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Who designed it, Xerox PARC? I have no idea)

  • I vaguely remember that Bill Atkinson did for the Lisa project at Apple, but I don't have any sources for that. I've got my eyes open.--AviDrissman 16:53, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Has anybody else had problems with scrolling since they uploaded the latest Windows update? Now when I scroll, it wants to jump two pages instead of just one. RickK 04:31, 7 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Scrollbar: is the thing you move from left to right and up and down  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 5 September 2007 (UTC) 

Origin of the name "scrollbar"[edit]

It has been suggested [1] [2] that the name "scrollbar" is derived as a metaphor from the noun scroll. I can't find a verifiable source for this etymology, though. --Jruderman 18:58, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Pretty sure that the idea of "scrolling" a computer display is derived from the use of the teleprinter as a computer output device. In the early days of computing, before display screens, computers would print all their output to these devices, which would necessarily have large rolls of paper. After display tubes ("glass teletypes") replaced them, the idea of "scrolling" through screenfulls of text remained. (As the article notes, many teletype-era conventions remain to this day, such as the control characters in ASCII.) But I don't have any verifiable sources for any of this, either. But Merriam-Webster does date the verb form of "scroll" ("to progress, move, or be revealed as if by the unrolling of a scroll") to 1973. If I had access to the OED, that might settle this question.Exia (talk) 17:02, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Poor User Interface Design[edit]

I think mention should be made that the scrollbar is regarded as an example of poor user interface design. Experienced users do not recognize this through years of familiarity but novice computer users find it counter-intuitive that to move the document down you move the scrollbar up.

This boils down to whether the user thinks of moving the viewer or the "viewee". It is more intuitive to think of moving what you are looking at, as in many applications (eg Adobe Reader) where you can drag the document in any direction using the mouse. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

"Poor user interface design" is subjective, but if you can cite a verifiable source for that opinion, I think it would belong in the article. A Pattern O (talk) 03:37, 25 January 2009 (UTC)


Perhaps we should add a small section on how the size and position of a scrollbar is determined. Historically a scrollbar is one of the more complex basic user interface tools. The actual mathematics as such depends on the size of the document to be scrolled in a particular direction, the viewable area in that direction, the maximum and the minimum size of the scroll bar, and the current position of the document being viewed along that axis.

The size of the scrollbar is directly proportional to the location and size of the view box on the medium. So basically , where is the handles length, is the view port size, is the minimal scrollbar size, is the size of the scrollbar and is the size of the document. Modulo operation to prevent the scrollbar to be larger then the maximum allowed if the window is smaller then the view port, and the max function to ensure it does not get to small. In some cases the size of the window could be rounded up to a power of two so that a bit shift could be used instead of a division for quicker calculation. (and indeed a min function instead of a modulo, which may be quicker with the use of boolean logic).

The positioning follows a similar formula and is relative to the position of the medium behind the view port, or alternatively the position of the view port over the media. There is special case for the bottom of the view in the case of the minimal size for the scrollbar being reached. , where is the position of the edge of the handle, is the size of the scrollbar, is the top of the length of the area 'above' the viewport, and is the size of the document.

--Chase-san (talk) 21:31, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Any info on customizing scrollbars?[edit]

I'm not sure how-to info is appropriate, but many current GUIs either delete scrollbars (recent versions of Ubuntu) or make exceedingly narrow scrollbars (recent versions of MacOS) which can be an ergonomic hazard for users who are clumsy or have arm/hand injures. Something on this, and maybe a link to info on how to solve this, might be appropriate to the article. (talk) 00:04, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Spelling is scroll bar not scrollbar[edit]

This whole article has one glaring mistake. Scroll bar is two words, not one. You'll see "ScrollBar" without a space used in code that accesses the library to render one, but that's because spaces aren't allowed in names, and even then you can tell it's supposed to represent two words because of the capitalization. See an example here: On the same page, you'll also see the correct English spelling used in the explanation text as two words. 2606:6000:FFC0:6:6015:96A6:563:FECD (talk) 00:08, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, but ya know what: "scroll bar" is on the page, as well as "scrollbar" and "scroll-bar". Google indicates that the spelling is commonly misunderstood. Even a respectable-looking place like YourDictionary inconsistently uses 2 spellings on the same page! The Cambridge Dictionary would seem to be the most authoritative resource on-line, so I think we should go w/that. AngusCA (talk) 19:24, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Looks like Cambridge Dictionary agrees with the Microsoft example, as does FOLDOC Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing. The proper spelling is two words. Who agrees that we should change the article title from Scrollbar to Scroll Bar? (talk) 05:11, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

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Restructuring and Adding to Article[edit]

For an undergraduate course final project, my group plans to work on this article. Based on our analysis of the current page, the previous Talk comments, our research, and what we've learned in our class (Interaction Techniques), we intend to structure and add content to the article as laid out below.

