I don't like smooth scrolling
Courtesy of upgrading my home machine to Fedora 8 and getting a new version of liferea in the bargain, I have been reminded of something: I really don't like applications that do smooth scrolling.
While I could pick specific nits, I suspect that a good part of this comes down to metaphor choices; I tend to think of scrolling as a 'turn the page' action, for which the closest computer equivalent is just immediately replacing the text with no fancy effects (although I want a line or two of context, which you can't get with physical objects). People with different metaphors probably would find the page turning approach irritating and a good way to lose their context.
(And it's true that my way has a big jump between scrolling a bit, with cursor keys or a scroll wheel or gestures, and scrolling a lot with page down/page up keys.)
Unfortunately, since smooth scrolling by default is so prevalent, I suspect that there are solid human factors reasons for it and thus that I am going to keep running into this. However, I really wish programmers would at least expose an explicit option for this in their programs; not all of us want the slow flickering visual distraction.
Sidebar: my nits with smooth scrolling
There's a number of specific things that bug me about smooth scrolling:
- it at least feels slower (I don't know if it is), and I resent waiting just because the computer wants to show me that it's clever.
- it's visually distracting.
- it unpleasantly reminds me of CRT and LCD screen flickering.
- often, it effectively forces me to defocus my eyes briefly because otherwise I automatically try to read the scrolling text. (This depends on the scroll speed.)
All in all it makes me feel that I'm being forced to wait for a visually distracting effect just so the system can show me that it's clever.
Comments on this page:Written on 09 December 2007.