Have you ever thought about what your favorite scrollbar theme is? It’s the kind of UI and UX design that’s often overlooked because we use it so casually. Web curator and programmer Sébastien Matos has created an interactive journey into scrollbar design, which means you can visit his site and experiment with over 30 years of UI design.
There’s a lot to be learned from experimenting with great UI design like scrollbars from the old macOS, and while a site like Matos’s is novel, it reminds us that we need to curate old design concepts in a practical way. There’s nothing quite like being able to actually interact with the UI design. Check out our guide to the best UI prototyping tools for a hands-on approach to creating your own.
A visit to the website of Sébastien Matos (opens in new tab) for a fully interactive experience of the best scrollbars of yesteryear is actually a great look at designs of yesteryear and it got fans talking and of course debating which is the best. Twitter is known for a lot of hot takes, but when UI fanatic @BoredElonMusk posted a link, everyone had a say.
Some of the best comments come from fans remembering their favourites. “Windows 95-2000 was a top-notch scrollbar,” wrote @siebel_ess. “Agreed!” @bendodge replied, adding, “Simple, clean lines without being blindingly white or so simplified you can’t tell what it’s doing.”
Before we delve deeper into reactions to these iconic scrollbars, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with some of the current trends in web design in general. For example, we have guides on the best website builders as well as the best web design software available today.
Some fans of the classic scrollbar UI design took aim at the current crop of scrollbar designs, particularly from Apple. @terryogara wrote: “Not a fan of Apple’s current dark mode scrollbar solution, where the light gray slider in idle mode lacks contrast, causing long pages to display a Hermann raster illusion in the trough, forcing users to distinguish ghost images from actual sliders.”
The debate then generally rages over whether Apple or Microsoft has the best scrollbar UI and UX design, with many preferring Vista. The final word is pretty much the view of anyone who loves a bit of nostalgia, as @MagdalaMystikos wrote: “It peaked in 1995 and things have been worse since”.
If you are a UX and UI designer, check out our Ultimate UI Design feature. If you’re more of a retro tech lover, then check out our guide to the best retro consoles and best retro controllers.