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March 5, 2011 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Is it time to get rid of the scrollbar?
posted by Artw (99 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Frankly, their solution looks more ugly and out of place. The nice thing about scroll bars is that they're an accounted for space, software knows not to put text or graphics there. The suddenly popping and seemingly too frigging large partial scroll indicator in the demo will intrudes out of the box. It's not a big deal on one hand, but it seems clumsily done for no strong reason.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:34 PM on March 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is it time to get rid of the scrollbar? And what, replace it with the overlay scrollbar? Um, ok. Also, something like this will be available in the next major apple os release.
posted by phaedon at 12:39 PM on March 5, 2011


I like it, especially for small-screen devices like netbooks. But then I'm forever clicking on a blank bit of web page and dragging, expecting it to scroll the way it does on my ipod.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:40 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it time to get rid of the scrollbar? Well, I am doing some house cleaning today....
posted by .kobayashi. at 12:41 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like it a lot. Scroll bars have always bothered me. They use up so much space on the entire page.
posted by rebent at 12:42 PM on March 5, 2011


I liked it, but it wouldn't work for touch devices would it.

software knows not to put text or graphics there
That's the problem. I am always amazed at the amount of real estate that scroll bars take up in software with a lot of panes, like Visual Studio, even when I have no intention of scrolling. The current scroll bar serves as an indicator of how big the content is as compared to the screen as well as a control to move the "viewport". This separates those two functions nicely.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:43 PM on March 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't tell from looking at that whether or how much it's good, but I support the idea of getting a better thing to replace the scrollbar, which I have always hated and used as little as possible. Someone might start by putting the up and down buttons closer together. Especially when you're using a touchpad, it sucks moving the mouse way up and down the screen. I just use the keyboard generally, but still. On principle.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:44 PM on March 5, 2011


I'd just be happy if hot corners were standard issue at this point.
posted by yeloson at 12:45 PM on March 5, 2011


They're not so much getting rid of the scrollbar as making it show/hide when needed.

That's like saying "We did away with boring channel controls on your remote!" by hiding them under a sliding panel. Now you have to search for the thing, you still need them to change the channel, and all you've really done is add a layer of obfuscation.

Judging by the title I imagined it might be a new way to envision one's place in a long document or set of contents. This looks more like "but this time, our wheels are round" syndrome.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:46 PM on March 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Actually the more I think about it, I think that whevever I moused over to the edge of the screen to select text it would pop up and I would be like "damn scroller thing , always popping up when I am trying to select text" so fuck this, it sucks.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:50 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the argument is a little fallacious. Their main conceit is to get those scroll bars "out of the way" so you can focus on what you are doing. Humans tune that stuff out. The bars are always there, like background noise; they blend in. However, making them a dynamic element will draw my attention to them, making them more obtrusive. These things are going to be flitting and flickering in and out of my focus, and the simple act of "getting out of the way" is going to be way more distracting than just staying put. That said, I appreciate this kind of experiment, and am not particularly attached to scroll bars anyways. Getting rid of them makes sense on a mobile device, where screen space is limited and mouse cursors don't exist, but making the argument for a desktop paradigm will be a lot trickier.
posted by iloveit at 12:50 PM on March 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


Is it time to get rid of the scrollbar?







































totally
posted by special-k at 12:52 PM on March 5, 2011 [50 favorites]


Interestingly, Mac OS X "Lion" is going to implement this feature.
A Lion scrollbar is a thin, free-floating grey bubble at the right and bottom window boundary. It fades out when its not being used, and fades in when scrolling occurs or the user mouses near the edge of the window. Most people don’t use scrollbars as more than a reference, so this is a worthy addition. Hopefully apple will still allow clicking on the scrollbar to jump a page or to a position, as this is a feature many people find incredibly useful.
posted by hippybear at 12:53 PM on March 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


What's the wimp tag mean?
posted by BeerFilter at 12:55 PM on March 5, 2011


What I'd love to see, actually, is apps and OSes stop using so damn much vertical space for menubars, status bars and other UI chrome now that widescreen monitors are the default. Not a huge issue if you're running a 27" Cinema Display or something, but with most low-cost laptops and netbooks having less than 1000px of vertical resolution, all that wasted space adds up pretty fast.
posted by arto at 12:55 PM on March 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


What's the wimp tag mean?

Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointers
posted by arto at 12:57 PM on March 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


oh dear god no, my dad is just getting used to using a scrollbar. won't someone please think of the children of the technologically challenged?
posted by raztaj at 12:58 PM on March 5, 2011 [16 favorites]


I almost never use the scroll bar so I'm happy to see it get hidden. I usually only use the PgUP, PgDn keys and the mouse wheel to scroll.
posted by octothorpe at 12:58 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Relatedly, it looks like GNOME 3 is losing minimize/maximize buttons. GNOME 3 is a pretty big overhaul of a lot of UI, it looks like.
posted by kmz at 12:58 PM on March 5, 2011


Ah, thanks arto!
posted by BeerFilter at 1:00 PM on March 5, 2011


I liked it, but it wouldn't work for touch devices would it.

It says it was inspired by touch devices, where you already don't use the scrollbar for scrolling (you use gestures). Compare this to how iOS iTunes scrolling works.
posted by aubilenon at 1:16 PM on March 5, 2011


Also, something like this will be available in the next major apple os release.

It's apparently going to be available in the next major Ubuntu release, which is Natty, which is next month, while Lion is out in summer.

WINNING!

posted by JHarris at 1:20 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


DAMN UNCLOSED i TAG
posted by JHarris at 1:21 PM on March 5, 2011


On the one hand I'm not married to the current scrollbar mechanism myself, but on the other hand my experience with the general public leads me to disagree strongly with the assertion stated here more than once that "nobody uses scrollbars anymore".
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:23 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


i've used OS X and I use Ubuntu (as my primary os) and I can say, Mark Shuttleworth, you are no Steve Jobs.

If the fucker would stop fucking around with the UI, maybe Ubuntu would get to that last 5% of QA stuff that would make it possible for me to recommend installing on friends computers after they get screwed by some windows virus/rootkit horror. It's almost there, but then I think about how the default media player totem gets goofy on half the DVD's you try(vs. say vlc), how the interface on vlc is horrible. how the system/preferences system/admin menu trees are byzantine and nonsensical. how weird stuff happens often enough and the ubuntu forums are full of empty question threads.

but no, he's trying to out-Jobs Jobs. when the netbooks first came out, and MS desperately wanted to kill XP, but Vista was a non-starter. Ubuntu had a perfect opportunity to actual reach regular users. But instead they tried to reinvent the UI wheel with the buggy, stupid Ubuntu-Netbook edition instead doing the basic QA work to get ubuntu onto every netbook out there.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:24 PM on March 5, 2011 [21 favorites]


It says it was inspired by touch devices

By moving the pointer towards the scroll bar you can detect a user's intent and display the thumb, can't really do this on a touch device there is no mouse pointer. Let's say they display the thumb when you are dragging the screen, there is no way to click the buttons on the thumb.

Touch screens need the ability to detect a finger just above the screen but not touching.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:25 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


See also Gawker 2.0.1.
posted by jessssse at 1:28 PM on March 5, 2011


octothorpe sez: I usually only use the PgUP, PgDn keys and the mouse wheel to scroll.

I recently adopted an Apple Magic Trackpad, which permits me the same functionality -- a two-finger swipe scrolls the page, replaces the scroll wheel. I can't remember the last time I actually clicked on the scroll bar. Between laptops and the proliferation of touch devices, it's become a graceful degradation requirement, serving a generation who learned with desktop computers or use old fashioned devices. Every kid I know has a laptop and a phone. They expect to touch.

