Updated 2011.01.23 15:37 +0100 |
Scrolling content on a limited screen estate space is one of the most basic things in modern software - whether that being a computer or mobile phone. Scrolling has evolved over time. Nowadays we have multitouch and gesture based scrolling. But it started with the scrollbar.
I remember that when I wrote my Master Thesis back in 1994 the scrolling algorithm of the otherwise quite basic Windows application was quite complicated, especially if the content to scroll is large and dynamic in nature.
Managing scrollbars is not hard in principle. The basic idea is not that difficult, but there are a lot of small details that need to be ironed out. If you don't get the details just right, your program will feel odd in a strange way that you often can't pinpoint, much like a subtle background hum that makes you feel uneasy without realizing it. Getting the details right is important to making your program feel crisp and clean.
The above quote is from the blog The Old New Thing by Raymond Chen which in July-September 2003 ran a series of posts which makes an excellent introduction in the scrollbar fundamentals in Windows. For reference I've listed the complete series of posts here: