What’s up with custom scroll?

Don’t bother, just close that website.

Vlad Arbatov
Jan 31, 2014 · 3 min read

On the extremely popular ThemeForest market one’s going to run across multiple Wordpress and HTML templates with custom scroll. Approximately 1 of 10 themes would provide this experience instead of normal browser scroll. Especially in that 2013 trendy “one page parallax” category.

I’m not talking about horizontal scroll navigation or prezi-alike javascript goodness. I can compromise with some sort of creative idea.

Here I look at common glitchy custom vertical scroll behaving unexpectedly as hell. Most of the times in Chrome, less —in Safari.

Seriously look at that: one, two, three, four, fiveninety eight, ninety nine. Hundreds of them! Oh my God please stop.

Strangely but there are not much custom scrolling sites in the “real Internet” (and that’s a good thing). However judging by the download counter dozens of people buy those templates and certainly use it. Somewhere.

When I accidentally visit such a site I don’t bother, just close it.

But why is such scroll evil?

Obviously: it’s unpredictable and inconvenient. You never know which part of the page you will be on when scrolling.

When you perform an action on the web you should know the exact result. This is usability basic principle ignoring which leads to frustration. Do you remember those all-flash sites (yes that was not so long ago) with no clue where to click and some unexpected shit happening on common actions? Those sites you just want to abandon and forget? Same here.

When you click the link — new page should open. If a link is dashed — probably it will trigger new content to be shown o the same page. If there is a tab — you consider it to switch content on click. The right arrow will force the carousel move from right to left.

Scroll will move you to the point you expect. Since you already know the amount of space skipped with exact mouse wheel turn or fingers gesture because you use your browser every day. Right?

Custom scroll says wrong; and breaks usability ground rules and user brain.

Say you own a car. You are fully aware of its dynamic characteristics and acceleration rate. Suddenly it starts to behave weird: jumps and shakes, moves too fast when you slightly push the pedal and unexpectedly stops. Annoying as fuck. Why?

Because you lose control. You have to adjust and learn the core action again.

Why developers add such an inadequate feature to their creations? I don’t know. They consider it trendy and stylish? They can’t implement a proper scroll due to some technical difficulties? They are retired flashers? Please tell me.

Vlad Arbatov

Personal blog of arb.digital founder :: https://arbatov.me

    Vlad Arbatov

    Written by

    Founder @ arb.digital :: AI expert. https://arbatov.me

    Vlad Arbatov

    Personal blog of arb.digital founder :: https://arbatov.me