Natural Scrolling Vs. Reverse Scrolling – Which Do You Prefer?

Apple released OSX Lion yesterday, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The great thing about buying new software from Apple is I don’t even have to leave my desk to do so. A click on the Mac App Store icon and OSX was downloading to my desktop.

Aside from all the cool new features that Lion offer, the one that immediately stood out to me was a switch to natural scrolling. For the longest time, both Macs and PCs have used reverse scrolling.

An example of natural scrolling is the Apple iPad. When you want to scroll up a web page, you put a finger on the iPad and move up. When you want to scroll down, you move your fingers down. This is, of course, very natural and logical.

This process is reserved when using a mouse wheel or trackpad. To make a webpage scroll down, you have to push up on the mouse wheel or trackpad. To make a webpage scroll up, you push down. This doesn’t sound logical or natural but it’s been this way for so long that we think it is. In fact, my first reaction to using natural scrolling on OSX was, “WTF!! Why is it doing this???”

After using natural scrolling for about an hour, I got immediately use to it, and now I can’t believe we’ve been doing it backwards all this time without even knowing it. I mean, this just makes so much sense: you want the content to go up, then you should push the wheel or trackpad up. Who’s idea was it to make this backwards? I bet it’s the same people who thought the way to shut down a computer is by pushing a “Start” button.

Going to natural scrolling is just another example of Apple trying to increase the user experience, and while it can mess with your mind at first, it will seem very natural after awhile. Give it a try and then tell me which you prefer. For me, I’m leaving naturally scrolling on. It’s a great way to mess with my PC friends when they try scrolling on my Mac. 😛