However, I use the scroll bar to ascertain the length of the document I'm looking at. So there's still that. :)
posted by alexisallen at 1:29 PM on March 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


The point of it aping touch devices is that it only needs to show an indicator that there is more to the page, not that it should show a handle for moving the scrollbar when your fingers are near: on touch devices, just moving the page with your finger works to scroll. The hover-to-see-the-handle is an attempt to combine the gesture from touchscreen devices with the standard "here is where the scroll happens" location/expectation.
posted by tjenks at 1:29 PM on March 5, 2011


Ubuntu. Asking the questions that have already been answered by Apple.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 1:45 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Get rid of the title bar. I don't need confirmation that I'm running an app I've run every day for years. And put the menubar and toolbar on the same "line", to save vertical space. Or get rid of the menubar.

(In fact, I do all three in Firefox, on KDE: the "Chromi" window decorator gets rid of all but the right side of the menubar, overlapping the unused right end of the menubar. Then I use an extension to collapse the menubar to an icon on the toolbar, and shove the url bar onto the toolbar.

So vertically from top, I have one menubar-toolbar-urlbar-titlebar, on top of my tab bar. In Windows, there's no chromi, but there is a FF extension to do a better fullscreen.)
posted by orthogonality at 1:59 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


The great thing about computers is, it can be a preference ... those who want it can have it their way.

Unlike in meat space. In Wisconsin, the Governor gets to decide. And there are no "Like" buttons ... only "Submit".
posted by Twang at 2:07 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Funny. Saying it's time to get rid of the scrollbar makes me think, "Well, the scrollbar was invented to address a problem, and that problem didn't go away, so..."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:13 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's time to create infinity monitors.
posted by phaedon at 2:14 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This seems so small and obvious a point.

Scrolling has been moving from the GUI to pointing devices for nearly twenty years. IMO, the main reason scroll bars have so far survived is mouse scroll wheels are an abomination.

Multitouch pads and screens, however, offer very kinesthetically elegant ways of differentiating clicks from drags from swipes. Combined with the increasing adoption of momentum (inertial scrolling), scroll bars no longer need be so wide.

Many UI vernaculars would benefit if scroll bars were just wide enough to show viewport position and to indicate a clickable gutter for jumping.
posted by mistersquid at 2:15 PM on March 5, 2011


The design work behind this has been done by Christian Giordano, who worked through the corner cases (literally)

Worth it just for that.
posted by yerfatma at 2:16 PM on March 5, 2011


you can have my scrollbar when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
posted by jb at 2:19 PM on March 5, 2011


actually - mr jobs, please add a functional scroll bar to the iPod safari so I can skip to the bottom of a web page without having to push the whole damn page with my thumb. kthxbye.
posted by jb at 2:22 PM on March 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


Please, no more things that auto hide and pop out over your content when the mouse happens to be near the edge of the screen. Bad bad idea. Just accept that the fucking scrollbar is worth the space it takes up because it is both a control and an indicator of how big the document is and where you are in it.

It is not worth the extra screen real estate if the cool content occupying that real estate gets hidden by some popup horror every time the damn mouse wanders near an edge.
posted by localroger at 2:27 PM on March 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Scrolling has been moving from the GUI to pointing devices for nearly twenty years. IMO, the main reason scroll bars have so far survived is mouse scroll wheels are an abomination.

Never giving up my scroll wheel or the mouse itself. I hate touch pads and especially hate scrolling with them.
posted by octothorpe at 2:27 PM on March 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Scroll off my lawn
posted by memebake at 2:30 PM on March 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like this idea, although I'm not sure about the exact implementation yet. I am often frustrated by how much space the scrollbars take up, especially when I am trying to tile multiple windows on the screen.
posted by grouse at 2:31 PM on March 5, 2011


The goal is to help people immerse themselves in their stuff, without being burdened with large amounts of widgetry which isn’t relevant to the thing they are trying to concentrate on. And when it comes to widgetry, there are few things left which take up more space than scrollbars.

This on a website where a good third of the content is links to their other blogging shit, tags, archive links, and a twitter stream. Physician, heal thy self!
posted by munchingzombie at 2:41 PM on March 5, 2011


I am always skeptical of schemes to impose new methods on, and take up the learning time of, literally hundreds of thousands of people, based on a few people's idea of what's more elegant. To consume the thousands and thousands of person-hours involved in discarding a paradigm as established as scroll bars and mouse wheels, it better be an order of magnitude better. This doesn't look like an order of magnitude to me.
posted by tyllwin at 2:46 PM on March 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


In Soviet Russia, bar scrolls you!
posted by bicyclefish at 2:47 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, this is Linux, so when it does get rolled out my guess is that you will be able to
posted by Ritchie at 3:12 PM on March 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Please, no more things that auto hide and pop out over your content when the mouse happens to be near the edge of the screen. Bad bad idea.

I've been wrestling with this. I use this little application called SideNote for persistent tracking/productivity text editing -- I mouse hard-right on the screen, and this little drawer of text pops out of the right side of the screen. It's a good way of breaking out of the flow of what I'm doing right now for quick reference or notetaking.

The problem is that I haven't found a way of setting this up in such a way that it's both a convenient trigger action and also won't interrupt other activities near the right edge of the screen. So, I'm fiddling in Illustrator or Fireworks or something with a scrollbar or a toolbar on the right side of the screen and it gets too close to the trigger point (which isn't, unfortunately, just the last pixel on the right side) and BAM, out pops the drawer, focus (both UI and personal) goes away from what I'm doing.

The answer is probably in some hotkey setup instead of right-screen triggers.

I suppose I can see that for some applications that are largely about reading/readout and there's very little interaction that goes on inside of a window, I could see a transient scroll ui providing some marginal benefit. But it's marginal enough I'm not really convinced about the benefits.
posted by weston at 3:12 PM on March 5, 2011


"Touch screens need the ability to detect a finger just above the screen but not touching."

...especially the all important middle one.
posted by markkraft at 3:12 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I were Steve Jobs, I'd add a waving American flag or dancing fat guy to the bottom right corner of the screen. It's functional aesthetics, as it reminds users that life isn't all bad and keeps them working happily on whatever their project may be.

GET ON IT, SHUTTLEWORTH!
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:14 PM on March 5, 2011


It isn't time to get rid of the scrollbar, but I'm cool with scrollbar-improving innovation. I even use the NeXT style scrollbar on my mac. But only ironically.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:14 PM on March 5, 2011


I'd certainly be happy with a scrollbar that auto-hid on the right border inside of the window, appearing when you move your mouse into the rightmost area, and then vanishing when the mouse moves out of that area.

Perhaps it might be even partially transparent, if it's really essential to see what's under it as the content is scrolled.
posted by SteelyDuran at 3:34 PM on March 5, 2011


If scrollbars are changed to overlay window content, I will start adding a column of overlapping fake scrollbar images to the right edge of every web page I design. Just to remind people that passive UI elements should never obscure active content.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:59 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's get rid of the mouse and pointer an all that goes with it. All these stupid websites with rollovers and onhover events, which are totally useless when browsing from a multi-touch device.
posted by humanfont at 4:00 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes it looks nice. But do I regret switching to Debian to avoid being a UI lab rat every time Ubuntu releases.

