Monday, November 30, 2009

"Why not go to the right?" - The Making of Sublime (part2)

It has been difficult communicating with other people about horizontal scrolling websites. So today, I wanted to write about it.

When I was doing user tests for the Website, some of my friends complained about the horizontal scrolling. Ten of my 20-40 years old friends who are familiar with online shopping participated in the user test. I found two interesting things from the user test.

First of all, people who just have a desktop PC with a regular mouse are generally not comfortable with scrolling horizontally. Because most computer mice just have a special scroller for scrolling vertically. You can just go up and down. That's it. This was a technical problem that I never thought about. Personally,I have a Macbook and I don't have any problems with scrolling left and right using the touch pad. So, to solve this problem, I made my website move from left to right when the user uses the scroll wheel to scroll up and down.

Second, many people are used to viewing vertical websites. Not only Websites, but also most popular software like Word are, by and large, vertically oriented. People just aren't used to moving left to right on their computer screens. One of my friends even said, "your website looks broken. Why doesn't it go down?" Well, to that I have to say.. "Why not go to the right?" Imagine for a moment that you don't have any technical limitations with the computer. You have the freedom to move anywhere inside the screen. You will realize that the computer screen is a huge space. The computer screen isn't just a flat 12 inch piece of paper. There are many different ways to navigate the space inside the screen. Going up and down is not the only way to navigate this space. Furthermore, our monitors are typically horizontally wide, not vertically long. Everything else around us, books, tvs, theater screens, are all the same. So why not use the form factor?

* Guys, just so you know, English is my second language, so please bear with me if my grammar is weird! :)



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