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I want the world to scroll this way (magicscroll.net)
832 points by rdwallis on Jan 11, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 299 comments

This seems to result in a large number of cases where the visual experience is pointless. The line separating the previous and next page is tiny and easy to miss, and I don't see the use in two torn half-pages on screen.

I agree that smooth scrolling long text is hard to read and trips up line scanning, but this UX seems be like playing an cruel game where I have to drag just enough to scroll a whole page. Any more or less and I get a torn page that's even harder to read than normal scrolling.

I have an alternate solution to this problem: just hit space or page down when you're reading a long web page. It scrolls a whole page, with just enough animation to help you track where you are.

Your alternate solution gets annoying if the page has a header overlaying the text. Like Google+ does. Then you scroll a page, and have to scroll back a little.

That said, this solution will also break in that situation. But it will break worse since there will be no way to get the text at the top to scroll into view.

Good news is that the issue is recognized by the Mozilla team at the very least:

>Pages with position:fixed banners/headers are all the rage these days. But when I try to read content inside one of these pages and hit Page Down or Spacebar, firefox calculates the page length relative to the whole browser window, not just the part visible underneath the position:fixed header. So it scrolls too much, and the first few lines of the next page end up hidden



That's great news. Do you know what release this will land in?

Edit: Oops, I guess it's already there. I couldn't think of a site with an appropriately sized fixed header to test it, but Google+ is such a site and pagedown works perfectly there. Nice.

I just tested it on: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/faq.php?sid=3eaf67c60d15ce...

Works for me on FF17. Does not work on Safari or Chrome.

BusinessWeek.com articles don't totally work. They seem to have an extra pop with their header. So 2 levels of BS. Can't totally fault the browser there.

Techcrunch.com works perfectly fine too.

So yes, fixed in FF17 and also seen to work on FF18.

It says it landed in FF17, which I think should mean it's there already?

What about the bug where Edit > Find scrolls the page so that the hit is at the top of the window, but there's a fixed element hiding the hit?

That's why I utterly loath the stupid new trend of having fixed headers. They mess up my reading experience and honestly I thought we all ditched iframes a decade ago because even then we realized that putting frames everywhere isn't usable.

They're especially annoying on devices with small vertical resolutions, like netbooks.

I wish my browser had a setting called "disable scroll events and position: fixed"..

You could write a bookmarklet for that.

I often use the "page style: no style" in firefox setting in firefox in the view menu. That gets rid of fixed positions and a lot of other annoyances.

I already did:

    javascript:for(var a=document.querySelectorAll('*'),i=0,e; e=a[i]; i++) if (e.currentStyle.position == 'fixed') e.style.position = 'static'; void(0)
I nicknamed the bookmark "fix", so I can just type "fix" in the address bar to fix those pesky fixed elements.

It works perfectly. Well, I vaguely recall there was one site, where it didn't work, don't remember which one (nor cared to figure out why it didn't). At first I was worried that looping over all elements on a page would be too inefficient, but JS is so fast nowadays, there's no noticeable delay. Also, there's no getElementsByStyle method, so I'm not sure how to even go about optimizing that loop.

> Your alternate solution gets annoying if the page has a header overlaying the text.

So you're saying the working solution doesn't work on sites with completely broken UIs such as Google+? What a surprise.

That's like criticizing middle-click-to-open-in-new-tab because it doesn't work on broken sites implementing fake links via javascript, without actual links backing them.

How is that a broken UI? Should they use frames instead?

No, they should allow the header to scroll with the rest of the page.

It's not a broken UI of Google, it's a browser related issue, wrong calculations of page height.

Page height is calculated exactly the same way in all of the major browsers, and was calculated that way when Google+ created their interface. The fact that browsers are working around it to make a usability fix to benefit web designers does not mean that the fault does not belong to the web designers who intentionally built broken interfaces.

If they want a frame, they should've just used a <frameset>.

> So you're saying the working solution doesn't work on sites with completely broken UIs such as Google+? What a surprise.

You're saying the UI on Google+ is broken because the header stays on the top? I love that feature - more sites should implement it.

> You're saying the UI on Google+ is broken because the header stays on the top?

1. I'm saying the UI on Google+ is broken because the way it's implemented (and it's not the sole offender) means page-wise scrolling as described by OP does not work anymore.

2. But your suggestion that G+'s worthless header has no reason to stay fixed and eat up 20~30% of the vertical space is also correct.

Using space to scroll on G+ works great for me. Even better, j & k - though I don't expect most people to use their keyboard at all to scroll.

What browser are you using? Others have mentioned Firefox has updated to address the issue, but Chrome will scroll too far (full window height) when you hit space, which makes using G+ on other fixed header sites super annoying for us keyboard scrollers.

I guess the situation becomes "good enough" when all the modern browsers include a hack to make scrolling work properly, but it's certainly not ideal. If anyone ever decides to write another browser they'll have to deal with another undocumented requirement, and there are funny cases to consider like transparent fixed headers.

Funny how frames are avoided for historical reasons when they often seem like the ideal solution. Remember when Twitter expanded conversations in a fixed box on the right of the screen? Should have used frames. Fixed header? Same deal.

If frames and iframes had been fixed instead of being ridiculed and discarded the web stack would be a better place.

Blogs wouldn't regularly collapse under load because blog posts could actually be static html pages instead of being dynamically generated just so we can slap the same header and linkroll on each one.

We wouldn't need new html5 tags to tell screen readers and crawlers where's the content and what's navigational elements because they would be in separate (i)frames.

Ajax's use could be actually reserved for interactive web applications instead of ugly optimizations like loading the comments separate from the article so the article itself loads faster.

I've been telling this to people for years, at my street corner, with my megaphone. But nobody is listening! It's a conspiracy!!!

Ah, yeah I was looking in Firefox. Still I generally navigate G+ using j and k which drops a single post at a time.

I didn't know about the j & k keys in G+. Just tried it and it is a pretty good substitute for the space, though I do hope that gets fixed.

It's not the solution that's annoying here. Those overlying page headers that break space/pagedown need to die a horrible horrible death, and possibly their creators with them.

Google+ sucks in pretty much every single way possible.

I've noticed this problem with using the spacebar. But a top and bottom header will never add up to more than 1/3 of the vertical height of the browser window. Should be poss to build a javascript overlaid scroller button than only scrolls pages by 2/3 of window height at a time, in either direction?

While I didn't like the page divider in this demo, I also don't like having to see the screen whir by when you hit the space bar. Having the page flash past in the same direction you are trying to track with your eyes is not comfortable for me. I did really like the narrow width of the text here though.

I have noticed that reading on the kindle app on my phone is extremely comfortable, and it basically incorporates the things I just mentioned -- narrow column width and page turns that aren't disorienting. I know people hate pagination on the internet because it is associated with slow page loads, but fast pagination would be awesome.

> this UX seems be like playing an cruel game where I have to drag just enough to scroll a whole page

just use the mousewheel / trackpad scoll area / two finger trackpad scroll gesture or swipe your finger on the touchscreen to scroll as much as you want at a time! it seems quite natural. I always though paging things is a very very bad UI pattern, but this "fluid paging" works great for plain text ...though nothing beats good ol' scrolling for a media rich documents or something with a fancier layout...

Overall I feel its a better scrolling. But, the page divider is an irritant more when the current page sentence and next page sentence are overlapping. I think he can try out soem blending operation to avoid this. Below page divider he can slightly blur few sentences and blend with next pages while you keep moving the divider down. Author can try out and check if it is appealing.

Fair, but don't conflate this implementation with the idea (e.g. the line separating the next page and previous page). You're "alternate solution" is great; did you try it on this page? Works fine with page down.

One use for the two torn half-pages is that you can still see the preceding text for reference. I think that's the main reason for it. Otherwise, use page down or the arrows.

