A few weeks ago, when I changed how the front page of this site works, I wrote about “streams”, infinite scrolling, and the back button:
Anyway, you’ll notice that the new home page of adactio.com is still using pagination. That’s related to another issue and I suspect that this is the same reason that we haven’t seen search engines like Google introduce stream-like behaviour instead of pagination for search results: what happens when you’ve left a stream but you use the browser’s back button to return to it?
In all likelihood you won’t be returned to the same spot in the stream that were in before. Instead you’re more likely to be dumped back at the default list view (the first ten or twenty items).
That’s exactly what Kyle Kneath is trying to solve with this nifty experiment with infinite scroll and the HTML5 History API. I should investigate this further. Although, like I said in my post, I would probably replace automatic infinite scrolling with an explicit user-initiated action:
Interpreting one action by a user—scrolling down the screen—as implicit permission to carry out another action—load more items—is a dangerous assumption.
Kyle’s code is available from GitHub (of course). As written, it relies on some library support—like jQuery—but with a little bit of tweaking, I’m sure it could be rewritten to remove any dependencies (hint, hint, lazy web).