The Usability Post
Thoughts on design and user experience by Dmitry Fadeyev

The Elusive Footer

Here’s a curious design oversight–something I’d like to call the elusive footer. You’ll find an example of one on 37signal’s Sortfolio site. Visit the site and you’ll quickly find that it’s very difficult to see the site’s footer. It exists, but whenever you scroll down, more portfolio results are loaded in the content area, pushing the footer out of the view.

sortfolio

Above you can see me momentarily catching the footer. In a second, the spinner on the right will finish loading and more results load up, hiding the footer once more. The same thing happens on the redesigned Google Image search pages:

google images

Scroll down, and more results load, pushing the footer down and out of sight. I’ve had to scroll down a while to actually get to the bottom of Google Image search.

Now, this wouldn’t be a big problem, except that the footer in both cases contains some useful stuff. 37signals footer contains contact information. Google Image search has a bunch of useful links–one which switches the search interface back to the Classic image search, something I like to use. Having to scroll down past hundreds of results to get to think useful link doesn’t provide me with the best user experience.

I think in the cases where you’re loading more and more content the stuff in the footer should be moved elsewhere, probably to the sidebar or the top, so that’s it’s easily accessible.

“For even falsehood, uttered by the tongue of man, seemed like truth and light before this hopelessly-deaf and unresponsive silence.”

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Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

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