Everybody scrolls... sometimes...

It's an old but still frequent discussion I often have with - especially - graphic designers. The scrollbar: use it or avoid it? In my experience, many graphic designers don't really like the scrollbar and try to avoid it whenever possible.

However, the trend for (non-flash) sites seems to be in favor of longer pages with the scrollbar at the far right (not in an iframe). This is also what we recommend in general: work with the scrollbar - not against it, don't be afraid of longer pages, use good footers but keep the important stuff above the fold.

Facts and figures
Last week, reading webanalisten.nl, I came across research (part 1, part 2 and part 3) from Clicktale about scrolling behaviour, scroll reach, visitor attention and location of the fold. They used the statistics from their own analytics service for this research.

One of their conclusions is that the majority of users (74%) scrolls to some extent when a scrollbar is available. And 22% of those people scroll all the way down to the footer.

However, we don't know why 26% of the users didn't scroll when a scrollbar was available. Maybe they didn't see the scrollbar? Maybe they didn't find what they were looking for above the fold? (or did and didn't need to scroll) Or maybe they never scroll at all?

I'm also curious if there is a connection between type of users and scroll behaviour. I suspect that experienced web users (and also generation Y)  tend to scroll and scan pages a lot. Unexperienced users might scroll less or not at all? I often found this true when watching my mother surf the web but can't seem to find any research reports and hard data about this topic.

What are your thoughts?

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