I absolutely hate the dynamic loading design. Ever since slashdot switched to it, I’ve been using their /archive.pl page.
It’s a nice idea in theory, but in practice it doesn’t work. I have less friction when using a paginated page, because I always open the next 5 pages as new tabs so that they can load in the background. I can’t do this with the dynamic design - I have to wait a second for each page to load. It’s also a pain if I just want to skim the results, due to the breaks between pages.
give the user a means to control either the initial number/proportion of items loaded, so that someone who is going to read the entire thing can just set it to 100% and have it load for them
Actually have the pages load seamlessly by caching them beforehand. The browser shouldn’t wait until you reach the bottom of the page to start downloading the next one; it should start the moment the first page is done, and download the 3rd the moment it starts to display the 2nd page.
Or better yet, download the first 10 pages with the first, but don’t display them until the user scrolls to them.
There are two problems here: downloading all that data takes a while, and displaying all that data makes it unmanageable. Trying to deal with both at the same time only confuses the issue and neglects part of it.