I could almost agree, except I just tried the auto scroll option (space key to toggle and + / - to modify speed), it might be very subjective, but this helped me read this start to end smoothly, I kind of like it, can't explain why, it is much better than auto scrolling the "old way" where the text moves. Somehow he made it so the speed was just right for me, but I'm sure many will find it annoying.

EDIT: tried it on some other articles, chose some boring ones just for the contrast, it might be just me, but the auto scroll option is going to be the only way I read articles in the near future, I actually read them faster, and more likely to reach to the end of it (based on a very short experiment though). It's also a great distraction killer (ads, banners, related stories) Nice.

Not to mention that his entire thesis ("scrolling is the true problem!1! OMG!") is unsupported and rather dubious...

All those other things he mentions are also problems, despite his proclamation to the contrary.

Even if he somehow has managed to "fix" the scrolling "problem" (and judging from the comments on this story, he hasn't even come close), reading stuff on on a computer will still be mostly the same (for better or for worse) experience.

The problem I am having with this scrolling scheme is that when I forget to scroll I find myself reading what I already read (and getting a few words into it before noticing). I can't forget to scroll in the normal scheme since if I don't scroll there is nothing more to read.

Yea, it seems to be confusing and distracting. Maybe it can have some sort of fading effect on the older text to improve readability and awareness as a reader scrolls.

Page down doesn't work as soon as you are less than a screen away from the bottom of the page.

You scroll to the bottom and automatically start reading from the top, but your next line is somewhere in the middle. A faint line where the top of the page previously was would help here.

An alternate solution is to change the background for the lower order page. I do something similar for my terminal sessions. It helps me keep "prod1", "prod2", and "test" separate.

I tried this. It doesn't work as well. Same with making the line thicker or putting a margin above and below it.

The code's open source if you want to fiddle with it: https://github.com/rdwallis/MagicScrollWebReader

There's no space or page down on my tablet, and i do most of my web reading on a tablet.

I was born with pretty severe strabismus and underwent a few major eye surgeries throughout my life.

One of the side effects of being born with this condition is missing lines when reading a book. Growing up with computers, I always found it a little difficult to follow long lines of text or the next line as I scroll.

I'm a lot older now and hardly have these problems, if ever at all. I've pretty much perfected guessing varying levels of depth perception, I guess, as this effects my stereoscopic vision. I'm not sure what goes on at the neurological level or 'lower level', however.

Anyway, you don't know how natural it felt to read this. It almost worked too well, so I would like to test it out a little more before, just because I'm a natural sceptic.

Regardless, kudos on this great work and creative thinking.

And yes, it almost did feel like words 'moved' a little sometimes when I was a child and was still developing strong optic/extraocular muscles. It is difficult to explain/articulate, especially since it happened such a long time ago and I'm working from memory, though.

Okay, so I played with this for a few more minutes and this is my feedback:

I think this would be great for children with reading issues. It would be great as a 'feature' that can be turned on or off on an operating system (on the desktop, tablet, or smartphone). It feels almost like 'training wheels', and as such, I think it'd be great.

However, I do now realise that the line underlining the text can be distracting for someone who no longer has trouble following from one line to the next. Also, it is too easy for children to use this as a crutch, and may actually hinder muscle improvement if used for too long.

Also, like I said, I don't really have reading issues anymore, but I can see how this could've helped me when I was a kid. I definitely would be interested in reading the results of this tested on kids. As another person said below, my primary schoolteacher also suggested we use a paper to block out the bottom text when reading line by line, and this did help, but I think I was very self-conscious to actually do it all the time.

You're on to something!

Edit: Added clarification.

I also have strabismus and have undergone some surgery, but I don't find that this helps much. Specifically, my eyes keep jumping below the line which separates the new text from the old. I'd like to see a version where as soon as you start scrolling, the previous page is replaced by background and the new page appears line by line.

Try this:


It color codes lines aiming to solve missing or loosing your place while reading.

Admittedly, I didn't try it in any real world setting, but my gut reaction was horror. Even reading through the example paragraph, I did not find the gradients as useful landmarks.

But it does make me wonder if other forms of spatial landmarks could be employed in large paragraph text. Perhaps enlarge the start of each, if only for a couple of words, in a way that quickly tappers back to the normal text height. Extreme run-on sentences might require subclauses to be highlighted similarly. Line spacing should accommodate the extra needed height, but remain regular, making the whole document appear double spaced.

At least, that is the picture in my head. It might not do any better than this Beeline reader.

+1. The gradient just makes the page look confusing, and my eyes gained none of the imagined advantage of "you were just looking at red, so look for red... look for red... there's the next line!"

I might actually like it better if it just colored one line red, the next line blue, and so on. Absolute positioning instead of all this clever gradient stuff.

Thanks! I gave it a quick whirl and couldn't get it working on websites. It never captured the proper text (e.g., on latimes.com).

I'll try it out tonight.

It was hastily written for a 24hr hackathon so yea it can be improved. It finds the largest block of text on the page and assumes that's the important content. If the comments section is larger than the article text, the extension incorrectly uses the comments.

If you find it helps your reading please email me and I'll take time to improve and fix it.

I am strabismic too, but don't have problems with reading text. In fact, while strabismus affects 3d perception, i don't see how scrolling and reading are affected unless one has double vision.


Not everyone with strabismus has the same symptoms, right? It depends on many factors, as I'm sure you know, which is why I tried to give a bit more info on myself. When I had my third eye surgery (due to my strabismic eyes) around 1995, they told me reading from line to line would be harder at first. And they were right. At this point, though, they had gone into my eyes before I was 5 twice and had cut and then 'reconnected' some nerves. Only my third time was laser. As you may know, knowledge of the causes of this eye problem, especially in the 80s, was pretty minimal. I remember feeling like a guinea pig because they would contradict each other sometimes and say one thing then say they don't fully understand this condition and would have to try different things. And then the "Well, you can try it".

What I'm saying is, it's not as clear cut. It's always interesting for me to read others's experience with strabismus, though.

For me, I ve never had surgery which is why I never had eye movement problems as you describe. Surgery involves shortening (cutting) the muscles that rotate the eye, which requires a period of readjustment.

Reading text in books requires quick eye jumps (saccades). Now, with smooth scrolling, we add to that the need to do smooth pursuit movements , trying to follow the scrolling text. For me, the biggest problem is figuring out where to continue reading after scrolling when the smooth pursuit ends (probably because smooth pursuit has higher margin of error). I think it would really be helpful is there was a line indicating the previous page boundary on screen when changing pages.

Another strabismic person weighing in ;) (Is that even the right word? People just call me cross-eyed...)

I had eye surgerie(s?) when I was very young and don't really remember them. They probably helped, but I've avoided further surgery due to the "guinea pig" impression you describe, and the fact that I don't feel like my vision is severely inhibited. My depth perception is probably worse than that of other people, but I've never known better (and I think my brain has learned to compensate using a strategy skewed toward motion parallax instead of stereopsis).

Anyway, this scrolling method is unreadable to me, for whatever that's worth.

Ah! Hey, I'm willing to agree that it might just be my googly-eyes that this works for :)

This question is for all of you with strabismic (yes, it is a word :D) eyes: Do you 'see' 3D movies? Or are all of them flat with red, blue and various outlines on the screen? For me, it's the latter. Now I have no idea if this has to do with this condition or is something else!

Strabismic people that do not correct the problem before ~8 years old do not have 3d perception using binocular disparity (that is,estimating depth in short distances using only the differences between the images of the two eyes). For me (never had surgery), I cannot see 3d dot stereograms or 3d movies (I ve never actually watched a 3d movie, but I have tried seeing blue/white 3d images in vain).

There are other ways to perceive 3d, such as motion parallax, so yes, we are normal people too :)

That's the reason i am not excited about 3d movies and hope they keep making 2d versions of them

I abhor 3d movies. The old style (with red and blue lenses) would cause me to alternate between flat red or blue images. The new sort just look like dark 2d--if I concentrate very hard I can occasionally notice certain "3d" effects but I'm certainly not getting the same experience as everyone else.

