Anchor links are clickable buttons/links which can take the user to another section of the page. This is usually seen in a large article page with a list of contents links at the top which refer to each section.
Both of these are examples of a scenario where the position of the scrollbar needs to be moved automatically.
Scrollbar fundamentalsThe scroll bar is an integral feature of, not just browsers, but all computer interfaces since the creation of the first graphical operating system. They provide reassurance to the user that there is more content offered below the fold. They indicate the length of the content and also the section of the content the user is viewing. It also assures the user that they have complete control over the scroll position and that they are free to move up, down, left, or right.
Development MethodThere are essentially two options a UX developer can take when building this control.
- Create a button which, when clicked, will ‘jump’ to the specified location on the document.
- Create a button which, when clicked, will transition smoothly to the specified location on the document.
The user should be able to resume control of the scrollbar if they so choose, and therefore cancel the auto-scroll if necessary.
Take a look at this example of a ‘back to top’ button. When we click the button, we briefly lose control of the scrollbar until the page is back at the top.
When we deny the user the ability to control the page freely, albeit small, we degrade the user experience, and devalue the appeal of the site.