I rarely disagree with Lukas Mathis, but in this case he is incorrect:

Scrolling affords a completely empty kind control. The user is doing more, she’s controlling more, but she’s not actually achieving more.


Pagination gets out of the way. Read a page. Push a button. Read the next page. Repeat. No needless interference with the actual text being read, no unnecessary interactions that could pull the reader out of the book’s world.

In an ideal world, he is correct, but on the web he isn’t correct. Let’s use Instapaper as an example since it pulls all pages of an article and allows scrolling or pagination. The pagination is a great touch, but it leads to a broken reading experience in my usage.

Why? Because an algorithm not a human chose the pagination points. A well designed and devised pagination system — from the author — works well because the author can choose a natural break point.

So in Instapaper I scroll, because the reading experience is more fluid and less broken. I like pagination in reading apps, but I much prefer a fluid reading experience. So scrolling is still the best in my mind.

Posted by Ben Brooks