NO.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 4:04 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


tl;ds
posted by phaedon at 4:07 PM on March 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


I was willing to consider the idea until I saw it was being proposed by Mark Shuttleworth. Evidence has shown that is the last person that should be in charge of UI design.
posted by DU at 4:21 PM on March 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, of all the UI features to be grumpy about. Lets just go back to using the arrow keys to move down a page.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:23 PM on March 5, 2011


I don't see why the ease mouse interaction is that important at all. I almost never scroll using the widget. I use the keyboard or the scroll wheel except in the rare case that I need to go to a particular position on a really long page. When I do, I'd be happy to interact with one of the thin scroll bars shown in the video in the same way as a regular scroll bar. No need for any distracting things popping up just to make it a little easier to aim.
posted by obvious at 4:31 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never scroll using the actual scrollbars unless I'm forced to. On the web, I use the space bar, the scroll wheel or the middle mouse button. However, I do value the scroll bar as a visual marker of how far along I am in a long web page or thread.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:35 PM on March 5, 2011


actually - mr jobs, please add a functional scroll bar to the iPod safari so I can skip to the bottom of a web page without having to push the whole damn page with my thumb. kthxbye.


See End of page a Safari bookmark-let that solves this little.
posted by humanfont at 4:54 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"actually - mr jobs, please add a functional scroll bar to the iPod safari so I can skip to the bottom of a web page without having to push the whole damn page with my thumb. kthxbye."

Atomic Web is a great browser alternative, think it's a buck. Has lots of configurable two and three finger gestures, including the ability to double swipe to scroll all the way to the top/bottom. It's close to what I imagine Firefox would be on iOS, certainly miles better than Safari. And if you've jailbroken your device you can install browser switcher so links in other apps will open it instead of Safari.

I'm gonna check out humanfront's solution too, as there are a few random sites that'll only work right with Safari proper.
posted by aerotive at 5:03 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out how a scrollbar "takes up a lot of screen space." What kind of jumbo scrolling are they doing? This strikes me as a solution attempting to play up the significance of the problem.

If you must implement this, please make it an adjustable preference.
posted by Existential Dread at 5:47 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


No. The lifehacker/gawker/etc. new lack of it often means that my middle scroll button works but there's no other indication of more content in the scrollable div on the page.

Content I can't see and don't know about is content I won't come back to look for.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 5:56 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


octothorpe wrote "I hate touch pads and especially hate scrolling with them."

I agree completely. Except on a Mac. Every time I have to use a Windows system touchpad I want to stab it. But even on my 4-year-old MacBook the touchpad is awesome.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:03 PM on March 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've used a recent Macbook touchpad and hated it even more since there aren't separate mouse buttons and you have to actually push down on the pad itself to click the mouse. It was pretty much the most annoying user interface device that I've used in years.
posted by octothorpe at 6:11 PM on March 5, 2011


DU: "I was willing to consider the idea until I saw it was being proposed by Mark Shuttleworth. Evidence has shown that is the last person that should be in charge of UI design."

Yeah, I was pretty horrified when they announced that Unity was coming to the desktop.
I mean, I think the Linux desktop needs a lot of work, but they seem set on dumbing everything down where it shouldn't be (Unity) and keeping everything in the Dark Ages when it could be made so much better (proper application bundles residing in an Applications folder instead of this package manager nonsense.)
My theory is that these design choices are made from a sysadmin's point of view- make it super easy for even the most feeble-minded user to find out how to get Facebook (hence "Firefox Web Browser", "Pidgin Instant Messenger" etc) but be conservative with the app installation and administration tools so nothing gets shaken up too much.

Personally, I think the Linux desktop should be burned down to the kernel and rebuilt anew as a purpose-built desktop OS. But we were talking about scrollbars.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:12 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Scroll bars aren't the problem—horizontal space, I've got in spades. Widescreen monitors, dual displays...we've never had more horizontal space to play with. I need more vertical space, not more horizontal space.

Title bars that are 70% unused space, menu bars that can't be docked next to toolbars, toolbars that become unusable when docked on the side of a window instead of the top or bottom, the goddamned "ribbon bar"...all robbing me of precious pixels. A pox on all of 'em.
posted by Lazlo at 6:21 PM on March 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've used a recent Macbook touchpad and hated it even more since there aren't separate mouse buttons and you have to actually push down on the pad itself to click the mouse. It was pretty much the most annoying user interface device that I've used in years.

