Why Horizontal Scroll Bars are Bad

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Why horizontal scroll bars are bad

Some of us may hear horizontal scrolling and wonder what in the heavens in this especially when you do not have any knowledge in software or web design. Well, horizontal scrolling is defined as the ability of a program to scroll horizontally using the user interface windows scroll bar. This horizontal bar is in many instances not used and not seen since it is not needed. Before I go any further it is important to know there is also vertical scrolling. These scroll bars are normally located on the bottom or far right of a window that allows you to move the window viewing area top, bottom, left or right.
Horizontal scrolling may not be the best and this is why:

  • The scroll bar is unusual

Most of the websites don’t use horizontal scroll bars and as a visitor it will is not natural to scroll sideways as most of us are used to scrolling up and down. The fact that most mouse scroll only up and down may limit the web site user from scrolling sideways hence your main aim will not be achieved.

  • The bars scroll bars take up significant space – The most common resolution, In 1024×768 resolution this type of scroll bar may take up about 1000×17 pixels which are the same amount of screen as a half banner and about the height of an Ad Sense Link Unit.Hence, with tabbed browsing and tool bars, the web browsers are already showing less of the page. This makes it a poor choice for any web designer.
  • Capturing user attention is your first priority –

Why Horizontal Scroll Bars are Bad1Anytime a visitor visit a site it only takes a few seconds to decide if the visitor will continue reading it or he will move to another site. Most of us don’t even scroll down to see what else may be interesting.Having the visitor scroll down then sideways may be a lot of work and many people will tend to avoid it. Making user experience easy is your goal and horizontal scroll bars may not offer you this.

  • Horizontal scroll bars can hide advertising – Most advertisements are on the right side of the pages and this would mean that some of the advertisements could be hidden and, therefore, a loss to all the advertisers paying for that spot or for a specific period of time. That would mean that some or all of an ad could be hidden. This may make you lose your income on advertising since what they worked hard to show the visitors did not achieve its end goal.
  • The elderly will often have trouble getting to the right spot in scrolling menus and other small scrolling items. Hence having horizontal scroll bars will be stressful to them.

At the end of the day ask yourself what experience do you want your web users to have and you will be able to choose the best scrolling for them.Choose the best scroll bars and choose the best.

Chris is a father of 4 and works full time as a network engineer. He loves The Office, P & R, brewing (and drinking) beer, and of course Web Design and SEO.

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