About 4 months ago, I posted about Apple’s decision to reverse scrolling in the new version of Mac OS X. But now that Lion has been released, people are starting to complain a lot about this and contesting the decision. Well, if people read my blog they could have gotten used to the idea by installing and using Scroll Reverser, which I’ve done ever since I first knew about this decision.
But the discussion is only natural considering that Apple has decided to change something that has been the standard for years. So, evidently, the question remains: why do it and why now?
Why do it?
Because our way of interacting with our devices is changing. I got used to the new scrolling direction quite quickly and oddly enough it felt natural. And then I realized it was because I also own an iPhone and an iPad and this is the natural way of scrolling with your fingers.
Naturally, you may reply: “But the iPhone and the iPad have been around for awhile, so…”
Up to now, people have been using the scrollbars to go up and down pages of information. In that sense, the traditional scrolling direction makes sense. But ever since the advent of more capable trackpads and Apple’s introduction of two-finger scrolling, people started using the natural touch-based scrolling that defies the conventional scrolling direction.
With the iPhone and the iPad, Apple introduced us to a more natural way of scrolling in the screen… the touch. Devices such as the magic mouse and the trackpad are slowly doing the same for laptop users. Which brings us to the new version of Mac OS X, which is nothing more than the first step in the ladder of unifying Mac OS X and iOS. The new multi-gesture capabilities introduced by Lion shows us that the touch-based interaction may very well be the future, which in turn leads to other changes such as the removal of the traditional scrollbars (except when you’re actually scrolling) that are now less useful and allows to regain some screen space back.
It’s true that this is a change that will not be welcomed by a large part of Mac users, especially those that do not own Apple’s touch-based devices. But I’m guessing Apple’s decision will prevail and people will slowly understand that this is actually the way to go.
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