Does anybody scroll anymore?


I’m in DC at the UIE Roadshow conference (… and I have to get this post out at a T-Mobile hot spot before my battery runs out.)

Anyway, Christine Perfetti from Jarad Spool’s company, User Interface Engineering, spoke about one of my favorite topics today: does anybody scroll anymore? I had this fight many times with the company that designed my website. They complained to me that my text was too long, and that no one would scroll down to read it.

In fact, Perfetti pointed out, people do scroll, but pointed out four major reasons that stop visitors from scrolling:

1) You have tiny text right above the fold (i.e. before they start scrolling) so it appears to be the copyright. When visitors see the copyright at the bottom, they know the page is over.

2) You’ve got a big white space at the bottom of the live window, so they assume that the page is over

3) You’ve got some kind of long horizontal line or graphic that signals “Page Over” to the visitor

4) The visitor gets what she calls Iceberg Syndrome. He doesn’t find any scent in the top of the page, so he freezes up and stops scrolling. Maybe bails completely.

I haven’t done the kind of user testing that UIE has, but I’d add a fifth reason to this list: Only a small part of the page is below the fold. For example, I tried really hard to buy this book (which is only coincidentally on usability), but bounced between two pages three times before I figured out that if I only scrolled a little more, I would find the “Buy” button.

I’ll write more about scent and usability (which affects conversion, because if they leave the site, how likely are they to buy?) in future posts. If Christina and/or Jarad get time between cities, maybe they will join us.


Our owner and CEO, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics twelve years ago. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a recent Diamond Award for business leadership. You should read her letter before you decide to work with us.

  • Matthew Roche

    People scroll. Don’t know why, but they do.

    I know this because we have done tests of changes to privacy statement, disclosure, legal statement, or logoing programs like truste and hackersafe.

    Even at the bottom of a three-screen scroll, they get seen, and the changes are real in the results.

    I don’t get why, but it is real.

  • Jeffrey Eisenberg

    We’ve written a lot about how “persuasive momentum” is very much a function of scent. If you do a search on that term we explain it.

  • LunaMetrics Blog

    Oh Matt, it seems so perfectly logical that they would scroll. Your tests make lots of sense. And speaking of scrolling, did you see that the next comment is from Jeffrey Eisenberg? When I read his newsletter, GrokDotCom, I usually have to scroll through three screens — but I do because it is packed with great info. (Matt, do you have a newsletter or blog?)


  • Matthew Roche

    Big fan of Jeff, and even his Eisenbrother… We live to execute on what they think about.

    As for the blog/newsletter:

    I have a blog on optimization and testing called “The Site is Dead”. Love to hear what you think.

    I also edit a monthly newsletter called Selling by Design that you can reach on the newsletter signup on the Offermatica home page.


  • LunaMetrics Blog

    Oh, after you read my post today, you may not want me to be one of your readers…


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