I have strabismus and I can see 3d movies if it's the old kind with the red and blue tinted glasses. For the new ones I can't see the 3d, it just looks like the normal 2d but darker.

I can't see the 3d effects - it all looks 2d - but neither do I see red and blue lines or the like.

strabismic here. Never had surgery. As far as I can tell my brain gave up on merging the vision in my eyes and only uses one at a time. Last time I tried 3d glasses was when they were red and blue. The image kinda strobes between red and blue.

Honestly... this made things confusing without improving my reading ability.

a lot of people actually like scrolling. So many people in fact, that they successfully pressured Apple to add scrolling as an alternative to pagination in iBooks.

I'm one of the people who uses that. I'm trying to be polite, but my honest reaction to this interface was, "oh god, this is awful," when I tried to use the mouse to scroll the page.

"You'll get used to it" can quickly becomes a lazy excuse for many bad experimentations in interaction design, but in this case I really think this is the right answer. At first, I found it disturbing as hell, and the implementation could be better (for instance, with a margin between the two pages, in addition to the black line), but this is really an interesting and promising answer to the pagination/scroll debate.

Like, you'll get used to inverted scroll in Mountain Lion?

Innovation takes getting used to, evolution doesn't.

I took the plunge and tried inverted scroll. At first it seemed weird, but after a day or so it felt like the most natural thing ever (and I've been using Macs since 1984). Now I find it difficult to go back to 'wrong way' scrolling.

I never got used to that, it seemed totally backwards to me. I can deal with it on a screen where my finger is (almost) physically attached to what I'm scrolling, but not on a detached mouse/trackpad and display.

I actually got used to it fairly quickly. After a day or two I instinctively used reverse (or "natural") scrolling, and I can switch back pretty easily when I'm using other people's computers. It does seem like almost no one else switched though.

I didn't just get used to the inverted scrolling, I fell in love with it. I think it makes perfect sense, and fells more "connected" with what I'm doing.

Loved that feature, it feels so much more natural. It was only a problem when I had to use a windows computer for like 5 minutes and everything was inverted again.

Yeah, that is how I felt at first as well. But I regularly use a Windows VM / Remote Desktop Client for Windows on my Mac, so I've gotten used to scrolling one way in the VM window or the RDC, and the other way outside it in the rest of my Mac.

Now, for better or worse, I have no problems switching my scrolling when I'm using someone's Windows computer.

You can actually enable this scrolling behavior in Windows through a per-mouse registry setting[0].

[0]: http://www.bisql.net/2011/12/natural-scroll-win-7/

My work computer is windows, and it was driving me nuts to have to reverse scroll... I found that I could invert scrolling on windows with the AutoHotKey app. Works pretty well.

This is why I try not to overtweak my computer. Sure I could rice the whole thing out, but then I'm useless on any other machine. I try to strike a happy medium where I'm reasonably productive but can still use another computer when I have to.

I dunno, I have tried it, and it was ok after a bit on the touchpad. Then I plugged in a mouse. Did not work at all. I could not use it like that. So now I have scroll reverser[1] to scroll that way with just the trackpad. But really, I was flipping back and forth with the settings (there was something weird with the back/forward swipes for browsers) I don't even know which way it is right now. But it doesn't matter, as soon as I start moving it I can get feedback and do it correctly. So I can get used to having it flipped on me rather quickly. I might make some false starts.

[1]: http://pilotmoon.com/scrollreverser/

Eh, I hate it, personally. It's the first thing I disable when installing Mountain Lion.

this is a surefire way to not get used to it.

I'm completely sold on inverted scroll. 100%. It maps to touch interfaces and touch pads, it's "moving content" instead of moving that little (mostly invisible in Mountain Lion) progress bar, and the "moving content" concept fits extremely well with smooth deceleration - it always slides to a stop at the same distance after you've gone the same speed. The scroll bar becomes a progress bar and almost nothing else.

for what it's worth, I use "natural scrolling" in mountain lion

On the flip side I actually liked it. I'm a FF user, and in the instant it clicked my first thought was "damn, I need chrome."

Options aren't a bad thing. Android offers multiple keyboards for people who find one method of typing more efficient/comfortable than others. I don't see any downsides to it because everyone gets what they want without forcing anyone to conform to a model they don't like.

Absolutely with you on this - any kind of pagination on the web makes me cringe.

On the other hand, I imagine that if you were someone that liked pagination, this might be pretty nice.

Do you hate it because its bad, or do you hate it because it's different?

Because it is bad.

I want to reiterate this - scrolling is good if you can do endless page scrolling and keep your eyes in one place, while moving the text to match them. I always continuously scroll articles I read so that my current line stays near or at the top of the page. Much better than a tiny black bar moving down the page while I have to move my eyes.

It would be a lot less confusing if the text from the previous page dissapeared...or if that line that follows you worked not with pages but as a scroll....

The line is the interesting feature.

Or if the dividing line was twenty times thicker. When pages are narrow, my brain tends to start reading the next line before it is finished reading the first line. Imagine how well this works out for me when the "next line" is not only from the previous page, but currently cut in half by the scroll line.

Yes! That was the 1st thing I thought as well. If you could make the previous text disappear or set it at 30% opacity it wouldn't even ned a divider. I like the way this reads. I'd like to see it as a feature for iBooks / e-readers.

The New Yorker iPhone app does a fantastic job by combining the best of both worlds.

Most articles are "paginated", but you "scroll" up/down between pages. So you get the same nice physical sensation of vertical scrolling, but also the nice physical sensation of pages. (Plus, they get to lay out photos nicely, etc., knowing how it will fit exactly with the text.)

I got used to it when scrolling forward. When you want to scroll back up, though, this approach really seems to break down.

I thought it was pleasant enough to use. I actually have my middle-mouse button remapped to PgDn, so this is more or less how I navigate already.

My system doesn't need to use 2/3 of a page for two buttons though.

It's the difference between moving the page and moving your eyes.

1. One downside of this interface is that it's difficult to keep track of where you are. The scroll metaphor is broken and the pagination metaphor is not fully implemented (you need an indicator of where you are, like pages in a real book). The percentage indicator doesn't cut it.

2. Control feels too fine. It's too easy to lose your place and mental effort needs to be devoted to properly placing the page divider. I would like to see a version that scrolls in discrete steps by line, perhaps with a little smoothing by way of animation. This would also give you a new feature: using the divider as a reading aid as people often do with rulers and real books.

Think of it this way: you have two controls, page turn and pixel-advance. What is a control with granularity somewhere between those interfaces that combines some of the advantages of both for navigating?

3. I'm not convinced by the divider. I think it either needs to communicate a visual metaphor, perhaps implying that the new page comes out on top of the current page using shadows, or just needs to be softer using blurring or fading the adjacent text out to white. And I don't think you should be able to cut a line of text in half (addressed in (2)).

Try scrolling up, above the first page. You can get a perfect indicator of where you are as you are reading, as far as I'm concerned.

If you scroll using a touchpad the divider moves exactly one text line at a time. The problem is "clicky" mouse wheels that try to enforce their own units of movement.

Not on my Macbook Pro running the latest Chrome on Mac OS 10.8. I'm able to move the divider and show partial lines of both the old and new text.

The scrolling changes based on whether you're using a Magic Mouse or not. With the Magic Mouse it won't snap to the line.

With my clicky wheel on Firefox, it works just the same: one line at a time.

Nice idea, badly implemented.

The interface teaches me how to use it very badly. The most obvious interface clues are the arrows to either side of the page, but these work in the usual manner (hopping from page to page), so they distract me from the heart of your interface.

When I do happen to mousewheel, I can't immediately understand what that does. Am I moving myself or a divider? Why is the divider coming from the top? What's above the divider? Why is it snapping like that, instead of scrolling smoothly? The snapping erects a level of indirection between my (smooth) wheel movement and the movement of the divider, which obscures my ability to understand what's happening. I can't decide whether to scroll upwards or downwards—which is "forwards?"

