[thelist] vertical scrollbars

Barney Carroll barney.carroll at gmail.com
Sat Apr 27 08:25:36 CDT 2013

I think it's a bad idea, but don't have any links to qualify the notion. I
can try and argue them out ofof it though!

Disabling scrollwheel, space and page down as a standard means of
progressing down the page is a major loss of expected functionality.
Reading left to right, top to bottom, and then a further dimension of left
to right is a right pain — and you will probably have to divide the width
into screen-widths or regular columns; the extra design demands can be
difficult to swallow (instruct the user? Many systems do not provide
vertical scroll bars, relying on the universal knowledge that pages scroll
down; columnize, paginate?), technically implementing the right vertical
measures will be a chore (measure available width and height, divide text
flow appropriately? Scale everything down from pre-determined slides?), and
the extra inconvenience of the user in having to scroll to an arbitrary
location (scroll down a tiny bit and you will get a number of extra lines
of content - scroll right the same amount and you will get the first word
or so for the lines of the first column of the next 'page')...

It's also extra cognitive overhead just dismissing the muscle memory of how
to read and navigate a web page. Clients like little bits of cognitive
overhead because it gives them something new and fun to think about when
considering their new shiny thing, but people who stumble upon or seek out
their site won't have the same priorities in "how can I make this different
and fun".

Finally, I must point out that the 'above the fold' justification is a
grave incoherence. Even though the myth that "people don't scroll" has been
largely debunked (no studies to hand but try Googling for Jakob Nielsen's
findings), the notion that a vertical scrolling paradigm would be a
solution to the problem is a total fallacy. If people don't know how or
don't want to use the universal human computer interaction principle of
reading further down the page for the rest, what makes you think they'll be
more aware of or willing to scroll to the right?
On Apr 27, 2013 2:01 PM, "Bob Meetin" <bobm at dottedi.biz> wrote:

> I occasionally run into potential clients who see vertical scrollbars on
> some site and like them because it makes it easier to keep a page, like the
> home page, very contained, balanced column-height-wise, and mostly above
> the fold. Are there any usability studies or feedback that discuss them
> from the viewers' perspective?
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