AJAX loading and pagination done right (deviantart infinite scroll)

deviantart is a great site for artists, photographers, writers and different craftmen to show their work, mostly through pictures. It’s a quite huge social network for creatives. This leads to deviantart of course having to serve a lot of pictures to their viewers.

Well done deviantart

For this example I took one of their most frequently visited pages browse.deviantart.com, which by default displays the most popular deviations of the last 24 hours. Now, what I think is essential for good pagination, is that the content you see at any given time remains linkable, which deviantart does beautifully.

Address bar: http://browse.deviantart.com


Now so far it’s pretty simple, you get 24 images, their titles and if you click any of them, you get to the deviation. Scrolling down:

Address bar: http://browse.deviantart.com


Now it’s getting somewhat more interesting. The Show More button will load more images into the current page, it’s not that cool anymore, since every serious web powered service like facebook, twitter, tumblr and so on does it. What actually happens in the address bar is far more exciting:

Address bar: http://browse.deviantart.com/?offset=24


Okay, now here we have gotten to the point where I think deviantart does this incredibly right at the moment. They don’t bother the user with page reloads all the time and still watch out for their bandwidth by serving 24 images without user interaction and load more, while the user actually scrolls down on the page.

The address bar in the top will constantly change, when entering another group of the 24 next images, like here:

Address bar: http://browse.deviantart.com/?offset=192


Now if you visit http://browse.deviantart.com/?offset=192 you will see 24 images and the page will not load more until you actually tell it to, through the Show More button. It’s not an incredibly hard thing to do, but this example is very well executed and makes a lot of sense, both for the usability, which with the amount of pictures deviantart deals out is important and also to control their bandwidth.

Well, I hope you’ll catch up tumblr


tumblr in contrast, doesn’t really bother with pagination for their feed, but it’s not a fair comparison in all cases, because users are given far more freedom how to actually style the blogs they create, but for the dashboard view, the blogs you follow, it would certainly be great to have some sort of address bar pagination or linkability.

Is scrolling the future?

For some purposes, yes. For others, not so much. As long as it remains usable for the users, doesn’t excessively overuse memory, because the page gets hundreds of thousands of pixels long, why not? It’s possible to still save, link, bookmark stages of a scrolled page and it’s certainly more versatile than splitting content into pages, like for example Zeit.de (online newspaper) does, for reasons, that are very much unclear to me. I prefer scolling through an article and don’t want to press any next buttons while reading something.

What do you prefer?

Do you prefer pages or a page that is extending itself with more content?

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