I prefer that configuration, but you can go to System Preferences in the Apple menu and enable tap to click.

Then we can talk about the annoying split mouse button on Win books.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:22 PM on March 5, 2011


Ubuntu. Asking the questions that have already been answered by Apple.

Except for 'can I have a package management system that isn't on crack'?
posted by jaduncan at 6:33 PM on March 5, 2011


I prefer that configuration, but you can go to System Preferences in the Apple menu and enable tap to click.

Yea, no thanks. I want buttons to be actual physical buttons. If I had a MacBook, I'd use a separate mouse with two buttons and scroll-wheel.
posted by octothorpe at 6:44 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I had a MacBook, I'd use a separate mouse with two buttons and scroll-wheel.

As much as I love the gestural features of my new macbook's trackpad (why can't windows laptops get this right?), the clickable trackpad drives me crazy. I used click with my thumb. Now if I do that it registers a "two finger click", unless I keep my thumb down at all times... and bootcamp gets it even worse. I'm trying to retrain myself to just click with my pointing finger, but the pad is VERY hard to click near its top. FRUSTRATING.

/derail.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:07 PM on March 5, 2011


I used click with my thumb. Now if I do that it registers a "two finger click", unless I keep my thumb down at all times... and bootcamp gets it even worse. I'm trying to retrain myself to just click with my pointing finger, but the pad is VERY hard to click near its top. FRUSTRATING.

Just turn off tap to click. Gesture, e.g. scrolling, still work, and you click with your thumb AS GOD INTENDED as per usual.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:15 PM on March 5, 2011


End of Page -- and it's sister Bookmarklet, Find in page -- is awesome. Now, is there an app that would allow me to copy selected text in safari?

(I probably should just ditch safari, since it suxors. But my iPod isn't jail broken, and I hate having to have two browsers just because the undeleteable one isn't very good. Having unused programs offends my sense of device tidiness.)
posted by jb at 7:35 PM on March 5, 2011


Now, is there an app that would allow me to copy selected text in safari?

Did you try double-tapping?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:37 PM on March 5, 2011


That said, End of page still isn't quite as good as a proper scrollbar -- with which one could go 1/2 way or 3/4 of the way at a whim - would be.

scrollbars are wonderful, and I used them constantly on my desktop.
posted by jb at 7:38 PM on March 5, 2011


It's difficult to say anything about Unity without understanding that it exists within the context of choice. If you're running an Ubuntu machine right now, you've got the choice between two full-featured window managers, about five or six stripped down window managers, and no less than four netbook-style managers, including Unity. The more tech-savvy you are, of course, the easier it is to run a different or multiple managers, to say nothing of installing a different Linux distribution altogether.

Put me in a separate camp: a reasonably tech-savvy guy who still gets super-frustrated by how ugly and hard to use computers can be sometimes. When I traded my laptop out to run a netbook exclusively, Unity was at first a huge stumbling ground. As I've spent more time with it, though, particularly with the indicator applets and the program bar on the side, I realize Shuttleworth et al are onto something that is, at the very least, interesting (if not revolutionary). They're re-imagining how a GUI is supposed to look, from the ground up. Going with a minimized, low-profile scrollbar is just the latest in a series of rethinks that has included extensive reimagining of what a system tray is, for instance.

At least once a week I will read about something on OMGUbuntu for Unity that will make me say "Huh!" out loud, because it's made a process I accepted as difficult / clumsy / ugly a little or at lot less of those things. As a counter to the feature gloat floating around Redmond, Unity's developers are constantly thinking about how to reduce the barrage of indicators and buttons and inputs ordinary users have to think about to do something simple like check their e-mail.

