Fix the Damn Scrollbar

his is the trouble.

Scrollbar jumps back automatically Whenever I scroll down some document by placing the arrow over the scrollbar and dragging it down, I tend to lose sight of it while concentrating on the text. Next thing you know, the arrow has drifted off the bar and it just ... automatically ... jumps back to where I grabbed it from. I'm sure every reader is familiar with this OS design error.

The Right Thing To Do

We must get rid of these contemptible scrollbars and replace them with a more rational mechanism.

Here is my proposal:
Put a little square by default in the lower right hand corner of the document. This is the "scroll trap". What you do is move the arrow into the box and left click once. You are now "trapped" in the box. Your arrow cannot be moved out except by left clicking once more.

Scroll trapping

While in the box, you simply move the mouse in whatever direction you want to go in the document. The mouse moves ... the arrow does not.

Want left-right scroll? ... just move the mouse left or right.

What could be simpler?

The former ugly scrollbars become thin indicator bars showing you your place in the document as well as the size of the page relative to the visible portion (as before).

User Settings

The user must be able to set:
  • The size of the trap
  • Which corner the trap is to be in (for html pages)
  • The "mouse-drift", i.e. how far the mouse
    must move to scroll 100% of the document.
  • Whether the visible side bars are on the
    left-right or top-bottom of a frame page.
    (new html property, eg. scrollbar=left)
  • The width of the bars

Other Options

  • Right click while in the trap to "page-down" incrementally.
  • Right click after moving the mouse up slightly
    to start "page up" incrementally. Reverse to "page down".
  • User should be able to set the page-down increment.
  • User to set time of page-down, i.e. instantly or
    slow moving (1/2 to 3 seconds)
  • Space bar could be used to "keyboard exit" the scroll trap.


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