but what fun is that. Without a large budget to user test on scale we decided to launch, learn quickly and iterate based on what behaviours we saw. So we tried ‘show more’ infinite scrolling.
SEEK Commercial works in 2-week sprints, so we can monitor and react really quickly. We found that the infinite scroll wasn’t working great for us. Our users tend to browse and then go back to previous listings they found interesting. In an infinite list it was difficult to re-find a listing, as they did not know its exactly location.
Laucning, and learning fast, showed us what we wouldn’t know without actually trying: infinite scrolling isn’t for us. We are not the first to come to this conclusion; Etsy also somewhat-famously implemented infinite scrolling only to revert back to pagination.
So we decided to go back to a pagination style, but we did not simply revert the code changes – we iterated and improved the pagination.
We let users who still want to scroll do so with a “view 100 per page” option. We remember the users stated preference so that when they search again they do not need to select ‘View 100’ again.
The new pagination style provides a much larger clickable area for users to navigate between pages, and allows them to quickly go to the last or first page to locate a business listing that they know is on that page.
We came to a better result than we otherwise would have without first trying and learning from that experience.