PDF readers come with "Single page view" mode, when you scroll a page and when it hits the page break, the next page suddenly replaces the first one. Because my scroll-wheel bursts are much longer than the vertical margin (otherwise scrolling through a page would take ages), I always overshoot to the next picture. This is annoying since it makes me very nervous I feel distraction. Am I wrong?

I can always switch to the continuous mode but why is this mode not default? What do I miss?

migrated from productivity.stackexchange.com Aug 24 '13 at 18:32

  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about productivity. We cannot answer questions as to why particular defaults have been chosen for an application. – Rory Alsop Aug 22 '13 at 20:59
  • Sometimes page breaks are done on purpose, for example for clarity or ease of reading. In continuous mode, you will lose this and it may affect understanding. But overall, in my opinion, this shouldn't be an issue, unless the material is very badly edited. – Juha Untinen Aug 23 '13 at 7:49
  • How capturing feature of efficient reading is not a topic of productivity? – Val Aug 23 '13 at 7:57
  • Ok, I have realized that ux. stands for user experience rather than Unix. Might be this question is appropriate there. But, after all, should not be user experience be a particular case of productivity? – Val Aug 24 '13 at 10:18
  • I have the opposite issue by page should be he default! apple.stackexchange.com/questions/24359/… So needs to be user settable – Mark Aug 25 '13 at 14:08

Defaults are not always well thought. Don't assume that the person who wrote the program/OS/whatever you are using did his research and/or had a good sense for UX.

Often, when a new improved method comes along, old programs and OSes keep the old suboptimal defaults because they wrongly equate familiarity with usability or discoverability. See for example the useless "Apply" buttons that have been ubiquitous in Windows' preference panes for ages, even when OS X showed how it could be done better.

As a suggestion for increasing your productivity, it may be worth exploring the possibility of switching to a mouse which features continuous scrolling as opposed to discrete scrolling. I personally use Apple's Magic Mouse (although it is suboptimal for gaming and other specific tasks).

  • Wait, how can mouse affect the page abrupt flipping? – Val Aug 25 '13 at 6:01
  • Didn't you speak about scroll-wheel bursts? Tactile mice don't have scroll-wheel bursts, they have continuous scroll, like when using a trackpad. – Ricardo Sanchez-Saez Aug 25 '13 at 10:34

Ok, PDF readers are developed by people who think oppositely to what user wants

We UXers would be so happy if there was "what user wants". The truth is that different users want different things.

It so happens that you prefer a workflow for which continuous mode is more convenient. This is not universal! For example, my preferred workflow with PDF documents is to size the PDF reader window to roughly A4 size and then flip each page as if I were reading a book, using the arrow key on the keyboard. For this reason, I never use the continuous setting, as I find scrolling through a PDF disorienting.

As you can see, the UI which best supports these two different workflows is very different. So there is no way to make a program whose default settings were good for everyone. Indeed, if some feature has a perfect setting for everyone, it is not made a setting, but hardcoded.

You just happened to use a PDF reader whose authors choose as a default the setting which supports the "other" user group better, the users whose workflow is different from yours. They also gave you a simple solution: you can go to the preferences screen and change it. (I hope that they allow you to change the default as opposed to requiring you to change it again for each document, as that would mean that they did do a bad job after all). This is what I do all the time, because funnily, the PDF readers I use are somehow always set to continuous mode out of the box.

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