Why is there a white page "behind" the text if I scroll the divider upwards? Is that what's on the next page or the previous page? Why are you showing me a white page?

The sense that I'm reading downward yet new text comes from above feels very strange. I see how you've ended up here, but it's highly unintuitive. Alas, it's also fundamental to your concept, so whether the concept lives or dies (once all other problems are removed) is a question of whether people can adapt to this spatial "warp."

The "snappy" movement of the page divider line feels clunky. Move per pixel, in immediate response to mouse wheel (or touch drag?) movement—preferably with inertia—definitely not per line.

This is not the way I want the world to scroll. But I see where you're going: leaving the text in place makes sense, and if you're going to do that then using a divider from the top follows inevitably. So the idea is worthwhile, but this implementation is its own enemy.

I think you're over-engineering your analysis... I immediately knew what was going on when I started scrolling, so I don't share your view that it is counter-intuitive.

Also, I think your problem with the scrolling is your mouse. Does your mouse have a smoothly scrolling middle button, or is it one of the ones that moves in clicks? Scrolling with my touchpad worked excellently.

You only see a white page when you are before the beginning of the text you are trying to read... otherwise scrolling up results in going to the previous page.

I would add one thing to make it much more clear: darken the text below the divider to give a clue that it was invalidated

even better, have a background gradient corresponding to the "age" of the horizontal line that's being shown

the gradient would make a subtle but intuitive hint as the movement commenced!!!

I can only say that, scrolling with a touchpad gesture (OSX), I fully agree with pertinhower and completely disagree with yours.

I too am on OSX (10.8.2) Perhaps it is your browser? I am using Chrome (Latest Version - 24.0.1312.52)

Thanks, the arrows are a relic from the ebook reader on the main site. With that I specifically wanted users to discover the scrolling only by accident after they were already familiar with the pagination.

I tried it without allowing the scroll back on the first page (i.e. stop the white page from appearing behind.) but it made the ui feel stuck.

I hadn't even tried to scroll!

Its a neat experiment. It reminded me of the scroll wars of yore, when the VT100 came out it had "smooth scroll" as an option vs "jump scroll" and there were long and heated debates about which was better. I personally found 'jump scroll' better but that was just me.

The moving bar revealing text is ok for keeping text from moving but it feels weird when part of the page is from one page and another part is from another. Reading with the arrows to just 'flip' the pages worked better for me.

Because the 'next' page starts at the top, it creates pagination / layout issues when a paragraph is split between the top and bottom of the page with the scroll line. This is tolerable in page flips because the previous part of the paragraph is gone, but distracting in partially turned pages.

All in all it was an interesting thing to look at and think about though.

Some of us remember…

The Guide to VMS Performance Management[1] suggested that you enable smooth scrolling on your VTxxx terminals and cut your user's baud rate from 9600 to 4800 in order to support more users, since the smooth scrollers wouldn't notice that their baud rate was lower. Yeah, I was a jumper.

[1] http://odl.sysworks.biz/disk$cddoc04mar21/decw$book/d32va177... [2]

[2] I can remember enough of this paragraph from the '80s to google it in one go, but I can't remember my wife's cell phone number. I should have words with this brain.

[2] I can remember enough of this paragraph from the '80s to google it in one go, but I can't remember my wife's cell phone number. I should have words with this brain.

I would gladly give up my catalog of lyrics to songs from the 1970's in exchange for additional memory capacity! :-) I just wish someone had told me in my youth "Don't memorize that stuff, you'll need those neurons later, trust me."

This is great! I'm glad you're experimenting. I don't like this particular experiment, however. I far prefer using space / page down to handle a page of text at a time. I don't see much benefit to your method instead, and among other things, I miss having consistent visual anchors when I read.

It's a very interested and unique way of looking at scrolling, that's for sure. And I'm with you, I like this type of experimentation.

One thing I find tough to deal with is the default amount of characters "scrolled" for a given mouse wheel move: the default takes way too long for my tastes. I find around 50 characters a lot nicer. Also, what about co-opting the scrollbar? It's a much more natural and smooth scroll as compared to the mousewheel, giving users more precise control over how much to scroll.

Do you have evidence to support your claim that the true problem is moving words? I'm really not convinced. I feel especially with OS X's inertial scrolling that I can naturally keep track of where I am in an article while scrolling, it has never bothered me.

This just feels like fancy pagination. I tried partially scrolling ahead as I was reading and it disoriented me further, because the upcoming text was showing up at the top, behind where my eyes were, replacing the old text. This is confusing and not better.

Have you ever tried reading a web page over a person's shoulder while they occasionally scroll up and down? It's really jarring (though turning on Firefox's "smooth scrolling" helps.)

I'm not sure that I like the results of this experiment, but I completely understand the motivation behind it.

I'm not sure that's relevant, though, because someone else is controlling the scrolling according to what they are reading. That it interferes with your reading is unsurprising, and I don't think says much about the reading experience when you are in control.

my mom has trouble using computers because of the scrolling. i imagine it's something in the same category as how i can't read anything in a moving vehicle without getting a ginormous headache, but other people don't have trouble with it :|

Okay, but that's kind of a non-sequitur in reply to my comment, which was pointing out that you can't conclude much about reading-with-scrolling when someone else controls the scrolling.

Have you ever tried reading a book over someone's shoulder? Or a newspaper someone else is holding up in front of you? Most people have to reach out and grab it themselves before it's comfortable to read. I think it is just a motor/sight sync issue for most people.

In fact, speed readers generally move the words, because moving the eyes slow down your reading. You're basically blind during a saccade.

Just anecdotal but magicscroll.net is a pretty popular ebook reader. Though that might be inspite of the scrolling rather than because of it.

For everyone who doesn't like it immediately please try it for a few days if you're able. I'm working against decades of learnt behavior so I don't think you can judge it on immediate impressions.

I see. Well, it's a bold experiment and you're definitely thinking outside the box. Do you intend the user to scroll as they are reading, or to have them wait until they finish a page and scroll entirely over to the next? I find the former hard to get used to, and the latter is just pagination. So maybe I'm a bit confused on how exactly this is meant to be used.

If you use the extension or the main site ebook reader you can set it to scroll at a specific word per minute speed.

It works really well over long texts and often your screensaver will come on before you need to adjust anything.

It's normally best to set the speed to just slower than your natural speed, so that you don't feel that you're racing the line.

I'm not sure if this is really an improvement. With traditional scrolling, my eyes stay at about the same position while I scroll. With this scrolling, however, after I've finished reading the last line, I need to look up again. And when I scroll backwards, I need to constantly remind myself to look down after I've read the topmost line. Traditional scrolling doesn't brake the reading rhythm (at least in my case), but this one does.

I agree, it's easier to read when you can keep your eyes at approximately the same level.

Even when reading something on paper I'll find myself actually moving the book itself further away from me as I read down the page.

This design is also harder to skim, because you need to keep moving your eyes back up as you scroll.

It is in fact impossible to skim with this. You're very right.

Not an improvement for me.

I almost always keep what I'm reading near the top of the screen. I like to be able to scan ahead, read the lead lines on coming paragraphs, see how close I am to the end of the sentence/paragraph/chapter, or even just track my position in the larger context of the piece. Pagination disrupts that near the bottom of a page.

I can live with pagination if I have to, but I much prefer to scroll. It's interesting, because maximizing the size of my look-ahead viewport leads me to make the opposite optimization: I like my text to move a lot.

This is a fundamentally wrong understanding of how reading works. This way may be ideal for close reading but full speed reading needs the whole page and the ability to bounce around visually.

What benefit does this have over scrolling = next page? Your eyes have to refocus on the top of the page anyway, you might as well have refreshed the whole text, not just the top line of the second line.

Interesting idea though - what does this do on a touch device?

