Jon Bell on Scrolling

Jon Bell has a good article on scrolling vs. "page flips". I have seen far too many "we don't need pages anymore, since screens are windows to an infinite two-dimensional space" essays recently. Jon quotes Kottke:

The page flipping animation in the iBooks app though? Super cheesy. It's like in the early days of cars where they built them to look like horse-drawn carriages. Can't we just scroll?

I may be missing something, but I honestly don't understand this. How is scrolling desirable to the person who is trying to read a book? If I'm reading a book, I want to fill the screen with text. Then, I want to read that text. Then, I want to fill the whole screen with new text, and read that.

What I don't want do to is read text, then spend a second manually scrolling until new text fills the screen, while keeping track of where exactly I have to continue reading.

What does scrolling gain me, except more work?

Further Reading

Chris Clark:

Dragging through thousands of words of prose isn’t skimming, isn’t navigation… it’s laborious. You’re paginating by hand.

Joel Fagin:

When I'm reading a book, I like to be absorbed into it. Any distraction which takes me away from the book, no matter how small, is unwelcome. Scrolling down the page with a flick of the finger is, frankly, too much effort.

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