It’s the weirdest thing. And it’s something I’ve never noticed until recently. I only read the top inch of a web page. Weird, huh? I think there are various reasons why; I use the bookmarks bar in Google Chrome very heavily and my mouse seems to hover around the top of the page constantly. And so do my eyes, apparently.
I can hear you asking two questions… Why do you know this? And why does it matter? Great questions, you!
There’s a modern design trend of having a minimal navigation bar slide in from the top of the screen when a user has scrolled the site’s logo and full menu off the top of the screen. Implemented well, this is an immensely useful tool. But implemented poorly, well, let me introduce you to The Age, one of Melbourne’s leading newspapers:
As you start to scroll an article the entire page will leap up a few pixels when the menu slides in. This is just lazy programming – there’s an offset incorrectly set somewhere and the page is trying to adjust its height to seamlessly accomodate the new menu; something you really shouldn’t see as a visitor to the site.
It’s at this point that my experience is jarred, because the new menu has just covered the thin portion of the page I read. So my reaction is to scroll back up, which on The Age triggers another section of the menu to show, before the whole panel disappears altogether. It’s a horrible experience.
Sure, I might be alone in the one-inch-page-readers club. If more people were having the same experience it would no doubt be fixed. It’s weird and insignificant, but I’d fix it if I could!
Have you noticed websites with content that jumps as elements scroll into, or out of view?