Besides the obvious:

  • Scrollbar
  • Touch interfaces (especially mobile ones)
  • A sign saying "You can scroll here you know!"

This for a desktop application.

  • 4
    Although users can scroll the content by touch interfaces, I cannot see how touch interfaces can afford scrolling. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 11:47
  • @Tsuyoshi Ito: WP: "An affordance is a quality of an object, or an environment, that allows an individual to perform an action." I'd say an affordance for scrolling is a part of that environment. "Swiping" if you will :)
    – Jonta
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 11:52
  • Thanks, I did not know that there are many meanings of the term “affordance.” Which meaning are you referring to? I only knew the meaning described in the section “Affordances as perceived action possibilities” in the Wikipedia article, and I do not think that touch screen does not have this perceived affordance (it does not suggest that users can scroll). Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 11:58
  • 5
    In that case, I consider that affordance is associated with half-visible text, but probably this depends on how we look at things. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 13:11
  • 2
    So are you asking for properties of the interface (e.g. the presence of a scrollbar), or the actions users perform in response to them? I think you mean the former but the touch interface in your list is confusing me. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


Besides the obvious...

An indication that what is on screen is not the complete content. For example:

  • Text stops mid sentence

  • A border box shows no bottom but has the left and right edges stopping at the bottom. Even more emphasized if they have drop shadows.

  • Text or lists that cut off the bottom half of a line.

  • Pictures cut in half

  • Long text which has a contents list at the top but only a subset of which is visible - and no other way of 'paging'. Faqs are an example of this.

Basic mobile phones use a section indicator which is not interactive but just shows that for this page you are on section 1 of 4 for example.

Familiarity and similarity to other pages where the user has become accustomed to a page having certain content - in particular 'end markers'. An example of this might be looking for a submit button at the bottom of a form, or the comment field at the bottom of a blog entry. The textual footer links on many sites are also common expected end markers.


A list of items with a scrollbar often also cuts off items or rows of text when they extend beyond the visible area - enhancing the effect. A web browser does it too, though the fold could be placed so it doesn't cut any by pure coincidence.

WP7 addressed this by indicating possible swipe actions by cutting off content and titles and also having entire screens intrude a little on their neighbours.

enter image description here

The home screen actually has (or had) an arrow icon besides the peculiar empty space on the right-hand side that tried to signal that there was more to see on the right. Also, the tiles are cut below the vertical fold as well.

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