1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

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Steve the Pocket
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1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:40 am UTC

Image

Mouseover caption: Maybe we should give up on the whole idea of a 'back' button. 'Show me that thing I was looking at a moment ago' might just be too complicated an idea for the modern web.

I remember when Firefox was kicking around the idea that certain sites, like Gmail, would be treated as "web apps" instead of simply HTML pages with a lot of interactive elements, and that if you viewed them in a particular mode, your standard browser toolbar would disappear and be replaced with one whose buttons were geared towards the site, as if it were a standalone program. The underlying idea, I guess, was that sites like that had already ceased to function like traditional web pages with predictably-behaving navigation buttons and we might as well go all the way. They implemented pinnable "app tabs" in Firefox 4, but I never heard anything else about the idea.
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby madaco » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:42 am UTC

chrome also has app tabs after a sort.
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:42 am UTC

I'm really wary of book technology because of those dangerous "worms" I've heard they can be infected with.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:55 am UTC

rhomboidal wrote:I'm really wary of book technology because of those dangerous "worms" I've heard they can be infected with.

Those sound scarier than paper bugs.
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby HoopleDoople » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:04 am UTC

I wish all web pages that use infinite scrolling would do the following:

1) Include a button to convert to a paged form
2) Indicate where each new page starts and give the page number
3) Have a "jump to page" feature

Without these features infinite scrolling web pages might as well be single use - trying to resume where you left off is always a nightmare.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Mirkwood » Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:56 am UTC

I don't like infinite scrolling, but at least they're not like those websites which are divided into pages, except you dynamically go from one to another, so the back button, history and other basic browser features don't work anyway. Whoever had the bold idea to dynamically display static content should be fed to a rabid goat.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby FLHerne » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:30 pm UTC

Meh. I like infinite-scrolling to the extent of using AutoPager to force everything to do it. :P
Who wants to find the fiddly little next-page button every minute or so, in a different place on each website, and have dozens of history entries for essentially the same thing? Place-finding is why CTRL-F exists. :roll:

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:I remember when Firefox was kicking around the idea that certain sites, like Gmail, would be treated as "web apps" instead of simply HTML pages with a lot of interactive elements, and that if you viewed them in a particular mode, your standard browser toolbar would disappear and be replaced with one whose buttons were geared towardsspace the site, as if it were a standalone program. The underlying idea, I guess, was that sites like that had already ceased to function like traditional web pages with predictably-behaving navigation buttons and we might as well go all the way. They implemented pinnable "app tabs" in Firefox 4, but I never heard anything else about the idea.

I use a couple of webapps through Chrome on a daily basis, Gmail and Google Play Music. They get their own launcher icons in the dock, and the windows they launch stay in that icon and don't have tab and address bars. There's no other difference, but it's enough to make them feel almost like native apps and keep things sorted. It does also keep me from accidentally exiting my music player or dropping a phone call when I'm trying to close a browser window.

Ubuntu's supposed to do something with quick-list items from the dock for special webapp pages, but I've not played with it (it only works with Firefox.)
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Mirkwood » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:57 pm UTC

FLHerne wrote:Place-finding is why CTRL-F exists. :roll:


But you can't use CTRL-F because once you reload the page most of it is hidden; you have to scroll by it first. (And scrolling down a whole lot to load more of the page before using CTRL-F can't be more convenient to you than just using the back button.)

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby RogueCynic » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:03 pm UTC

rhomboidal wrote:I'm really wary of book technology because of those dangerous "worms" I've heard they can be infected with.


Another reason to fear books: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/fifty-shades-grey-book-found-traces-herpes-cocaine-article-1.1520974
I hate accidentally pressing the wheel mouse nd having the automatic scroll kick in.
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby suso » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:31 pm UTC

Nothing I post here complaining about the problem will change the problem.
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Kos » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:31 pm UTC

Infinite scroll doesn't have this problem if it's implemented properly. Google "evil trout infinite scrolling" for a technical description (tl;dr: the page should update your URL as you scroll, so that you can go back to the correct place).

The same holds for websites with other forms of dynamic navigation.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby wolfticket » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:39 pm UTC

Reminds me of TV tropes.
Where of course massive pages are collapsed into alphabetical subfolders, which of course recollapse as soon as you click on a link or navigate away from the page.
This has the fun effect of not only meaning you lose your place, but you also can't even scan through and find your place again easily :x

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:28 pm UTC

Wait, is this about webpages where you can scroll continuously? Like when you have a scroll with the ends glued together instead of rolled on separate cilinders (this seems odd, why would one want that). Or is it like those pages that get longer as you scroll down (why on earth would you want that; although I do know these exist)? Or is it just about very long webpages (I don't mind those, that's what DSL is for, although I suppose those would be annoying on my phone).