But, again, if you don't like it, getting rid of it is as easy as changing your default window manager. Takes all of three minutes.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:27 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't that what the "Pg Up" and "Pg Dn" buttons are for?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:04 PM on March 5, 2011


The fold is dead. Long live the fold.
posted by furtive at 9:15 PM on March 5, 2011


Begging your pardon, but without a scrollbar I'll have to wait for the entire image to download in order to realize that there might be more actors or scenery in the adult image I'm viewing that may add to or enhance my masturbatory experience.

And really, who has time for that?
posted by Graygorey at 10:47 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


desktop has a scrolling wheel..
laptop supports multitouch scrolling..

approved.

(I cant remember the last time i actually clicked on the scrollbars anyway)
posted by 3mendo at 10:57 PM on March 5, 2011


l33tpolicywonk: But, again, if you don't like it, getting rid of it is as easy as changing your default window manager. Takes all of three minutes.

I've always found that replacing the window manager in Linux tends to break most distributions. It isn't obvious, but things just don't work as well afterward - programs you install don't create icons, configuration options affect the wrong things, etc. It's an unspoken assumption in Ubuntu that you kept using Gnome, and when you break that assumption, little inconsistencies appear all over.

The default UI is always the most consistent and best supported, so it really needs to be good. That's why it's really annoying when Ubuntu messes with their UI. User interface isn't just about quality anymore - there are little shared conventions that PCs, Macs, and Linux generally share. Violating those conventions is something that just shouldn't be done lightly, at least with the default install.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:59 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have PLENTY of horizontal room on my annoyingly widescreen laptop.
posted by ropeladder at 11:24 PM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm super satisfied with the MacBook trackpad and I'm surprised that is causes so much frustration for you. Perhaps a class at the local Apple Store or one on one tutoring session will at the genius bar change your mind. By which I mean brainwash you into the cult leaving you with a multithousand dollar creditcard bill as they transform you to an iLife. The Apple universe delivers bliss through touching Steve's magical gear.
posted by humanfont at 12:03 AM on March 6, 2011


Hey, I need the scrollbar to adjust the Mefi favourite filter on those longer threads...
posted by yoHighness at 2:12 AM on March 6, 2011


is "No" no longer an option?
posted by xqwzts at 2:38 AM on March 6, 2011


Funny, looks to me like what they've done here is reskinned the default scrollbar. Now it doesn't have the whole bar behind it, and it's just a tab that you can scroll with.

It's a pretty logical innovation, although it doesn't strike me as much to be excited about... unless you're on a low-rez display, which I guess is the target market (netbooks) for a lot of Ubuntu installs.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:36 AM on March 6, 2011


I don't like it. The scrollbar provides an immediate indication of a page's length, and your position on the page, neither of which can be determined from the overlay. There are also really handy ways to make use of the scrollbar like how Chrome uses it to mark all instances of the Find function so you can see at a glance the frequency of a keyword and jump to them as you wish.

It strikes me as a solution looking for a problem, and the kind of innovation that we would later regret just like how various odometers that were replaced by digital meters lost vital spatial information used in assessment (see: Distributed Cognition).
posted by tybeet at 7:27 AM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The scrollbar provides an immediate indication of a page's length, and your position on the page, neither of which can be determined from the overlay.

It seemed to me that you could determine this, just with the use of far fewer horizontal pixels.
posted by grouse at 7:33 AM on March 6, 2011


Sure, but then you might as well have those pixels being used as a scrollbar.

As it is, the scrollbars in windows could be, say, 15-50% of their current size without any lost functionality. But I'm also not seeing how screen real estate would be vastly improved by an additional 20-30 horizontal pixels, even on my 11" screen.
posted by tybeet at 8:32 AM on March 6, 2011


I often work with multiple tile windows vertically, and all the space devoted to scroll bars for each window is frustrating.
posted by grouse at 8:47 AM on March 6, 2011


like how Chrome uses it to mark all instances of the Find function so you can see at a glance the frequency of a keyword and jump to them as you wish.

