Tuesday, October 30, 2012

E-book Pagination

Rian van der Merwe:

Scrolling is exhausting — it never ends. There is no sense of accomplishment. I once heard someone refer to infinite scrolling on websites as “a game you can never win.”

I prefer pagination for a different reason. With scrolling, I feel like I have too much control. I constantly have to “measure” how far to scroll and make the proper precise movement. My eyes have to track the content as it moves. It’s exhausting because of the concentration it requires compared with just pressing a button and having the right thing happen.

Update (2012-11-01): Lukas Mathis:

If I’m reading a novel, the experience I’m having should be the book’s story unfolding in my head, not my fingers scrolling the page every few seconds. In this case, good UX design means not interfering with the actual experience the user is having: the book’s story.

Update (2012-11-05): Lukas Mathis responds to Dr. Drang:

Look at iOS’s home screen. There are pages of apps. You jump between pages, you don’t scroll. Is the home screen’s pagination an artifact of paper book technology, or is it simply a better idea than having a home screen that can be scrolled? I’d argue that it’s a better idea.

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I find myself feeling the opposite - pages break up sentences as I was part way through reading them. I'm very used to reading scrolling articles & have become unaccustomed to paged layouts (due to high levels of internet-based reading & a drop off in how many books I read)
I wonder if your lack of comfort with scrolling is due to familiarity - do you read a lot of paginated content?
I feel you shouldn't need to measure when scrolling, just push the article further up the screen when you're vaguely near the bottom - I find that easier, particularly on a touch-screen, where my thumb tends to keep my place for me.

Sorry if that sounds confrontational, I was just intrigued and a little surprised by your explanation
(which i found quoted here: http://ignorethecode.net/blog/2012/11/01/pagination/)

- imma

@imma I’ve read lots of paper books, but most of the digital content I read is not intrinsically paginated. Even before scroll wheels and two-finger trackpad scrolling, I’ve always preferred to scroll documents using the Page Up/Down buttons. It’s a little better on the tablet, because it feels like you’re directly manipulating the content, but even there it seems like extra work to push across the whole screen rather than just tapping a button.

Dr. Drang didn’t approve my comment on his post, so I’ll add it here:

First, scrolling interfaces are not precluded from having the ability to jump a half or a full screenful at a time.

That’s why this was never an issue on the Mac; you could always use the Page Down button or click below the scroll elevator if you wanted to page.

Any book above the level of pure fluff can be be better read in a scrolling interface, because a scrolling interface gives you the opportunity to keep difficult passages together on the screen.

There’s some benefit to that. However, paging also has a benefit when you flip back to re-read an earlier passage: you can remember how many pages you flipped. Flip back three pages; flip forward three to get back to where you were. No need to set a bookmark; it’s almost subconscious. With scrolling, I feel like I have to weigh the benefits of go backing against the trouble of finding my position again. (It’s not that it’s difficult to find the position again, but rather that it’s a distraction.)

It seems an obvious option to provide for vertically scrolling books/articles is a function to scroll down the length of one "page" with the tap of the screen while also enabling the user to scroll line by line with a finger swipe.

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