Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 10th Dec 2009 19:52 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces For as long as I can remember, I've been having issues with scrolling in Windows and its applications. When scrolling via dragging the scroll blob, it seemed as if Windows had the annoying habit of randomly resetting your scroll blob to its starting position, which irritated me to no end. It took me a while to figure out, but I finally know when this behaviour occurs - now I just need to know: why?!
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This matters!
by acrowland on Tue 15th Dec 2009 09:28 UTC
acrowland
Member since:
2009-12-15

I am very glad to have found someone bringing up this topic because even after more than 15 years using Windows, I still cannot get used to it. Thom is totally right about the 'hotspot' and reset while dragging being wrong, and here is why:

1. Once you start a drag on the blob, there is only one direction that has any relevance: up and down (in a vertical scrollbar -- side to side in a horizontal one. I'll just deal with vertical here). Any side to side movement of the mouse must be accidental and should therefore be ignored. The user can drag diagonally if they want to -- the blob should simply go up and down with the vertical component of the mouse's movement.

2. The OS should not permit movement of the mouse pointer outside the interior of the scrollbar. This effectively makes the movement infinite. If I want to scroll to the bottom (or top) of a document, I simply grab the blob and throw it at the bottom (or top) of the screen. It shouldn't matter that the window may not be maximised or that there is a border -- any vertical movement should have the right effect and if the mouse is restrained, I don't have to be careful about how far I move it. That is what I mean by 'inifinite'. In practice, however, if you move the mouse too far the thing bounces back to where it was. Very irritating. And slower, because you have to pay attention to the movement rather than just slamming the mouse up or down. Great for someone like me, whose co-ordination is not schooled by a wasted youth playing computer games. (They hadn't been invented. I'm that old.)

Remember when Windows 95's Start button was one pixel away from the edge of the screen? It meant you couldn't slam the mouse into the corner and click -- it wasn't infinite. This is why the Mac's menu at the top of the screen -- to get there, just slam the mouse upwards: it's infinite.

RiscOS on the old Acorn used to be like that: starting a drag would restrain the mouse rectangle to the scrollbar. It was great. Window's behaviour is for me the most annoying area where it really sucks and feels amateurish.

I also agree that having the arrows together makes more sense than having them at opposite ends of the bar, because it reduces mouse movement when scrolling up and down. RiscOS had the best of both worlds: the up and down arrows were in the same places as in Windows, but right-clicking would have the opposite effect. Not terribly intuitive, perhaps, but it chimed with that OS's use of the right button as the 'alternative' button (the middle one being menu).

I am going to disagree with having the movement proportional to where you click in the scrollbar. I often use clicking above or below the blob as an alternative to Page Up/Down -- I think it would be hard to judge how much movement a click would bring, and by moving one screenful at a time, you don't miss any of the document while scrolling up and down.

I certainly didn't know about Shift-click. How terribly unintuitive!

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