This is already standard on ereaders, nearly all (even if it's a tablet or PC app) do this. I don't like it, more than 1/3rd of the time a page turn is accompanied by a "back to last page, back to current page" as it annihilates my flow (yes, that includes dead trees).

VT100 may have something to do with this though. Straight scroll isn't optimal either. When reading long texts, I prefer to have it presented in chunks, but retain 1/8th-1/4th of the information I was already looking at in case I need to refresh where I was just now. If I can't have that, a straight scroll (bar or paper) is preferable, and if I can't have that, page to page isn't so bad either.

Yeah, it's like "Congratulations, you just invented a Kindle."

You mean "paper". It's called paper. What are you, a savage who's never seen a book in his life?

It doesn't scroll on touch devices. You do get the pagination though.

This could help to read faster, but as is, it does not. By leaving the last page visible, it makes the screen cluttered, and actually harder to read.

If, upon starting to scroll, the previous page were either whited-out entirely, or the contrast was greatly reduced, I think this would be much better.

I sort of really like this.

I want a progress bar at the bottom, with filled and unfilled segments. (Or for that to be an option.) I'd like the 'transition ruler bar thing' to be bigger, maybe a 3 pixel feathering would be enough. And it'd be nice if I could have some customisation over speed. It was very fast, which is good, but I think I want some kind of acceleration style movement in there?

Somehow I got stuck at 99.99%, which is going to be frustrating for some people!

Anyway, it's neat.

Great experiment.

Everyone reads differently and looks for different things in a reading experience (if you couldn't already tell by the comments). I remember once when I was in elementary school, a teacher suggested to kids that were having trouble focusing or who were losing their place that they should use a piece of paper to obscure everything below the line they were reading and slide it down the page as they went. For reading on a screen, reflowing and resizable text can helped greatly with focus and "losing place" problems (I love Readability), but the "scroll line" concept you've got here has the potential to maybe go a bit further.

I think that if you blanked out everything below the scroll line, or everything below a good-sized margin of it (so as to preserve some of the text from the previous "page", to enable a bit of bouncing back and forth), you'd have a pretty good, functional recreation of that, and some people might find it pretty useful.

What I really want is almost the exact opposite of this. For long text, I want smart autoscroll that uses eye-tracking to keep me from ever having to make a manual adjustment. If my eyes are pointed at the bottom of the screen, speed up the scroll, and if they're at the top of the screen, slow down/reverse. With this kind of feedback system, the eye tracking doesn't even need to be all that precise.

I've used Enable Viacam (http://eviacam.sourceforge.net/index.php) to sort of do this using head tracking, but you don't really move your head that much when reading, and it's too sensitive to changes in seating position.

If this could be implemented correctly, I think the result would be a superior reading experience to any alternative so far.

The bookmarklet & chrome extension are partly based on readability.js.

The code is open source and available at https://github.com/rdwallis/MagicScrollWebReader if you want to have a poke at it.

i just want to mention something about the "Sorry, MagicScroll was unable to parse this page" window.

because "Report This Page" is the only button, i instinctively hit it under the muscle-memory assumption that it's the back/escape button. chances are you're going to get a good deal of noise from beginners because of this

A drop shadow under the scroll boundary would be a nice way to differentiate between what's on the "bottom" page and the new content on "top."

Nope. Because I like to keep the content I'm actually reading this instant in the middle third of the screen whenever it's possible. Physical media prevent this. It's a computer, it's made to serve me, that's how I like it.

While we're on scrolling, I want my browser to act the right way all the time: I hate that scrolling becomes zooming on maps-- hate, hate, hate. I want scroll to pan the map.

May I continue on this path that's headed off topic? The backspace/delete key is not navigation - don't navigate history when I backspace; because sometimes, the text field gets defocused, I think I'm about to delete text and blam previous page and my form filling was for naught.


Wow! I think this is a remarkable alternative scrolling method. Instead of the current "camera-panning" across a single long page, this "unrolls" the next page over the previous.

It matches the aesthetic of a printed book, but differently through this "unrolling" model. I think it's a great blend between a book and a single screen. The words are fixed, but you still have the smooth moving window of what's before and after your current sentence.

And perhaps this is less important but neat: it allows you to remember where certain passages were by position on the page since they don't move.

Great job on this. I'll be trying it out in the coming weeks.

While I applaud creative thinking, I want to say no, thanks.

I hate scrolling to be honest, I lose concentration when everything moves and kind of makes me dizzy.

I like some ways I've seen on the ipad to paginate info without scrolling. No, I hate the pagination effect.

So, in essence, no scrolling, no visual distraction, just show me a page on the screen, then the next, then the next.

Like a magazine.

It is your business, as web designer, to fit content in a page and auto adjust it to my resolution, without breaking the intended relation between text and images, and without distracting me.

Like a book.

I don't find it the least bit hard to read on the web, and traditional scrolling has never interfered with my reading pleasure, but I'm pretty excited about the fact that if I can get the scroll speed right on this thing, I can probably use this to read in bed on cold winter mornings without ever having to move a hand out from under my warm blankets to hit the pagedown key.

(I know I could use automatic scrolling for the same purpose, but I don't like it when the text is constantly moving.)

Right, I really hated this when I first looked at it and did some scrolling. However, when I used it in conjunction with actual reading, it worked rather well. Long term, I don't know.

However, one thing I would like to see is the bar fading the text in and out as it scrolls. Both or one, I don't know. I found the bar too harsh. Im not saying it would be better, I'd just like to try it out to see.

Also, I'd like to see adobe reader do this. See if that improves the experience.

This is cool! An interesting experiment.

I think a quick shadow does a lot to give the divider some heft and alleviate concerns about visual ambiguity between foreground and background page.

It would look something like http://cl.ly/image/2N3B2V2d2L3W (pardon the wonky #ss_topPage). It can be done in CSS (+ two empty divs, uh) with small effort. To me it feels like the most usable skeuomorphic hint you could drop.

That looks great. I'll see if I can update it tomorrow.

Actually this doesn't really work. Mainly the problem is when the top page hasn't scrolled at all, for example if you're just using pagination, it creates a meaningless shadow.

A lot of negativity in the comments. I for one really like this. No loss of focus when scrolling and no flicker from clicking 'next page'. Great idea.

If you want the world to scroll in a new way, you need to support mobile. Desktops are quickly becoming legacy devices, especially for reading.

I undertstand from the comments that it does something differently when you have a scroll wheel, but since I am on a touch based device I just see arrows for forward and backward and a remarkably small amount of text on each "page". It's infuriating to use.

This is a truly great experiment since it revisits something we've typically considered "solved". The current experience behaves a bit "jaggy" and slow but the core idea behind this is fantastic.

I would love to see where further iterations of magicscroll would go. Slightly disappointed by the extremely skeptical HN responses though...reminds me of the stuffy old science committee in Futurama.

I like it. My current method of reading a long body of text is to keep my current position at the top of the page and scroll down line by line. With this, my eyes follow down the page with the black bar refreshing to the next page scrolling right behind them, then at the end my eyes jump back to the top and the scroll bar loops.

It worked really well for me, was a really pleasant way to read, and helped me keep my place better. I'll be using this in Chrome.


Edit: After using it to read a few articles, here are some additional thoughts.

* I don't have to be as vigilant with scrolling to keep my position (at the top of the page, in my previous method). I can track where I am on the page based on its vertical position, because that's not changing anymore.

* I wish the bar were more visible. I want to be able to track it in my periphery.

* I can scroll up on the first page. I shouldn't be able to.

* The reversed scroll direction in Mac OS X 10.8 doesn't make sense anymore. I feel like I should be controlling the bar. Perhaps reverse the scroll direction?

Works perfectly on Chrome (24.0) but nothing happens on Firefox (18.0).

I found some stickyness on Firefox 18. I've deployed a fix but I put a 24 hour cache in front of the page before posting it to hn so it'll probably only update for you this time tomorrow.

