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Across Apple's operating systems, the list ending is shown by a spring like action at the end of the list. If you try to scroll beyond the list, it acts like a spring getting stretched. Apparently, this is patented by apple and other OS have to use some other methods to show end of list.

What are the different methods used to convey end of list to the user?

  • Apple has done this as a fluid way to tell users "You've reached the edge - there nothing more". But am I the only one who thinks this is nothing more than an interaction-candy and it doesn't actually solve any usability problem? As far as mental models go, whether it's in real life or with interactive systems, users are aware they are scrolling a container with finite dimensions; so if the scroll stops, what else could be the reason other than "you've reached the edge"? I cannot think of anyone who flagged the stop-mechanism as an issue before the rubber banding was introduced. – Izhaki May 18 '14 at 21:22
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I believe that patented Apple end-of-scroll indicator is commonly called rubber banding. Some alternatives that I've seen on Android are

1) the final edge, the end of the virtual document, glows when you try to scroll past it.

2) the final page, beyond which cannot be accessed (because there's nothing there), tilts slightly. Your effort to push (scroll) past the last page tilts tilts the last page. This only fits well with a page scrolling model.

Neither of these indicators are as nice as iOS's rubber banding. They don't have the physical-realistic feel nor as clear a meaning as rubber banding. I think these alternative indicators would be helped by being augmented with both an audio "tick" and a short, sharp vibration (but both of those might have noticeable effect on battery consumption).

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One approach I've sometimes used for a button-operated device is to say that pushing and holding the control scrolls toward the end and stops when the end is reached, no matter how long the button is held. Pushing again jumps to the start, but stays there until the control is released and re-pushed. Pushing again will start scrolling forward from the beginning. If scrolling is done via swipes rather than buttons I'm not sure the design would come across perfectly, but scrolling to a screen that says "End of list reached--Moving to start" could probably work well if it was animated suitably.

Incidentally, I'm also not sure I'd call Apple's approach particularly novel, since it seems a lot like the behavior of some video games as far back as 1980 when the player tries to move in a disallowed direction.

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