Friday, November 25, 2011

Save our scrollbars!

Save the Scrollbar! Why are Apple Google, and Facebook eradicating a linchpin of user interface design? asked Farhad Manjoo. I already commented that I totally agree with his concern about the loss of the visible scroll bar as an element of web page design. Also lost is the down arrow at the end of the right-side scroll bar on web pages - a nice clue that there was some reason to scroll down(!) Also lost: the scroll bar as a partition of spaces on the web page. Without the obvious visible cue, I find my eyes drifting all the way to the left side of the screen even though the text I'm trying to read is in the center of the page. (I had to switch over to using a theme for gmail so that the color would act as a divider between the left-side tools and the email messages in the center of the screen.) Just now I was trying to read blogs via Google Reader using Chrome. I'm finding it just about impossible to use my not-too-shabby Logitech mouse to read down through one article without finding myself having skipped down to the next article. I can go to the each blog itself and work it from there - but that negates the usefulness of Google Reader. I find myself working to overcome the navigational tools in my browsers rather than just get on with the tasks at hand. Some users say they like the invisible scroll bar. Isn't there some way to give users a choice? (The older version of Firefox still provides a view of the down arrow at the end of the scroll bar in Google Reader.) My recent frustrations with reading via the Web has made me grateful that Evernote has developed Clearly (like Readability for Evernote). I asked about the ability to move items from Readability directly to Evernote after I became aware of Readability, but the reply back then was that Evernote didn't work with other companies like that. However, time has passed and others must have put their request more eloquently and Clearly seems to be working very well - "one click for distraction-free online reading" (and clipping to Evernote.)

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