GTK3 Scroll Bar Widths

Along with the frustrating concept of maximizing screen real estate is the GTK 3 design of skinny scroll bars.

The simple fact that these skinny scroll bars exist are evidence that designers do not sit with non technical users to conduct usability testing. Because if they did that they would immediately discover the problem.

People with dexterity and hand control challenges have a difficult time with these skinny scroll bars.

People with eye sight challenges suffer with these skinny scroll bars.

GTK2 supported user-based and system-based methods to modify scroll bar widths. Just edit the user gtkrc or /etc/gtk-2.0 rc files. At one time a utility called GNOME Color Chooser allowed for modifying those properties through a GUI.

GTK3 offers no such GUI support and does not support editing rc files.

At the moment the only way I know of modifying these skinny scroll bars is to edit the -GtkRange-slider-width property in the controlling theme’s css file.

To my knowledge there is no way to configure an overriding system default in /etc/gtk-3.0 and no way for users to override in their $HOME environment.

The only solution is to copy the entire theme to the user’s $HOME/.themes directory and then — still — edit the css file there. That does not alleviate the desire to configure a system default outside the installed theme. Linux is a multi-user operating system, remember? Copying the theme to each user’s $HOME directory is a waste of space when a simple one-liner in an /etc/gtk-3.0 file would suffice.

Themes get updated. That means the modified system css file is overwritten or the version copied to the user’s $HOME profile is out of sync with the updated theme. There needs to be a GUI way to fine-tune those widget controls.

Geeks rule.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General, GTK

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