150

It is a skeumorphic depiction of notching, indicating that the area can be pulled/dragged. Similar to the notching on the end of the gun slide (providing extra grip to the fingers). This appeared as early as Windows 98 (see the bottom right corner of window). Edit: This is not unique to guns, but more of an industrial design technique. See here the battery ...


117

Yes there should. Visible scroll bars are an affordance "this page is scrollable" Without visual hints such as this the functionality might be missed.


105

While Bowen's gun example is decent, an even better example would be the back of your TV remote control (or many other devices that store batteries under a slide cover): The notching on the pistol, the battery cover, and plenty of other everyday items are primarily to provide extra friction/grip for your fingers, while also pointing out the best place to ...


104

Some modern design guidelines certainly disprefer persistently-visible scrollbars, but not all. For example, in the Material Design guide, for menus, if a menu is scrollable, it should show a scrollbar. In any case, if your content is scrollable, it should be clear from looking at it that it affords scrolling. It's up to an individual designer or guideline ...


99

Hiding the scroll bar is a bad practice, for a few reasons: some people do not have a scroll wheel - just as you're worried. Some laptops have trackpads with bad scroll detection. Just like how that impoverished county an hour away counts as "3rd world economy" by international standards, so too today do we find unusual relics of usability times 'long ...


63

As a mouse user, I abhor scrollable content that doesn't give me a view of and access to scroll bars. The scroll bar is a control. It allows me to quickly navigate large pages no amount of finger-scrolling, scroll-wheeling, etc. can compare with. It also gives me more precision for most pages than my scroll-wheel. The scroll bar gives me information. It ...


26

Overall, I believe hiding the scrollbar is bad practice. Even if everyone has a scroll-wheel on their mice, people are still prefer the scrollbar to go up and down a page. Also people might become intimidated by the lack of a scrollbar since the bar is an indication that there's more to see on the page than you currently see.


26

This viewpoint comes primarily from the Mac environment, where scrollbars are typically displayed briefly when content first appears, then fade out. When scrolling occurs (user triggered or otherwise), the scroll bar reappears. Only the handle is visible (as a semi-transparent rounded black bar); no arrows or gutter. If the cursor is over the scroll bar when ...


22

To add to the existing excellent answers. This type of design feature is known as an affordance (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance). Notched or textured surfaces are used in real life objects to suggest they can be gripped or pushed by a finger, and this has been adopted as a skeuomorphism in computer UIs. Here's a screen-shot of Java Swing's "...


20

I believe it’s a means of providing the ability to cancel a half-executed command. Imagine a user is 45% down a long page. The user attempts to perform a drag operation on the contents of the window (maybe to move an icon or select some text), but accidentally “catches” the scrollbar slider instead, resulting in scrolling page to X% down, and leaving the ...


16

Specific to your question title, unless you have absolute control over the platform, you should not make any assumptions about the hardware that your users may be employing. There are a myriad of input devices that already may be in play: touchpads/trackpads, trackballs, mice, touch screens, etc., let alone who knows what may become available in 3 months, ...


15

No. Not everyone has a mouse wheel. Some users don't even use a mouse. They use the trackpad and the keyboard. Now, your real question whether it is good UX to hide the scroll bar and show it only during scrolling: in my opinion.. No. Strictly speaking, users without a mouse and without a scroll bar can still scroll, e.g. using the space bar in the web ...


13

The removal of scroll bars in my view is another example of the idiotic and shallow ideology of putting style over functionality. This is back to front to how it should be and is indicative of the dumbing down of society to me. Scroll bars serve an important functional purpose that other alternative methods cannot always replicate. I think the change is ...


12

Apple removed scrollbars from appearing, unless in use, from viewports in 2011 with the release of Lion, immediately sparking multiple articles about how to get them back. The usability rationale and merit of this can still be debated today. Not showing it until it is needed is a clean design and does not clutter the display, but the user must figure out ...


9

As far as I can tell, there is no good reason for it. The behavior was started by Microsoft (Windows) and sadly taken over in other user interfaces such as KDE. Here is some more e-mail conversation going on about the subject. Many people (including mysef) find it annoying for the simple reason that you look at the windows contents while dragging and ...


