With Google experimenting with axing the URL bar and Apple hiding the scroll bars by default in OS X Lion, the modern Web browser is freeing more pixels for more content, but now Hakon Wium Lie, the creator of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) wants to kill scroll bars altogether. Say what?
You might be thinking Lie is crazy for even entertaining the idea of banishing scroll bars forever, right? And you have every right to, because changing the way we navigate a website would be quite radical.
Lie's reasoning is twofold: 1) content doesn't fit properly into a browser window and 2) printing Web pages is problematic. His idea is to replace scroll bars with CSS Generated Content For Paged Media — essentially "pages" for the Web, where instead of scrolling up and down, you simply just flip to the next page.
Think of it as the iBooks app or nice Powerpoint slides with sparkly animations to keep things fancy. Content is laid out neatly in full pages, just like in a book.
Lie's solution is commendable, but there are a few things that bother me. First off, how will you skim for things? Skimming a physical book is easy, but not so on an e-book. With scroll bars, users can quickly and easily scan Web content to see whether it's useful or useless.
The second matter is how do you search for something on a website, if instead of one continuous flow of text (properly formatted), all of your search terms span several pages? I like to find all references to a certain word within one overview.
What about opening up links? Do those open up in a separate window and just cut right in the middle of, say a 10-page website? Isn't that breaking the flow of browsing?
I think using "pages" works for tablets and contained works of writing, but not for the general Web and its fast pace of publishing. It's a different ball game.
Image credit: Janfilip/Shutterstock (text added by us)