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Western Rover » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:33 pm UTC

Even worse is every lengthy web page on an Android phone, where if the phone is in a bad mood when you try to scroll, it somehow interprets your scroll as a wish to go very fast to either the top or bottom. Now not only do you have to try to find where you were, but it's quite likely the phone will do it again as soon as you get close. (Seems to happen more often when the phone is still loading the page when you scroll, but can also happen after it finishes loading the page.)

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby rainspeaker » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:00 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:Wait, is this about webpages where you can scroll continuously? Like when you have a scroll with the ends glued together instead of rolled on separate cilinders (this seems odd, why would one want that). Or is it like those pages that get longer as you scroll down (why on earth would you want that; although I do know these exist)? Or is it just about very long webpages (I don't mind those, that's what DSL is for, although I suppose those would be annoying on my phone).


It's about webpages that get longer as you scroll down. Examples include Facebook's news feed and a lot of Tumblrs. They make a sort of sense in that they represent continuous linear information (eg. posts) continuously, and they don't require people looking through the feed/posts/whatever to periodically hit a next button (or to wait an absurdly long time for the whole stream to load).

Kos wrote:Infinite scroll doesn't have this problem if it's implemented properly. Google "evil trout infinite scrolling" for a technical description (tl;dr: the page should update your URL as you scroll, so that you can go back to the correct place).

The same holds for websites with other forms of dynamic navigation.


^^ this.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:29 pm UTC

Infinite scroll requires javascript (or some client-side scripting). Javascript can't be enabled just for that; it's all or nothing (NoScript lets you do it per site, but within a site, it's all or nothing). This opens the door for the site to run any other scripts it wants against your computer.

I have a problem with that.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby ManaUser » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:52 pm UTC

For certain things, like search results, it's usually OK. Because normally you do treat that as a one use page. But putting it on a blog makes no sense, unless you have such a low opinion of your own content that you're sure no one will come back after reading their initial helping of posts.

Then there's a whole separate issue that once you've scrolled down several "pages" worth, your browser still has to remember all the stuff above. Older browsers really suffer from this, but even a recent one may struggle a bit when it has to deal with 50 "pages" worth of content in one giant column. I suppose this part could be addressed by unloading stuff from the top as you go down, but that could get super annoying too.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby dii » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:26 pm UTC

Soundcloud does this :(

so annoying. Call me oldfashioned but I want my webpages in actual pages.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Plautdietsch » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:47 pm UTC

Really not a fan of infinite scrolling. Thanks to both the "losing your place" thing and "loading" thing. The next batch of entries/images/whatever do not always load automatically. Gah...

As for finding the "next/last" buttons: has anybody come up with keyboard commands that would do that automatically? I've started using more keyboard commands for web browsing in general. I've got this huge monitor and it seems like I run out of desk much too fast (or my friend Catherine is taking up half of it - big cat) and it's easier to press two buttons. Buttons that don't move and are of a decent size.

Seems to me you could code a page so that the next/last buttons are recognized by a browser for what they are, so you could have buttons onscreen that likewise would be the same from site to site. (For, you know, smart phones, tablets, etc.)

But I'm not a programmer, so what do I know?

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Flumble » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:27 pm UTC

Plautdietsch wrote:As for finding the "next/last" buttons: has anybody come up with keyboard commands that would do that automatically?

Often <backspace> takes you to the previous page. (unless a text box has focus — I hate those non-search-engine sites that automatically put focus on their search bar so I can't get back with backspace)
Otherwise <alt>+<left> and <alt>+<right> allow you to go back and forth.

Plautdietsch wrote:Seems to me you could code a page so that the next/last buttons are recognized by a browser for what they are, so you could have buttons onscreen that likewise would be the same from site to site. (For, you know, smart phones, tablets, etc.)

Not by means of an encapsulating page, because most websites don't like being embedded (it leads to security issues). But there is likely a plug-in for the browser that allows you to map keys to navigating back and forth in case you don't like the <alt> combinations.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby lgw » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:28 pm UTC

To me, both paging and infinite scrolling miss the point. Just have a freaking traditional scroll bar. No, you don't need to send all the content to the client just to draw that control on the screen, just send the first "page" and the total size. Even if the page doesn't keep track of where you were, you can just click the scrollbar to about the same place if you need to.

