In the webpage, are there still many people dragging scroll bar to scroll down/up instead of Using wheels on the mouse or just two fingers' swiping on laptop's touch pad. I know for most mac users they will use the touch pad or mouse wheel. But I think there still should be some number of PC users are using click and drag to control the scroll bar. Isn't it?

  • 1
    Even if people are not using the scrollbar, how does that affect your design?
    – Mervin
    Oct 12, 2014 at 6:40
  • @MervinJohnsingh There is a possibility to remove scrollbars on web pages. Maybe he/she is reinventing the way people interact with his/her content ?
    – the_critic
    Oct 12, 2014 at 9:29
  • @Mervin Johnsingh. Thanks for reply. Just like the_critic said, we're trying to re-invent a violator which will make the scrollbar move reversely with the action of scrolling down, which means that the user cannot control the scrollbar by dragging it.
    – Hao Wu
    Oct 12, 2014 at 14:32
  • @the_critic, you are smart :)
    – Hao Wu
    Oct 12, 2014 at 14:33
  • scrollbar move reversely - is that the same as the preference in OSX to change the scrolling direction (basically scroll wheels and touch pad gestures want to go different ways) One major point of the scroll bas is you can control by dragging - it is what was designed for)
    – mmmmmm
    Oct 12, 2014 at 15:38

3 Answers 3


Though I couldn't find any research data about whether people use the scroll bar or not,other than enabling users to scroll down the page, scroll bars also provide a visual affordance to users that additional content is present below which they must scroll to see. If you hide your scrollbar, users might be aware of the additional content and may not scroll down. To quote this article from Nielsen

  • Offer a scrollbar if an area has scrolling content. Don't rely on auto-scrolling or on dragging, which people might not notice.
  • Hide scrollbars if all content is visible. If people see a scrollbar, they assume there's additional content and will be frustrated if they can't scroll.

For example, if you take the image below

enter image description here

The scrollbar tells me that there is additional content which I can reach by either scrolling down using the mouse or using the scrollbar but most importantly it serves a s a visual affordance.

  • Thanks for your reply and your ref, Mervin. I am more concerned that will people literally click and drag the scrollbar to control the move of the web page.
    – Hao Wu
    Oct 12, 2014 at 14:37
  • This is a very good point and reminds me of the many web sites and applications that fade out or hide the scrollbar when it's not in use. You have to scroll just to see where you are rather than just giving it a glance.
    – Rob
    Oct 12, 2014 at 14:48
  • Nit: It's spelled "Nielsen" Oct 12, 2014 at 16:01
  • @Rob, yes, I agree. So what do you think about the user's habit of scrolling? Will some of them still scroll down/up by dragging the scroll bar? Is that common even when we have already gotten very mature tech of mouse wheel and double finger swipe for scrolling on the touchpad?
    – Hao Wu
    Oct 12, 2014 at 16:58
  • I think you mean "might not be aware of ..."
    – tvanc
    Feb 8, 2018 at 20:30

In my experience of usability testing — most people still use the scroll bars. Including Mac users.

  • Thanks for your reply. That's very helpful. Can you offer some related articles or online testing record if possible?
    – Hao Wu
    Oct 12, 2014 at 14:35
  • Do you have any numbers on this, like divided into user categories / ages, and what kind of user groups have you conducted these experiences on? +1 if you can enhance your answer :)
    – Velkommen
    Oct 13, 2014 at 8:51

This is just anecdotal being my usage.

I tend to use scroll wheels when reading a page and want to scroll a small amount, but if I have moved the cursor for some reason I might use the scroll bar.

However when I want to scan through a page or move to a given part (e.g. near the end) I will ouse scroll bars as they give an indication of where in the document you are.

  • Interesting sharing. Thanks for your reply, Mark :)
    – Hao Wu
    Oct 12, 2014 at 14:38

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