Why Lion’s natural scrolling doesn’t really matter

One of the most controversial, widespread and noticeable changes in Mac OS X Lion is the reversal of the scrolling direction, what Apple calls “natural” scrolling. With natural scrolling, you’re now dragging the content, instead of the frame; as Apple describes it, “content tracks finger movement”. Some people like it, others detest it.

Here’s the thing: I don’t think the direction actually matters. It’s mostly irrelevant whether it’s “natural” or “logical.” Because it’s just a habit. It’s not something we must think about; we all just know how to scroll.

Natural scrolling initially feels wrong because it goes against a habit that’s been ingrained since we first started scrolling. But use natural scrolling long enough to get used to it, and you’ll probably like it. Change the habit, change what feels right.

All Apple is really doing is asking us to change a habit.

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