Fox 18 on XP here and I can't get anything to work, either. Mouse scrollwheel, spacebar, arrow keys all do nothing.

In addition, I don't know if you're using any light gray for visual cues. That's a problem. My screen is crap with shot contrast and light gray tends to become white that I can't see. I wish to hell everyone would stop using light gray everywhere.

Running FireFox ESR 10.0.7 here; that's broken too. I'll check back tomorrow then.

Thanks. Can I ask what OS are you using and what mouse?

Windows 7 64bits and a standard usb mouse. I haven't tested the bookmarklet though, I was talking about the website itself: scrolling doesn't do anything and pressing H doesn't display anything either. I went to check the "Alice in Wonderland" ebook on your main website and everything seems to work perfectly there.

I wouldn't call this scrolling, I would call this revealing.

Scrolling actually is continuous (think of a scroll being unrolled from the botom and rolled up at the top).

Revealing would be nice for reading forward, and I have to admit that I feel a sense of accomplishment and control when revealing further text. And as a result, I read more of the page!

But the psychological aspect of revealing things can also be done with scrolling, for example the parallax pages such as NikeBetterWorld (now taken down but you can see it at http://www.ianlunn.co.uk/demos/recreate-nikebetterworld-para...) and Ben the Bodyguard and the other sites here: http://webdesigncrowd.com/websites-unique-scrolling-adventur...

As you reveal more of the world in a novel way, you feel a sense of curiosity. Once the novelty wears off, though, you are left right back there with the content.

The key to revealing things is that you are more focused on the new stuff instead of the old. In this sense, I agree tha the revealing is better than scrolling, because when scrolling, you don't immediately focus on the new stuff. Instead, the old and some of the new stuff is all a big blur until you stop scrolling. That breaks your concentration.

However, as someone pointed out, revealing is not good for "scrolling back up". That is an important point. Revealing is a different psychological phenomenon.

To summarize: revealing is not scrolling. Revealing is about using a novel method of showing new content, always de-emphasizing the old one (in Ben the Bodyguard, for instance, new things move but the old things stay still). Revealing is good for presenting information in a forward direction, and wears off with the novelty of the method. The web shouldn't all scroll this way.

I think there is something to be said for having some kind of visual element whose job it is to track "where the reader is in the text".

Lacking this, I (and I suspect many others) improvise by using a mouse selection, and constantly growing the selection by shift-clicking. This breaks if the UI has messed with the relevant UI events (e.g. disabling selection or popping up something on mouse clicks).

I wouldn't mind some controls for this designed specifically around the activity of reading. Maybe tap to advance one sentence or one paragraph. Keep the current paragraph entirely in view (unless it's too big; then keep the current sentence entirely in view). Shift the text a paragraph at a time. Make it advance both the marker and the text, so the reader doesn't have to manage those two things separately.

I'd especially like a good tablet solution to this, since reading is my primary activity on a tablet, and there's no mouse in that case.

I like having control over my scrolling and being able to see the structure of a document at first glance. One can often quickly locate where the "meat" of a document will be just by looking at its structure, and scanning the first line of each paragraph.

I also frequently go back and re-read previous lines when I'm reading, because I sometimes just don't absorb things on first-pass. The auto-scrolling line needlessly introduces an urgency to the reading experience that I don't particularly enjoy. Sure, you can pause it, but then that is something you consciously have to think about doing while reading. "Free scrolling" doesn't introduce any extra thinking, because you do it subconsciously most of the time.

So, no, I don't find this particular useful or innovative.

A better solution? A scrolling system that tracks your eye movements in conjunction with a sophisticated AI to adapt to your preferred scrolling behaviour over time.

This is horrible :/

I'm getting lost on the page, there's no simple anchor for my eyes. I agree with some of the arguments (scrolling disrupts reading position) but this doesn't fix it.

Iterate some more, perhaps try entire pages moving down to replace the existing page? Something, anything, to give me a better feeling for scrolling through pages.

Needs bigger margin or indication of what the 'last' page was. When it's scrolling down my eyes want to read that line and immediately jump to the middle of the last page, as that is where the line is. Make the last page darker or something.

You also have no idea how long-winded an article is and if you need to tldr;

Another way to make the reading experience much better would be to not use the color black. This article explains pretty well why you should never use this color. http://ianstormtaylor.com/design-tip-never-use-black/

Agree but the new interface is jaring enough. I wanted to use bog standard colors.

For the ebook reader on the main page at magicscroll.net you can set it to use Ethan Schoonover's solarized colors: http://ethanschoonover.com/solarized which I prefer to the black on white.

Ehhh... neat setup (I've wanted to try such a thing for a while) and a good implementation, but especially with such large text and vertical spacing it makes it noticeably more awkward to read because my eyes need to travel bottom-to-top many times. Scrolling lets me go side to side without as much movement. And yes, spacebar to go down a page works pretty well too.

All that said, it could just be that it's new. I'll happily try the extension for a while (thanks! makes it a lot easier to try out) and report on things later :)

One detail does jump out at me: I would prefer a gap between 'bottom' and 'top' so I can park the separator out of sight. I might just be obsessing with keeping a 'clean' page, but I do find myself trying to do so.

Hitting space to page down/over doesn't. Instead it starts a very slow scroll. Hitting space again stops it, so it almost seems intentional, but in any case it breaks the most common scroll method for me. Mac 10.6.8/Chrome 23.0.x.

According to the help, it is intentional.

"It might take you a second or two to get used to it but it is better." Says who? While I'm not trying to debunk the claim, I'm curious if there is there any real evidence or proof on this or if it really is just an unfounded boast?

While I agree that stationary text may be easier to focus on the words themselves, I personally find the "magic-scroll" effect makes it harder for me to read. I tend to move my content into the middle of the screen and will occasionally jump back and re-read a paragraph, both of which magic-scroll seems to prevent.

Perhaps it's a user adaptation problem, but it just seems more constrained and less natural to me...

I'd like this scrolling scheme a lot better if there was some physical feedback on my mouse. Basically, I'd like there to be a little detent feeling at the end of the page, so that I know when I'd scrolled a complete page.

Without a force-feedback mouse... I guess I'd prefer if there was a little bit of "edge resistance" or something going from one page to the next.

Otherwise, I'm OK with just hitting page-down to go to the next part of the page. It would be nice if browsers were a little smarter, and tried to not cut off text at the top edge. So in other words, when you hit page-down, you will see a complete line of text at the top.

I dislike pagination, honestly, and find the scrolling effect a little too jarring.

However the scrolling effect DID actually remind me of my own natural behaviour. I tend to either randomly selecting and unselecting the paragraph I'm focusing on, or highlighting the first paragraph and holding the mouse button down, to incrementally select the text on a page as I read it/scroll.

At first glance I could maybe see myself enjoying this scroll effect minus the pagination, where the text still scrolled upwards but the page had a 'reading line' near the top that showed content above it dulled.

I too am a dedicated highlight-reader, precisely because it's so easy to lose my place when scrolling. I found myself reading somewhat slower (perhaps due to trying to understand what was going on and how it worked), but I wasn't clicking the mouse maniacally, either.

Hey guys, I'm designing an annotation product that uses highlighting as part of the control scheme, and I'm wondering if you'd be willing to test it at some point in the future and see if it interferes with your reading habits. You guys are hard to find! Also, any other 'highlight readers' if you reply here or PM me I would be very grateful.

I'm not sure about it. When one reads about speed reading techniques it seems that the thing that limits the reading speed (if you're advanced enough) is actually (physically) flipping pages... Repositioning one's eyes from the end of one page to the beginning of another takes time too, I'm not convinced that it's the best way to read.

Do we have someone who is proficient in speed reading? I would be very interested in opinion of such a person: is paging and associated flipping of pages making speed reading harder or easier than scrolling?

This is nice for people who want it, and it might be better for reading on phones (but that will require testing to confirm.)