:O

how did I not notice this
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:48 AM on March 6, 2011


Rebent, surely you jest.
posted by joeclark at 9:21 AM on March 6, 2011


like how Chrome uses it to mark all instances of the Find function so you can see at a glance the frequency of a keyword and jump to them as you wish.

Oh yes, I love that. It is a nice idiom. Eclipse has different notifications that show in the side area of the editor. (but the user prefs in eclipse are an abomination and I'm not recommending anyone copying how eclipse handles things)

With devices that have keyboards, I try to set it up so that I can use key sequences to jump around. scrollbars in terminal windows really suck if you need to search backwards. (gnu screen lets you use vi keys). never got the nack of using vimperator, though.

window gutters are nice for showing line numbers, size of a doc, highlighted thingees... they shouldn't get rid of that. I guess maybe instead of a mouse there could be something god awful modal where the screen is ghosted over with the information and then new keys and gestures could be blah blah blah
posted by bleary at 10:03 AM on March 6, 2011


Someone might start by putting the up and down buttons closer together.

OS X: System Preferences > Appearance > Place scroll arrows together
posted by kirkaracha at 10:16 AM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see how this would prevent Chrome et al. from displaying stuff in the scrollbar-area. Just use colored blocks, hovering over the page the same way as the scroll-tab itself.

Also, the up and down buttons close together is the default in KDE.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:48 AM on March 6, 2011


1. take a scrollbar
2. remove the background texture (the 'track' on which you slide the 'tab')
3. shrink the tab horizontally (no change to its vertical size, scale according to % of page viewed, as normal)
4. change tab to flat colored box, no texture
5. "no scrollbar"
posted by LogicalDash at 12:10 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is such a mixed bag. Scrollbars are an ancient UI widget and can waste screen real estate. This is a good step a tweaking them but I'm starting to hate hover-popups with such a fury that I'm not sure I'd like this. I also agree with the the widespread observation that saving horizontal real estate is solving the wrong problem. Frankly, text that is too wide is difficult to read anyway. It's the vertical real estate that I care about and seems to be frivolously wasted on menu bars, address bars, title bars, and other stuff that really doesn't need to be always visible.

I would absolute embrace this for multi-pane applications but I wouldn't be so happy with it in general.
posted by chairface at 1:09 PM on March 6, 2011


As seems usual these days, someone is trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. The scrollbar is a perfectly functioning part of the screen that gives a visual clue to how much more content is further down the page, allows the user to quickly navigate to anywhere in the page and doesn't keep changing the way the screen looks all the time. If this idea really saves space, it would have to overlay the page content and either cover it at the wrong times or re-draw the page to make it narrower by the width of the scroll widget, both of which are worse than what we have now.

I wish scrollbars were added to Safari for iOS, because I get sick of trying to swipe all the way to the bottom of a page.
posted by dg at 7:19 PM on March 6, 2011


I've been using Ubuntu as my main OS for about 4 years. I'm about due for a new computer, and Windows 7 is looking appealing. I hate OSx. I bought a Macbook just to try it. I hate my Macbook for its missing buttons and keys, and why did I have to pay for the fucking glowing logo? But to be fair, I rather hate laptops anyway.

But over the course of 4 years, I've seen Ubuntu do its steady stream of "updates", and I'm very unimpressed. I've grown sick of software that is lacking polish. Why in hell is there no decent tool for browsing and sorting photos? Or far worse, why must the file browser choke so bad on a photo directory with over 2000 photos? Is this 1982?

Which leads me to scroll bars. So many folks here are saying "I don't use them, so they are useless!" Well la fucking de fucking da. And people who stay home don't need shoes, so shoes are useless.

I do use scrollbars. I'll grant you, when I use them, they don't entirely function in my favor, and function can be improved. But seriously, the indicator function is important, the positional indication is important, and too often, I need to get around.
posted by Goofyy at 10:25 PM on March 6, 2011


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