When referring to 'scrolling' up/down a page it is intuitive to use the word 'scroll' on a traditional screen (non-touch), because of the mouse scroll wheel etc.

Is it as user-friendly to refer to the same action using scroll for touch-screens?


  • Smart Phones
  • Tablets
  • Touch-screen computers
  • etc

Is there a better / alternate wording?

"Swipe down" perhaps?

  • 4
    The word "scroll" doesn't come from the scroll wheel - the wheel is named after the action. It's a metaphor for moving through a scroll, printed material bound into a long rolled sheet instead of bound into pages. Sep 16, 2014 at 8:49

2 Answers 2


Based on a quick Google search, the major players are still using the word "scroll" in conjunction with touch screens.

Apple - "navigating your Mac using your fingers to tap, scroll, pinch and swipe feels perfectly natural."

Microsoft - "How to do it: swipe your finger across the screen. What it does: scrolls through what's on the screen."

And so on. I don't think there's any problem with using this term. "Scrolling" refers to content larger than the screen that you can move through gradually. It doesn't imply a particular method of causing this action. You can scroll with arrow keys on your keyboard, a mouse, a mouse wheel, or a touchscreen.

  • Thanks for the research! I thought it does make perfect sense to leave it too.
    – Möoz
    Sep 16, 2014 at 22:27

I think you can find clarity by asking yourself this question:

Am I referring to what's happening to the content on the screen or to what the user does to cause that response?

If you refer to the user's gesture/action, then swipe or flick is appropriate, but if you refer to the content, then scroll is probably a better choice.


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