For reading on a large enough display (laptop, desktop or even any newer tablet), I think it's unnecessary. The way I read on these devices doesn't involve scrolling very often. I read like I do on print, but scrolling replaces the page turn much like it does on his. I don't read text while I'm scrolling usually, I'll read what's on the page, then scroll it to give me a new chunk to read. It's not a big deal at all.

I agree with munificent, with the precision of the scroll in the current implementation, but that seems trivially fixed with a snapping behavior.

There are keyboard short cuts and clickable side arrows to turn the page, though why they decided to override [space] with autoscroll, I cannot comprehend.

The scrolling feels backwards, now that I'm gotten used to Apple's tablet-style reversal on the touchpads. I'm sure this makes sense on a scroll wheel. Not sure if there is a way to detect the default scroll mechanism.

Overall, thumbs up for many long article applications.

I'm not seeing the navigation buttons or the hot key display in FF 18. I had to open it in Chrome to see what the fuss was about. It's not a bad implementation, but I prefer normal scrolling.

Oh .. is that the problem? No, opened it in chrome, still an annoying turn-the-page interface. No idea what everyone is talking about. Maybe you need a scroll wheel on your mouse?

I have ABSOLUTELY no problem tracking scrolling text as I read it. I think pagination is of the devil. We could have paginated the web in '93, but the beauty of the web is pages can be endless.

I accidentally clicked my mouse on page load and all content disappeared. There was absolutely no indication of how to get it back. I do not want the world to scroll this way.

I hate to be picky (well actually...), but you appear to be complaining about a bug on the site causing all content to disappear and then concluding that the scrolling effect is rubbish.

Your conclusion may be valid, but I don't think the bug you found has anything to do with it.

Maybe, but I don't think so. Content also disappears if you scroll using the mouse wheel (but more slowly, so there is some indication on how to get it back). However, nowhere else on the entire web does scrolling ever remove content from the page. I've never seen that happen, and there are multiple ways to accidentally remove content from this page.

Maybe it's just a bug, but it seems intentional and it ruins the experience for me.

Every time I scroll down a web page, content disappears off the top of the screen.

Are we talking about the same thing?

No, we're not, I guess. If you scroll down on a web page, the content becomes invisible off the top of the screen but it has not disappeared. You can still interact with it. You can select it. You can search for it. It's still there. With this, it's completely gone.

I think this would be very nice in an ebook or other long form writing where I need to backtrack to find some earlier reference. Where it doesn't work well is in hierarchical data like HN comments. I installed the chrome extension and used it to read the comments on this posting and it was nearly impossible to use. With things that are arranged hierarchically, such as comments, a single page works better than this, but I do think this will be nice on longer articles or with ebooks.

Interesting solution to this problem. But just like the others, I was confused by the way that the next page overlaps the current page. I think a simpler solution would be to just columnize the text and maximize the usage of all available screen space. So I implemented a Chrome extension to experiment with it.

Shameless plug: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/purify/kjiappjpfpa...

Compared with print, you're less likely to finish the article, you'll read it slower, you'll skip over sentences and your comprehension will go down.

Not for me. I am far more likely to finish a news article on the web - with a physical newspaper, I read the beginning of many front page stories, but don't always flip to the rest of it. The rest of the claims are quite dubious.

It's a neat technology, one which I may like for books. But not for articles. I prefer having it all "there."

Not for me. I am far more likely to finish a news article on the web - with a physical newspaper, I read the beginning of many front page stories, but don't always flip to the rest of it.

I wonder how much of that can be attributed to the fact that you're just not sufficiently interested. Kind of like reading the blurb on a website, and then not clicking through to the article itself.

Something to keep in mind also: having articles continue in the remainder of the newspaper is a cultural (US? English-language?) thing. In Germany, articles in physical newspapers are not split up like that.

If I'm interested enough, I'll flip the (physical) pages. But I have to be more interested than on a computer - despite having been heavily involved on my high school newspaper, I don't like the feel of newsprint, particularly during breakfast.

I have to say. When I go to the news sites I usually peruse it cleans things up nicely for me. Taking away the side images and garbage I generally don't care about when reading news. And replacing it with a cleaner, more streamlined, article. I'm one of the people that dig words that don't move, I read books a lot though, and when I read ebooks I don't like scrolling, I like "turning" the pages. I'll be keeping this bookmarklet on my computers.

I find that really interesting. And much more relaxing. It took only a couple scrolls to get used to. The only thing I miss when reading an article is getting a global view of it. I usually do that by scrolling all the way down and back up. The percent at the bottom does not fully help I think. Maybe a global view like what sublime text has on the right? (http://www.sublimetext.com/)

Now, if I wanted to use this often, I'd need a keyboard shortcut. I haven't found a way to add a keyboard shortcut to an extension that doesn't have one. Ah! but I can trigger the bookmarklet with this extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/shortcut-manager/m...

If anyone has a way to trigger extensions, please share.

There's one advantage to this way of scrolling most comments seem to miss: When you go to the next page by hitting Space or Page Down there's an interruption in the flow and you have to refocus at the top of the page once you're finished with the current page.

Here I like the fact than I can already start focusing at the top of the page while finishing to read the page at the bottom.

Weird, yes, but it has at least this advantage over classic pagination display.

It seems to me pagination is one of the big things keeping HTML back from being a replacement to LaTeX[1]. Would others agree with that statement? I know academics aren't exactly the major "customer" of W3C standards committees, but it would be interesting to see HTML6/CSS4 try to introduce the pagination and layout commands necessary to make it a viable contender.

1. When I say HTML, I mean HTML + a host of CSS and Javascript libraries

I love this. Very smooth in Mac 10.7.5/Chrome 24.0.x. I'm sort of stunned that an annoyance with moving text has never occurred to me consciously.

Perhaps moving text is not an annoyance? I have never been annoyed by an annoyance that never occurs.

Add page numbers with javascript to every page. That way we can keep track of which "page" we are in. That will solve the feeling of being lost.

I scroll the page to keep the text I'm reading at a relatively consistent height.

I don't read the entire length of the page before scrolling, I read a paragraph or two before scrolling.

When I read a book, I don't usually put the book in one place then read down it, I'll often move the book up slowly to that it's always in a position to read where my head/neck is comfortable.

I, for one, am glad that the world doesn't scroll this way.

There is a bug where when I scroll to the next page, all the old text from the previous page still shows. (using latest firefox on OS X)

It would be nice to use this method with some texts I want to read...but definetley not all.

Can't scan.

Probably would be really good to read an academic paper I really want to grasp a second time.

Good experiment!

Edit: (Since it said it was Chrome only...tried it with Chrome, text from previous page still shows up...)

It's not a bug, its a feature.

Very cool idea!

I use <spacebar> and <shift-spacebar> when reading the web; paging up/down is more comfortable for me than scrolling.

Kindle is also excellent for reading because it uses distinct pages. I set my text large and columns narrow, then it's easy to speed-read by scanning my eyes down. It results in many more page turns, but it results in faster reading and less strain.

First off, I don't share the sentiment that "it's hard to read on the web". I'm doing just fine. The only time I grumble is when text reflow fails or I have to go through n pages to read an article.

Static "newspaper" text is a neat idea and we already have this functionality - page turn. But marrying it with scrolling is confusing. I just don't see an advantage here.

I like this a lot. I can't stand those image galleries where the frame resizes itself every time you load a new picture. There's a little bug in Firefox 15.0.1 (sorry, not an Administrator):

1) Advance to the last page -- progress is 99.99%. 2) Go back one page -- progress stays at 99.99%. 3) Go back another page -- progress is 57.08% (which happens to be correct).

I felt like the huge font size defeated the purpose here, because I had to move my eyes more than ever. I like the idea though.

I didn't really enjoy the scroll, but did like the pagination.

