The appearance of touch pads and screens in the world of computing has caused a strange situation for Mac users. The latest OS reverses the way scrolling works. Used to be, if you wanted to scroll down a page, you would drag downwards or press a down arrow key. Made sense and we all got used to it.
But that downward direction makes less sense if you are swiping the screen with your fingers. It feels more natural to push the page upwards with your fingertips, revealing more of the lower part of the page.
An awkward confusion ensues. Using the old, familiar drags and arrow keys doesn’t do what we expect. Press a down key and the page goes up. Kinda weird.
What feels right on an iPad feels wrong on a mouse-controlled iMac. Gestures on a laptop with a trackpad and arrow keys falls somewhere in between.
Of course it’s possible to make the adjustment with a bit of fumbling, but it’s not elegant. Recognizing the problem, Apple threw it back to us. We can choose which way we want scrolling to work. By default, scrolling in Mac OS X works the same way as it does on an iPad. If you want to have it work the old way, you can change the behaviour in your System Preferences.
Not a perfect answer. You can wind up with two different scrolling behaviours, depending upon which device you are using. You never get used to either method and have to fumble a bit each time you change machines.
I guess I’ll switch over and use the up arrow keys to scroll down pages. And I won’t laugh anymore at Windows users who must press the Start key to shut down their machines.