Most designers and end users know that horizontal scrolling on websites is a huge User Experience mistake.
However, there’s a growing trend towards huge header images, with content ‘below the fold’. This seems to fly in the face of 2,000 years of common sense.
‘Below the fold’ means the part of the web page that you have to vertically scroll to in order to view it. Scroll wheels on mice and touch screen tablets mean you no longer need to grab the scrollbar. However, taken to it’s extreme, there are single page websites, which require constant scrolling.
Why Books Made Scrolls Obsolete
Nicholas Carr’s book, ‘The Shallows’ analyses how various communication tools have affected the way we read. In it he covers historic evolution, including why newfangled books superseded ‘scrolls’.
Other than the cost savings of books (you can print on both sides of the page) he highlights the User Experience benefits,
“Books were easy to navigate too. Finding a particular passage, an awkward task with a long roll of text, became a simple matter of flipping back and forth to the next page.”
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, p60.