A little tangential: Xfce has a dictionary applet. That includes a speed reader. Which only displays words, one word at a time in quick succession. It's actually pretty simple to use. And works really well. I wouldn't have thought so. Should add that to smartphones. No scrolling required!

Nice solution, makes reading text online far easier and I read to the end of the article which is something I rarely ever do online.

Because you have a pretty good idea if the person has scrolled to the last page (cause you are tracking it) you should be able to get some metrics on how many people finish the article etc and use it to promote your product.

Nice idea but it breaks horribly if you have a smooth / bouncy scroll plugin (like Chromium Wheel Smooth Scroller) installed. I don't know if it's easy to detect plugins in Chrome any more, but if you can't you might want to mention that somewhere up front. The one I use has a button in the browser UI to turn it off on a given page.

Thinking out loud here: Being able to click and drag (or swipe on a touch device) on the divider itself would be helpful.

And I agree with the comments that the divider itself doesn't provide enough of a visual cue about what's going on. I'd either go with the drop shadow suggestion, or play with a thicker divider that feels like a physical object.

Nothing happens. Is this a clever way of saying that nobody should scroll at all on the web? Why is this the top story on HN? Or is this saying that everybody should use Chrome? I don't. I use Firefox and it doesn't do anything either on Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8. I have all three sitting right here. Nothing happens.

There's a little "start scrolling" button in the lower right of the window. It took me five extremely confused minutes to find it.

It's not Chrome specific - it works fine in Firefox for me.

Ctrl-Shift-J, Ctrl-R - what do you see in the log?

I was confused for a few seconds while reading this on my portrait monitor: it just shows the whole page at once.

This isn't a scroll interaction, its a pagination interaction. I don't think that this breaks up reader's flow any less than scrolling down a page, or turning a physical page in a book. The creator's assertion that "its better, deal with it" is detrimental to their credibility, IMHO.

The point of scrolling would be to exploit the visual/spatial center of the brain to give you a sense of context. You know where you are, relative to all other content.

This experiment feels like set of slides, and i don't necessarily feel where I am as I click back and forth. I feel lost.

Yuk, but kudos for trying it out and I can imagine that you're not the only one who will like this.

Ctrl + F doesn't work as expected. And even if it did, it would be a very odd, jumpy experience.

Going back and forth between your page and HN by using the browser button doesn't return me to the exact same place I left on your page. Traditional scrolling does that, though. I wonder if that would be easy to implement without a browser extension.

Yes, this is hard to keep track of even after window resizes which changes how many words appear on each page. To do it I'd need to store info about page position in local storage. which is possible with the extension but might be a bit too much effort. I can't think of a way to do it with the bookmarklet at the moment.

Why not use pushState or store this info in the url hash? Both of these will allow you to save bits of info in the url that can be used to make a nice back button experience.

When reading a lot of text, I usually scroll about a page at a time and I scroll once I've read about 80% of the page. I don't have text constantly moving around and breaking my concentration.

Rather than this, I'd rather just have a "80% screen down" scroll option.

I think the way that page scrolls is distracting and inconvenient. I am used to getting the next page in one action. Getting only one line per action significantly impairs my reading, and having half of the page cover other half is very confusing.

How would you handle a piece of content that is too long for 1 page, but doesn't deal well with being broken up? Like a tall infographic or block quote? I just think there are too many failure scenarios for this to take off. It is cool though.

You can page a webpage with the spacebar. Shift and spacebar to page up. I try not to scroll, because I hate it too, unless I need to look at an image. The browser could magically align and size an image for me, but that's another topic.

This is so much better, but perhaps it would work even better if the text being scrolled in is blank until the full page is scrolled through. It is distracting to see the end of the next page while reading the end of the first page.

I think the best solution to this problem is to keep your fixation point and move the text.

Implemented beautifully in ForceFeed (http://qwerjk.com/force-feed) which is currently down :(

It's is a good idea to be sure and I tried it out on several articles. The extension cause my chrome to lock up a few though, and I really do not have time to diagnose the failure. I hope that you get it working later.

Some men just want to watch the world scroll.

No seriously, this is great. An unexpected advantage is that's it is actually harder to skim. You're encouraged instead to read things thoroughly. I, for one, skim articles way too much.

Here's something. This seems to have messed up Reeder for Mac. Any time I try to go to a page from the RSS feed I get a blank page. And if I do an "open this in browser" command I get sent to the magic scrolling page.

I feel like if there was a gradient fade (white to transparent) above the black line it would make me feel much better. immediately revealing more text just above where I was reading when I scroll kind of confuses me

I like pagination. I use pagination whenever possible available to read on my tablet or phone. I don't use pagination on my normal computer because it doesn't fit in, but I do prefer pagination to scrolling.

But, I don't like this.

I tried this on a Wikipedia page and realised why scrolling is awesome: overview. I also realised why I often don't read long texts from my screen: I don't want to. I want find the answer to my question asap.

If you're going to implement full-page scrolling, the animation should go sideways, like it does in a book. That way there is less opportunity to mix up the bottom of page 2 with the top of page 1.

100% awful. I can't move the text to centre it vertically on the screen.

Hey, that's what I just asked for!

No idea someone was working on this RIGHT THEN. You are my freaking hero.


I click on the arrows to change pages forward / back - seems typical. I press space bar to scroll forward a page - does nothing. I press j to scroll down a line - does nothing.

I'm missing the magic.

What's wrong with pressing the spacebar (other than the fact that pages with crappy CSS headers will scroll so that you skip an amount of text equal to the height of the header)?

The page is broken in by browser, none of the shortcuts work and I can't scroll with the mousewheel either. In short, it is impossible for me to read beyond the first page.

Firefox 18, Win 8 x64

Same here, Firefox 19

There is a reason the world doesn't scroll this way. It looks horrible and adds no real value. A split screen with smooth scrolling is far superior and far more natural UI

A couple of refinements that might be useful.

Separate the bottom line of the new page from the top line of the old page with more space.

And also add or remove each line all at once instead of gradually.

I have started using Evernote Clearly which does good job removing everything from webpage except the content text. It also can highlight and save article in Evernote.

> I want the world to scroll this way

I don't. The idea looks revolutionary and fun the first time you try it. Then you scroll back, start to read, and notice it has no advantages.

  Timestamp: 11/01/2013 7:28:33 PM
  Error: too much recursion
  Source File: http://www.magicscroll.net/staticScroll.js
  Line: 751
Firefox 17 on W7

Is this on the page itself? Or is it when using the bookmarklet?

On the page itself. I can make the page work if I zoom out by pressing Ctrl/- three times or more (and reload the page afterwards).

This is what I see without zooming - http://imgur.com/pGJuk

Are you on a netbook or otherwise slow computer?

I'll see what I can do to add some breaks to the page rendering loop. I get the impression that the Firefox version needs a bit of work.

Nope, a year old ThinkPad Edge. Hardware performance is certainly not an issue. I get this message in the log right after the page is loaded.

Should be fixed now.

It's not, I'm afraid. Getting the exact same error message in the log. One difference is that now it requires only one Ctrl/- and a reload to start working.

Thanks can you email me at support@magicscroll.net. I can't reproduce the error so I'll need help testing the fix.

This isn't a particularly good idea for competent readers who typically scan entire blocks of sentences at a time. The scrolling effect just slows them down.

So it's basically incremental paging with a lot more work.

I really like it. I'd rather not see the previous page underneath though, the first page doesn't have this(only white space) and it seems far more natural.

This with Instapaper could be a cool combination to create a smooth reading flow while eliminating distractions and saving articles or stories for later.

This is very clever. The autoscrolling feature is strongly reminiscent of reading text from dial-up bulletin board systems at low baud rates (300-2400).

Scroll speed seems fast compared to everything else I do. I have max scroll speed on OS X. It would be good to be able to adjust the reader's speed.

Neat idea.

Did you just compare scrolling to a black swan? :-)

A good effort, I didn't realize it was a pitch for the magicscroll extension till I read it a few times.


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