Technology

The importance of scroll bars for websites

The importance of scroll bars for websites

Considering the importance of scroll bars for proper site navigation, it’s surprising how often they get overlooked! In order for prospects or customers to be able to navigate through your information, scrolling needs to be at the top of the priority list.

If it has offset, will anyone use it?

You may have heard some people say how much they hate scrolling, but users who are more than happy with the concept never complain. More users are scrolling on each page they visit, and for them it comes naturally. Younger web surfers with shorter attention spans and older users who have difficulty with coordination are commonly the ones who don’t like to scroll. Sometimes those who are new to using computers and the internet may complain for a while but are soon forgotten as they realize how simple it is with practice. The best recommendation would be to set up your website design in such a way that people can choose to scroll for more information or have basic usability without scrolling at all.

The mouse wheel revolution

More people like to scroll as the internet becomes a part of their daily lives, and the mouse wheel has played a big part in the change. Where previously scrolling required users to set the pointer on the small arrow and click hundreds of times, now they only need to move a wheel in the middle of the mouse to move through a page or more at a time. This means more website visitors are willing to scroll any number of pages, but you still need to consider the small number who won’t scroll at all when creating your site design.

Removing scrolling entirely is a bad idea

The best strategy is to have all the important and necessary links and information in view and available to everyone without having to scroll, regardless of the size or resolution of your monitor. To be sensitive to all users, keep in mind the worst case scenario, and you will never let anyone down. An example could be on pages with large articles: Most people who want to scroll can easily do so, and for others you have links to each article page, and at the bottom of each page, links to go back to the top. The idea is to not make anything inaccessible to people who don’t want to scroll.

Never have to scroll left to right on your site!

There really is nothing worse than wanting to see web pages scrolling from left to right! If you can’t figure out why that would be bad, take a moment to think about this: Every time a reader reaches the end of a sentence, they need to scroll further to the right, then back to the left, then further to the right… and so on! It’s a very frustrating experience, especially when the content looks good but is very painful to get through.

Don’t use Flash for scrollbars

Never think that you can make better scrollbars using Flash, because they will be non-standard and difficult for all users. Of course, some of them look cool, but visitors are often repulsed by them.

Another problem with self-made scrollbars is that many Internet users take the time to see what they are, since they are so used to the standard ones. If the mouse wheel doesn’t scroll, which is also common, they will give up and leave the site. Whether the standard scroll bar matches your site’s color schemes isn’t the point, and users will appreciate the fact that they can find it right away by scrolling or using the mouse wheel if they prefer. If someone views your website and finds that they need to spend more time learning how to navigate, they will opt out and find another one that is set up as they expect it to be, with standard scrollbars.

New pages take time: scrollbars are fast

Pagination is a poor alternative to scroll bars because there are so many factors that affect the experience for each site and visitor. Depending on peoples screen size and resolution, even with pagination, they will still need to scroll. Forcing users to select the next button at the bottom of each screen is bad website design in anyone’s opinion. Any user who hates scrolling will tell you that waiting for pages to reload is definitely worse. Your website statistics will show how many people are abandoning your articles halfway because it takes too long to get to the end.

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