Ask Lemmy: Traditional vs natural mouse scrolling; which do you use?

Despite being a heavy cell phone user for more than 25 years, it only recently occurred to me that vertical navigation on most phones is inverted when compared to traditional computers. You swipe down to navigate upward, and up to navigate downward. I recently spent time using a MacBook, which apparently defaults to this “natural” scrolling (mobile-style), and I was completely thrown off by it.

I’ve been using natural scrolling on a couple of my own desktops ever since, mostly as a mental exercise, and I wondered…how many of you folks prefer this method?

Hadriscus ,

I use a rotary knob for scrolling since I don’t own a mouse

BewitchedBargain ,

I noticed this in video games rather than on-screen text scrolling. Some of them had a weapon selection, but instead had mouse-wheel-down “decrease” the weapon slot, and mouse-wheel-up “increase” it. However, the game also used the mouse wheel for other things, thus changing it to my preference had some unexpected side effect.

In any case, mouse-wheel to scroll view works because of the mouse-pointer paradigm. Move both mouse-wheel and mouse in the same direction, and the pointer is further along the content. Move them in opposite directions, and the pointer tends to hold position relative to content.

Gamey ,

The normal kind! ;)

YexingTudou ,

Traditional for everything that isn’t a touchscreen. Partly bc it’s what I was raised with, partly practical. It’s easier for me to two-finger scroll traditionally on a trackpad since it’s less finger/wrist movement. If I use natural my fingernails hit the trackpad making the input unreliable, or I end up having to p much move my whole forearm to scroll. So traditional works better for me personally.

I get the idea behind natural scrolling, but there’s that level of disconnect for me since I’m not interacting with screen directly, so my brain thinks of it like a mouse instead of like touchscreen. I’m guessing my brain might think of it differently had I been a little younger; I’ve used computers to some extent all my life, but didn’t own a touchscreen device until college.

Idk, natural scrolling on any pointing device trips me up.

pastermil ,

Traditional for mouse (and trackpoint).

Natural for touchpad.

Crozekiel ,

If it’s a touch screen then the “natural way” is more intuitive, as it feels like grabbing the actual subject matter and moving it in a direction while my view point stays the same. Once my hand is not touching the subject matter, the traditional way is the only one that makes sense to me. I also get annoyed when something has scroll wheel zoom and up is zooming out, I have to reverse that back or I just don’t use it.

Vorthas , avatar

Traditional for everything. Scrolling down means the view goes down. The mouse controls the camera (the reason why I always invert Y axis on controllers).

Ddhuud ,

You meant traditional or the wrong way. There’s nothing natural about it.

Asymptote ,

“Natural” is so ingrained in me by now that Samsung Dex’ lack of the option is fucking with me.

Presi300 , avatar

Traditional for everything, mouse or touchpad, natural scrolling fcks with my brain

Holzkohlen , avatar

Traditional for mouse, natural for touchpads.

KidsTryThisAtHome ,

This is the way

gamma , avatar

Yep, my Sway config has

<span style="color:#323232;">input type:touchpad natural_scroll enabled
baremetal ,

if you’ve flown a plane you probably tend toward natural.

Moobythegoldensock ,

Traditional for both scroll wheels and trackpads (trackpads are emulating a mouse, you heathers!) And inverted Y for gaming.

flying_gel ,

I used to play games with both inverted X and Y. But lately (last 10-15 years) inverted X was often not an option so I had to force myself to play both axis non-inverted. It took a few months but it feels natural now.

Blackmist ,

Inverted Y I get, but inverted X?

Explain yourself, weirdo.

dwindling7373 ,

That’s literally the same principle. And yes, before you ask, it’s dumb for both axes.

Up is up, down is down.

darq , avatar

It's not the same principle for both axes though. I invert just the Y-axis. For me, left is left, right is right, up is "back" and down is "forward".

dwindling7373 ,

It is, if you consider the motion about the bottom part of the stick, when you push forward, that part moves backward. The same can be said about pushing right, and having the bottom going left.

Why would you want that? No idea, since even on planes the x axes are not inverted like that…

darq , avatar

I see what you are saying about the bottom of the stick, but that isn't the mental model of the people who invert the Y-axis. So that principle doesn't really apply.

Consider it like plane controls. With the stick in a neutral position as pointing "up". Left and right are still left and right. But forward and back tilt the nose, which is forward, down and up respectively.

Takumidesh ,

I think trackpads emulating a mouse should be considered a poor implementation, a trackpad is different than a mouse and we should utilize that with the design. A trackpad is best imo when combined with gestures, almost as a hybrid between a typical touchscreen and mouse. For example pinching motions, two/three finger tapping, two handed use, etc are all options for a trackpad that don’t work (or work poorly) on a mouse.

Blackmist ,

I used to use inverted Y, but it stopped feeling right at some point in the Xbox 360 era and I switched.

I think it was the first console gen where FPS really took off. Like there were FPS on PC for a long time before that, and Halo was pretty big on the Xbox, but the PS2 ones were all kind of clunky and experimental.

I think I only used inverted Y to start with because the only first person games I used to have were flight sims.

tfw_no_toiletpaper , (edited )

Nah a touchpad feels more like a smartphone display than a mouse, so “natural” scrolling it is. Inverted Y for gaming too. I think it depends on what you grew up with - playstation and Xbox don’t use it per default but Nintendo (at least old consoles and games) does I think, so I cannot switch back to not inverted, it feels unnatural.

GyozaPower ,

I consider trackpads to emulate the touch of the screen (so like a phone). So natural scrolling for me.

Snowplow8861 ,

Start realising that the way you’re used to scrolling with your mouse wheel, is a cog between you and the service it’s moving. Actually you were using natural all along. It was the early touch pads that were wrong and nonsense.

gravitasium , avatar

This! I use traditional with wheels and natural with touchpads

butter ,

Only correct answer.

bceuhwps ,

Natural is totally unnatural.

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