Information scents rule!

I spoke at the OZ-IA conference yesterday and added my thoughts to the Long Pages Rule! and associated discussions (such as Millisa Tarquini’s article Blasting the Myth of the Fold at Boxes and Arrows).

It is information scent not long pages that rule. If you set off with the objective of designing a page so that it is long, you’re heading in the wrong direction. In my presentation I cited the example of Norway’s tabloid newspaper Vg. The homepage of Vg clocks in at a staggering 10,500 pixels. If you set off with the objective of creating a long page (because long pages rule) then Vg is what you could end up with.

Instead of focussing on length per se, I prefer to focus on the information needs of users. What is required on this page so that users can confidently step closer to the information they require?

Increased page length is often a by-product of creating stronger information scents, but it should never be an objective in itself.

The quantitative and qualitative research, and anecdotal evidence provided by Milissa Tarquini, Jared Spool, ClickTale, EyeTrack III and others all point to the fact that scrolling is becoming less of an issue for users. Lets take this as an opportunity to design better navigation pages with stronger information scents rather than longer pages simply with more ungrouped content and imagery.

My previous article about information scent can be found at


One response to “Information scents rule!

  1. Great presentation Iain, dispelling (or at least discussing) these myths are something we need to do more of.
    BTW thanks for your hand, a photo of which appeared on one of my slides 🙂

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