GTK3 Scroll Bar Sliders

GTK 3 developers seem to revel in perverting traditional desktop design. Horribly skinny scroll bar widths is one such challenge. The sliders used in scroll bars is another.

In GTK 2 and in all other desktop environments, clicking the mouse pointer in a scroll bar moves the slider incrementally, much the same as using the Page Up and Page Down keys. The new default in GTK 3 is to punch users between the eyes by moving the slider to the place where the user clicked the mouse pointer. The difference is clicking at the bottom or end of a scroll bar results in the slider moving all the way to that position.

As with much of anything related to GTK 3, there are no GUI controls to modify this default behavior. Users must resort to manually editing config files.

/etc/gtk-3.0/settings.ini (global) or $HOME/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini


This seems to be little more than a good jovial knee slapper to GTK 3 folks. Users have had years of habit forming with the traditional behavior and are befuddled by the new behavior.

This is not enough abuse for GTK 3 developers. Not all GTK 3 apps honor this setting, which means being stuck with the defaults. Further, while GTK 2 supports this feature and defaults to false, the Adwaita theme explicitly overrides this setting and defaults to the new behavior. The solution requires changing themes or jumping through hoops to modify this setting.

Adwaita is the default theme for GNOME 3, from which come the core of GTK 3 developers.

While adding the new slider behavior is well and good, modifying the defaults to satisfy the whims of developers rather than support user expectations is unsettling and irritating.

This is a classic WTF usability issue.

Developers respond that defaults must be changed to encourage discoverability. The reality is most users and especially non technical users do not want abrupt change. They want status quo. Tech savvy users discover these kinds of changes without new defaults.

Much like camping in the woods, have fun but when leaving ensure nobody can tell humans were there.

Innovate new features. Have fun. Stop changing user’s desktops. Nobody cares about geek creds.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General, GTK

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