Browsing a column of data without using scroll bars

1 Aug 2008 - 12:53pm
6 years ago
3 replies
797 reads
rchoquette
2008

I am working on a project and would like to be able to prevent the display
of the overly large scrollbars that appear when a list of items continues
outside of a frame in a web based GUI. I have looked at several
possibilities including coding to reduce the size of the scroll bars so they
are less intrusive. What I would really like to do be able to load the list
data as needed, as the user moves down / up the list. I am thinking that
this loading could be triggered by the user selecting a list item and moving
it up / down with the mouse (much like list browsing in an iPod touch or
other touch screen device). Does this sound intuitive? How would you
indicate to the user that you can ³grab and scroll² the list?

Cheers,

Rob

Comments

4 Aug 2008 - 7:48am
DanielSouza
2007

Hi Rob,

Aza Raskin did something like that in Humanized Reader.
As you scroll the page, content list loads. There is no
link or button to trigger this behavior, just the ol´plain
scrolling page action with some javascript trickery.

You can see it in action here: http://twurl.nl/nmkn1m

IMHO, its clear and intuitive (maybe the "loading
message" can be improved a little ..)

[]´s

Daniel Souza
..............................
UX team @ knowtec.com

----- Original Message ----
From: Robert Choquette <robert.choquette at digitalpaytech.com>
To: discuss at ixda.org
Sent: Friday, August 1, 2008 2:53:14 PM
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Browsing a column of data without using scroll bars

I am working on a project and would like to be able to prevent the display
of the overly large scrollbars that appear when a list of items continues
outside of a frame in a web based GUI. I have looked at several
possibilities including coding to reduce the size of the scroll bars so they
are less intrusive. What I would really like to do be able to load the list
data as needed, as the user moves down / up the list. I am thinking that
this loading could be triggered by the user selecting a list item and moving
it up / down with the mouse (much like list browsing in an iPod touch or
other touch screen device). Does this sound intuitive? How would you
indicate to the user that you can ³grab and scroll² the list?

Cheers,

Rob
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4 Aug 2008 - 11:40am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> You can see it in action here: http://twurl.nl/nmkn1m
>

I'm not sure this is the same thing Robert was suggesting—he mentioned
having people select a list item and dragging it up or down.

Also, what you've lined to here is an example of "infinite scrolling", which
has not proven itself intuitive or enjoyable in the many usability tests
I've seen where people interacted with them. I can't give you the hard data,
but generally, the reaction was bad. For the design to work, the user has to
understand that new data is being loaded into the page, and it's very
difficult to communicate this fact, and you certainly can't assume users
know it's happening, or even possible.

The predominant reaction was that users got frustrated when they could never
reach "the end of the page". The would use the mouse to drag the scrollbar a
few times, then get annoyed and either start using the arrow keys or
clicking the scrollbar's down arrow, then get more annoyed and start hitting
the key/mouse really hard (as though that was going to help).

-r-

5 Aug 2008 - 10:24pm
Chris Cage
2008

Hi Rob,

I'm new to this site, but I've been thinking about this problem
since I read your post a few days ago and although I don't have a
solution, I figured it was worth brainstorming. Forgive me if I
ramble a bit.

I guess the obvious problem is that on a touch screen device people
know that have to touch it to do something. I haven't used an iPod
touch, but I've come to expect the type of interaction you are
describing if there are no external controls to a device, especially
on a smaller screen where my finger couldn't pinpoint a tiny scoll
bar anyway.

When using a mouse however, I generally expect there to be some kind
of clue that I need to click someplace. I really think there's two
issues. One is the cursor image, but before they see the cursor how
do they know to even move their cursor over the list?

I know I've seen cursors that appear like an open hand and when I
click, the hand closes. So in that case it looks like I'm grabbing
and I would expect to be able to move the object.

So how do we get the mouse over the info?. A couple of options would
be to display a text message telling the user what to do, or have
some other graphic indicator that the list continues and they need to
interact to see it.

If the information inside the list faded out top and bottom, it might
give the appearance that there is more to be seen.

Also, when the list first loads, you could perhaps scroll the
information into view. The movement might give a clue that there is
"more" info and they need to do something to see it.

Maybe instead of a scroll bar, you could have a little up/down arrow
graphic in the margin. Something that was relatively thin and
actually in the background, but gave an indication that the area
could scroll.

Sorry if I'm just restating the problem. Maybe it'll jog some other
ideas though.

Chris

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=31779

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