This is a brief post on why I have gotten rid of the scroll bar on all of my custom web site themes. Though this currently only works for webkit browsers, the potential for change is what’s important.
The look of a scroll bar is determined by the OS that the user is using. Personally, I think that OSX has the nicest looking scroll bar considering it disappears when not being used. Not only that, but it’s also a minimal design. Showing just the tracking bar relative to the vertical space left on the page being viewed. If everyone in the world used an iMac, MacBook or Mac Pro, I wouldn’t be writing this post and I wouldn’t worry about the short couple lines of CSS I use on all of my newest web themes.
Look at it. It’s even kind of cool looking, especially written on Medium. Besides eliminating the appearance of the scroll bar on a web site, what else does it do to the page and user experience?
First of all
It removes the need for the page to move it’s self to the left a certain number of pixels, again determined by the OS used if not OSX. Most importantly, this eliminates the variance you see when switching between pages with no scrolling content and those with scrolling content.
Second of all
It looks better, especially on non technical documents or minimal style themes. Plain. And. Simple. but no simpler
But watch out!
It’s no secret that not every user uses or even has a mouse wheel or scroll UI at their finger tips. Some people may want or even need the up and down arrows shown on a scroll bar.
After design school, I decided to start pushing the boundaries on what is good and what is unpractical design. Look at my recent work. Some of it, (the black background behind text making a figure/ ground, closure effect), I tried it and it, and get a lot of criticism for it. But it looks cool and those who want to view it, seem to understand what the text says.
My point is this
Out of the “risks” I’ve taken in practical design lately,eliminating the scroll bar is the one feature in my work that I have yet to be criticized for. It may come down to the target audience but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “we don’t need scroll bars any more”.