I really hate this new antipathy for controls on-screen. "This looks cluttered, so lets just take away all control from the user, that will make a nice clean UI". Man that pisses me off.
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Ray Kremer » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:55 pm UTC

If you touch the wrong thing you lose your place, if you close the book to leave and come back later you lose your place, and when you get enough pages in you have to worry about the book setting itself on fire.

HoopleDoople wrote:I wish all web pages that use infinite scrolling would do the following:

1) Include a button to convert to a paged form
2) Indicate where each new page starts and give the page number
3) Have a "jump to page" feature

Without these features infinite scrolling web pages might as well be single use - trying to resume where you left off is always a nightmare.


Amen.

Death to infinite scrolling!

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby ThoAppelsin » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:22 pm UTC

Infinite Scrolling is one thing that gives me a major annoyance whenever I encounter on a webpage...

You browse and scroll, browse and scroll
You check the scrollbar to see how much is left
You see that not much is left
Almost there, almost done

Bam, further content
Scrollbar shrinks, you get more to read
More to read so you may come to an end
Or not..?

Each time you scroll, you most definitely must be coming closer to an end
Although evidently you aren't, since you always have just as much left to scroll
every
single
time

It is like being an asymptotic curve
Being the 1/x curve going from x = 1 towards x > 1
And trying desperately to approach zero

It is like the Xenon Paradox
Taking steps from zero to one
Trying desperately to approach one, constantly having just as many steps left no matter how many real steps you take

Fuck infinite scrolling, I had seen the nightmare of this concept I tried to describe above when I was 7, sick, staying at home for a week during school time.
Infinite scrolling is just another realization of it, would be a good riddance if it was decided not to be used.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:34 pm UTC

Plautdietsch wrote:Seems to me you could code a page so that the next/last buttons are recognized by a browser for what they are, so you could have buttons onscreen that likewise would be the same from site to site. (For, you know, smart phones, tablets, etc.)

Didn't the world wide web start with this in the WorldWideWeb program only to lose it with wider adoption and new programs? I should hope this is still possible somehow.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:24 am UTC

Kos wrote:Infinite scroll doesn't have this problem if it's implemented properly. Google "evil trout infinite scrolling" for a technical description (tl;dr: the page should update your URL as you scroll, so that you can go back to the correct place).

The same holds for websites with other forms of dynamic navigation.

Wouldn't this have the problem of creating like 20 extra history entries to have to page back through as you scroll through the page? I imagine people would find that annoying too. I guess the best solution would be to somehow manipulate the Back menu so that if you click Back to the infinitely-scrolling page, it goes back to where you were instantly, clicking it again takes you straight to the top no matter how far you've scrolled, and clicking it again actually takes you back to the previous page.

lgw wrote:To me, both paging and infinite scrolling miss the point. Just have a freaking traditional scroll bar. No, you don't need to send all the content to the client just to draw that control on the screen, just send the first "page" and the total size. Even if the page doesn't keep track of where you were, you can just click the scrollbar to about the same place if you need to.

I'm not sure that's possible. The "total size" of a webpage isn't absolute and predictable, especially if the site isn't clamped to an absolute width either. Heck, most sites can't even be bothered to hard-code the sizes of embedded images so that they leave an accurate-sized space before they load in.
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby ManaUser » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:51 am UTC

Most books have an undocumented place recovery feature. What you do is close the book, rotate it so the spine faces down then slowly open it without touching the pages. That will usually open the last page you were reading. Talk about unintuitive ways to invoke a basic navigation command! Who comes up with this stuff? Still it does come in handy.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby ps.02 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:50 am UTC

rainspeaker wrote:Examples include Facebook's news feed and a lot of Tumblrs. They make a sort of sense in that they represent continuous linear information (eg. posts) continuously, and they don't require people looking through the feed/posts/whatever to periodically hit a next button (or to wait an absurdly long time for the whole stream to load).

Before we had infinite scrolling we had something almost as awesome: blog engines that featured navigation links relative to the most recent post (i.e., http:// .......?offset=10 to show the 11st through 20th latest). What a genius idea. It means if you start several pages back (because, I dunno, you actually think it makes sense to read chronologically instead of reverse-chronologically), each time you click Next, you run the risk of skipping one or more entries, if a new entry happened to be posted since your last page load.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Mirkwood » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:23 am UTC

ManaUser wrote:Most books have an undocumented place recovery feature. What you do is close the book, rotate it so the spine faces down then slowly open it without touching the pages. That will usually open the last page you were reading. Talk about unintuitive ways to invoke a basic navigation command! Who comes up with this stuff? Still it does come in handy.


This is a user exploit that can lead to memory leaks, hence why it's not documented. It's a known issue.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Bernkastel » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:13 am UTC

This is one of the myriad of problems I've experienced with "smart"phones or tablets.

- The device can decide to clear running app X from memory without asking.
- If you zoom in the browser, you might end up in a completely different place.
- When scrolling, the device can decide to suddenly unscroll your scrolling.
- If you accidentally touch anywhere on the screen, you're going somewhere without knowing where.

I still prefer the user interface of real books. No bugs and it works like you expect every time!

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby stickler » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:14 pm UTC

The most annoying thing about facebook (and such) is that it doesn't even support scrolling with the scroll bar. As soon as you get near the bottom of the page it makes the page longer, but because you are still holding onto the bar you scroll down past what you were looking for. Depending on the speed of your internet connection/computer you can end up scrolling down for meters, making it harder to use scroll bar for fine control.

Annoyingly however the effect cannot be exploited to load someone's entire timeline, as you need to start clicking a blue box at the bottom after a while.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Klear » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:14 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:Most books have an undocumented place recovery feature. What you do is close the book, rotate it so the spine faces down then slowly open it without touching the pages. That will usually open the last page you were reading. Talk about unintuitive ways to invoke a basic navigation command! Who comes up with this stuff? Still it does come in handy.


I really like books with bookmark feature, though they are getting rare these days. It works like a normal bookmark, only for physical books. Neat.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby bdag » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:38 pm UTC

Is 'right click' -> 'open in a new tab' too cliche?

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby wurlitzer153 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:56 pm UTC

I believe we talked about this recently over in Coding...

Yes we have

I said this in the other thread, in my opinion the most annoying variant is the "Load More" button on YouTube channels.

Load 30... OK
Load 30 more...
Load 30 more... click on a video
Go back to see the next video:
Load 30...
Load 30.....

Try doing this on a channel with 1000+ videos!

Also, it seems said button tends to stop working on Firefox after you go back to the video list. I have to completely reload the page before the load more button reappears. Terrible design!

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby russianspy1234 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:13 pm UTC

Thank you! I freaking hate infinite scroll, now that you've made a comic about it maybe websites will catch on.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby acoccimi » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:30 pm UTC

I like referring these pages as "bottomless pages" instead of "pages that use infinite scrolling" or "pages that scroll infinitely".

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby ManaUser » Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:34 pm UTC

Klear wrote:I really like books with bookmark feature, though they are getting rare these days. It works like a normal bookmark, only for physical books. Neat.

Oh I've seen those! But I can't remember the last book I had with that feature built-in. It's yet another sad example of the trend to oversimplify UIs. But you can still get bookmarks as an third party add-on. Of course it's probably another one of those things that voids your warranty. Whatever. I've almost never had any problems with them.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Klear » Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:49 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:
Klear wrote:I really like books with bookmark feature, though they are getting rare these days. It works like a normal bookmark, only for physical books. Neat.

Oh I've seen those! But I can't remember the last book I had with that feature built-in. It's yet another sad example of the trend to oversimplify UIs. But you can still get bookmarks as an third party add-on. Of course it's probably another one of those things that voids your warranty. Whatever. I've almost never had any problems with them.


Nah, I never use those. They distract me, and tend to slow the books down.

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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:02 am UTC

I'm a sucker for customization options, so I really like the graphical ones. I have a third-party bookmark tool that came with some Pony merch, and I use it fairly consistently, even in library and borrowed books. It's fairly lightweight and unobtrusive. The licensing is naff, though - I don't like that I can only keep my place in one book at a time. I wish there was a paid version or something that would allow me to keep my place in an unlimited number of books.
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Re: 1309: "Infinite Scrolling"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

wurlitzer153 wrote:I believe we talked about this recently over in Coding...

Yes we have

I said this in the other thread, in my opinion the most annoying variant is the "Load More" button on YouTube channels.

I think the worst part is that it's most common on websites that don't otherwise seem to care about bandwidth use anyway and assume everyone has a broadband connection so why can't they just send the entire page at once. On some of those sites this is a reasonable assumption (youtube is one of them) and a couple of million characters of text would indeed be insignificant.
ManaUser wrote:
Klear wrote:I really like books with bookmark feature, though they are getting rare these days. It works like a normal bookmark, only for physical books. Neat.

Oh I've seen those! But I can't remember the last book I had with that feature built-in. It's yet another sad example of the trend to oversimplify UIs.

I think the hard-cover editions from the Eragon saga has them. Actually I think most hard-cover non-study books still have them. It's mostly those flip-floppy pocket versions and those informational books that lack them (and why is a piece of cardboard so expensive when wrapped around a book instead of an identically printed piece of paper).


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