8

This has already been said in the comments, but it really ought to be an answer: Do not hide the scroll bar, because most laptops do not have a scroll wheel. At best they have a rather substandard scroll area to one side of the mouse pad. I speak as someone who took an online exam which assumed the use of a mouse scroll wheel would be possible.


8

I've been in this situation many times. What I've always done is program the app to scroll the child-most element that the cursor is over and only that element: To clarify, when I say only that element, I mean that if you're scrolling an element in one direction and you reach the end of that scrollbar, I program it such that it does not proceed by ...


8

Other answers have adequately addressed the skeuomorphic inspiration for this convention, but since the question also asked about history, let's look at that a bit. I'd nominate Macintosh System 7.0 (1991, but I vaguely recall the UI style being widely previewed before then) as the originator of this convention... you see the ridging in active scroll bar ...


8

As a mixed point of view... Horizontal scroll bars are usually a bad thing. It may mean you've optimised for the screen width of a PC monitor, which doesn't translate well to mobile devices. When scrolling down, reading the entire page needs lots of left-right scrolls each screen of content. And conversely those sites will have wasted space on larger ...


8

Though design and user experience is becoming more dynamic and flexible, some things still remain traditional, just like anywhere you see the diskette icon, you automatically know its the save button and you might struggle to get used to another icon for save. Hence, I would suggest you leave the scroll bar to the right, the user (a lot of users) will ...


7

A bad situation to be in, but it somtimes happens when maintaining old applications. There are a few things you could do to make things a little less confusing: Scroll the main window scrollbar by default, and only scroll inner controls if the user explicitly clicks on them. This would also require some visual feedback on which control is currently ...


7

Yes, you should. While there are parts of your scenario that we don't know, there are some generalities than can and should be applied based on known formulas and user expectations. One of those is the thumb minimum size. Take a look at the image below: here you have scrollbars from lots of different systems across decades. However, you'll notice that ...


7

Ergonomically it would be best to make the dropdown with height that shows all checkboxes at once. However, this is a bit extreme, and will take a lot of horizontal space. You should do that only if that's the primary action of the page and all other elements are of secondary importance. Use the right component If you don't have enough horizontal space to ...


7

Yes, scrollbars should be visible, if for no other reason than for the sake of accessibility. There are many instances where hiding a scroll bar makes your site/program anywhere between frustrating and borderline unusable: Using assistive hardware/software to access your page Using a mouse that doesn't have a scroll wheel Using a remote desktop system that ...


6

An opinion from the other side: Oh my word I love this behaviour. I have moved to a Mac for work and I miss it dearly. When you're working on or reading a document or webpage, you can grab the bar scroll up or down to check something, and then drop it again to continue from where you were. As has been said here already, it's about cancelling an operation ...


6

I think all of the other answers have made it clear about not being able to assume everyone has a scroll wheel. To expand upon the other aspects of the question...yes, OSX has made hidden scroll bars the default behavior. But some things to keep in mind: people that use OSX will be used to this. So it may make sense if you are writing OSX software. It's ...


6

You definitely should try to avoid nesting scrollable areas inside a webpage if possible: scrollable areas are breaking page interaction (nested block will be scrolled instead of outer page itself while using tracking pads or mouse wheels for scrolling). There are some exceptions: You may use nested scrolling panes if they're shown temporary (like in ...


5

I agree with your colleague, mostly for reasons that are outside your control. I'm also particularly against the solution Trello uses in its mobile app, so it's interesting you bring that up. My reasoning is as follows: If you use the browser's own scrollbar for all cases, the item with focus is not nearly as important when the user scrolls down. In most (...


5

Horizontal Scrolling: A Huge No No I would honestly have to say no. Usability expert Jakob Nielson would tell you the same. In his article Top 10 Web Design Mistakes of 2002, he plain out states that one should avoid horizontal scrolling on web pages at all costs. Today this is 10x less acceptable than it was 12 years ago, especially since websites have ...


5

Not even every mouse, Apple's Mighty Mouse has no scrollbar, but you can use the whole area for scrolling. Hiding useless scrollbars when the content is smaller is okay and expected by most, but hiding active scrollbars was the worst decission ever and is only confusing the average user. Might make a little sense on tiny mobile phones, but even there it ...


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