On Lion’s Reversed Scrolling

April 30, 2011 by . 0 comments

Mac OS X Lion is going to introduce a new feature to further make it like iOS: reverse scrolling. When you scroll down, the content will move up instead of down, and vice versa. I am not a member of the Mac Developer Program and so I do not have access to the Lion beta. However, there is an application called Scroll Reverser that allows the replication of Lion’s reverse scrolling in Snow Leopard.  Here’s a video demonstration:


I tried it for about a week and could not get used to it, and I think I know why.  iOS has this same reverse scrolling and yet I am very used to it. So why can’t I get used to the same thing on my Mac? Well, the answer is simple: on iOS, I am directly interacting with the content by touching it on the screen. While on a Mac (in my case, a MacBook) I am interacting with the content indirectly via the trackpad. On iOS it makes sense to have to move my finger down to move the display area of the content up. While on the Mac, you aren’t actually moving the content, but are controlling the way it moves. So in that respect, reverse scrolling doesn’t make as much sense on Mac OS X as it does on iOS. And what about applications that use scrolling to zoom? Unless Apple somehow makes it so that reverse scrolling doesn’t affect these apps, it will be completely useless.

Another downside of this reverse scrolling is how it will affect new users. Especially those switching from Windows or non-power users upgrading from an older version of Mac OS X. These new users will probably get confused as to why their computer is scrolling the “wrong way” and then will have to call up their favorite computer helper person to either explain it to them or to turn it off.

The one good thing about this feature is that it can be turned off. Which is something that I will do immediately after upgrading to Lion.

I will now prepare for the unavoidable emails from my Mac-using family members asking why their computers are scrolling backwards.

Filed under Operating Systems

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