Proposed Outline:

  • Introduction
  • History and Progression
  • Alternative Designs
  • Simultaneous 2D Scrolling
  • Customization
  • Studies
  • See Also
  • References

Proposed Changes:

The Introduction section would be rewritten and added to to reflect our changes and a better overview of scrollbars. A History and Progression section would be included to trace scrollbars and their design from their development in programs such as Bravo and Smalltalk to now (other points would include InterLisp, Xerox Star, Viewpoint, Apple Lisa,Macintosh, OpenLook, NeXT, Windows 3.0, Mac OS 8, Windows XP, Palm Pilot, Mac OS X, iPhone/iOS, Mac OS X Lion, Microsoft Word 2015). This woud be separated into subcategories based on program/device implemented, year ranges, or general major changes depending on how the content can be best organized. This would be followed by a Alternative Designs section to address previous and more recently proposed and patented changes not clearly implemented. The Manipulation section would be removed and its content moved to Introduction as well as History and Progression. Moved content would be made clearer and more inclusive of scrollbar functionality. Simultaneous 2D Scrolling would be left as is other than potentially adding further examples. Customization would be expanded as proposed above in the Talk page. Another section could be added on relevant studies, as could another section on weaknesses/problems if verified. Further logical links would be added to See Also, and References would be added to as more citations are included. This will hopefully then address the article’s categorization as needing further verification and allow for removal of that notice. Throughout the article, we would include images of scrollbars and potentially relevant video links.

Potential Sources:

We are still doing research to find more verified sources to address the content we'd like to include, but these are a selection of possible references.

  • Beard, David V., and John Q. Walker II. "Navigational techniques to improve the display of large two-dimensional spaces." Behaviour & Information Technology 9.6 (1990): 451-466.
  • Beaudouin-Lafon, Michel. "Designing interaction, not interfaces."Proceedings of the working conference on Advanced visual interfaces. ACM, 2004.
  • Brewster, Stephen A., Peter C. Wright, and Alistair DN Edwards. "The design and evaluation of an auditory-enhanced scrollbar." Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 1994.
  • Byrd, Donald. "A scrollbar-based visualization for document navigation."Proceedings of the fourth ACM conference on Digital libraries. ACM, 1999.
  • Laakso, Sari A., Karri Pekka Laakso, and Asko J. Saura. "Improved scroll bars." CHI'00 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. ACM, 2000.
  • Norman, Don. "Affordances and design." Unpublished article, available online at: http://www. jnd. org/dn. mss/affordances-and-design. html (2004).
  • McCrickard, D. Scott, and Richard Catrambone. "Beyond the scrollbar: An evolution and evaluation of alternative navigation techniques." Visual Languages, 1999. Proceedings. 1999 IEEE Symposium on. IEEE, 1999.
  • McGee, Marilyn Rose. "A haptically enhanced scrollbar: force feedback as a means of reducing the problems associated with scrolling." First PHANToM Users Research Symposium (PURS). 1999.
  • Mishra, Umakant. "10 Inventions on scrolling and scrollbars in Graphical User Interface." arXiv preprint arXiv:1404.6752 (2014).
  • Mizoguchi, Ko, Daisuke Sakamoto, and Takeo Igarashi. "Overview scrollbar: A scrollbar showing an entire document as an overview." Human-Computer Interaction–INTERACT 2013. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2013. 603-610.
  • Myers, Brad. “All the Widgets” video. "Scroll bars" section (00:02:30 - 00:17:16). Vimeo, 1990.
  • Ranchordas, AlpeshKumar, et al. "Computer Vision, Imaging and Computer Graphics." (2010).
  • Špakov, Oleg, et al. "PursuitAdjuster: An Exploration into the Design Space of Smooth Pursuit–based Widgets." Proceedings of the Ninth Biennial ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research & Applications. ACM, 2016.

Aswilson25 (talk) 17:02, 6 April 2016 (UTC)