Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I've searched lightly on Google for an answer to a question that has been plaguing my mind lately, and I've yet to find an answer. My goal here is to spark a conversation. Before I ask you the question, I want to discuss scrolling.

For as long as I've used a computer, scrolling has been an important feature. Whether coding in basic, working in a word processor, or browsing the web, scrolling is an important feature. We've been given handy widgets on screen that we can manipulate with the mouse, but the advent of the scroll wheel made the job faster and easier. And, since we were all used to "scrolling down" by clicking the down arrow on the scroll bar or dragging the slider down the page, it was only natural that scrolling the wheel towards you would do the same thing.

I think a great deal of this has to do with what we call the top and bottom of the page. Page Up and Page Down mesh perfectly with scrolling as we've known if for years.

But it wasn't natural. My mind always thought it was backwards... I "scroll down" and the page itself moves ... UP.

Apple recently decided that scrolling should be "natural." And although it took me some time to come onboard, I agree. Natural scrolling makes sense! You move the page... not the scroll bar. To make things even easier, Apple has hidden the scrollbar by default.

This brings me to my question... A question that I've yet to find an answer in my own mind. When we want to have someone scroll towards the bottom of a page, we say "scroll down." To have them scroll towards the top of the page, we say "scroll up."

Is this still the correct way to refer to our scrolling? We're now moving our two fingers up the trackpad to "scroll down" which moves the page up. Conversely, we move our fingers down the trackpad to "scroll up" which moves the page down. Should we also change our vocabulary? Has this revolution in scrolling just confused things? Should we say "Scroll towards the top of the page?"

It seems only natural to question this advancement. What do you think?

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