I've got a mobile app where elements are displayed as a list (see illustration below) and all list elements fit on the mobile device's screen (total number of elements is 6).
What I've seen people doing in usability tests is trying to scroll down and up and get confused when nothing moves.
I can assume this is their behaviour as they are used to long lists in other apps where you scroll down to see the rest.
The question is if there is a way to display the elements intuitively so that users will understand that what you see is what you get and there are no more elements to scroll down to.


enter image description here

5 Answers 5


You are right, it's a natural thing to scroll down when you see a list with an arbitrary number of items.

If 6 is not arbitrary, then make sure your users are not expecting more or less.

On the other hand, there is no harm in scrolling up or down, the user quickly discovers that the entire list is on the screen and gets used to it. You can help that by using the same interaction tricks used for scrollable lists e.g. the elongation/spring effect from the top/bottom of the list.

  • Like the spring effect idea, I'll try it out, thanks Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 13:08
  • If there are other views in the app that do scroll, it's important that users know they can scroll in the app, just that they don't need to on this view. The spring effect conveys this well. Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 20:32
  • The spring physics effect is what people are used to. I'd also add some kind of minor element at the bottom to bound the list. Then if you need to extend your elements, you'll have a pattern to pick up on. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but if anyone else is involved in making decisions on this app I wouldn't count on that list staying in one screen forever. Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 21:59
  • I think the "spring physics effect" (AKA "rubber banding") is Apple specific - I believe they have enforced this patent. I suggest leaving the "end of scroll" indication up to the OS (or the browser) as that's what the user is used to.
    – obelia
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 19:09

Most of the people scroll-down because of a huge amount of websites and apps that are using it more and more.

I would use some typography and i would add on some distance from the bottom. Maybe something like a footer.

but i still think the average user is used to scroll "by default"

something like this


Visual cues can suggest there aren't more elements and that the complete "page" is visible and can't be scrolled.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

The inner rectangle groups the 6 items, suggesting a singular group, a panel that fills the viewport. The space above the top item and below bottom item show that there isn't another item above or below.

  • +1 This is the usual solution. The window frame lacks a cue, and placing the buttons in an inner frame or visually separating them from the background window (a drop shadow works especially well for the island border) is effective and the common approach.
    – tohster
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 23:59

For a simple solution to try: use a half-width, centered HR tag (or mobile equivalent) at the bottom and see whether your users continue to scroll up and down.


Look at the gestalt laws on wikipedia. Inclosure is the thing to go for!

(EDIT) Using the "Laws" of gestalt, especially inclosure, which states that things in an enclosure belongs together. This principle applies to the number of boxes shown on the screen in question. The screen affords scrolling, but inclose the boxes you show on screen within a rectangle or equivalent, should help to remove the ambiguity concerning whether more boxes are "hiding" out of sight due to screen-size.

  • 1
    Telling someone where to go to find an answer doesn't constitute an answer to the question. Can you elaborate on this - explain the relevant aspects of gestalt led and inclosure and how it relates rou the question asked?
    – JonW
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 8:22
  • Thanks for your feedback - I'm new in this forum so I'm just getting to know the "rules". Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 9:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.