How much does it really take to style a scroll-bar

Some days ago I attended a presentation by Oded Lavie to a group of parents and students at the Open Day of a university. In his profile on LinkedIN, Oded Lavie describes himself as a “Creative thinker. Curiosity driven. Problem Solver. Content lover. Helper. Mentor. Learner. Speaker. Proud Omni-Potenialite”.

His talk was inspiring. He made the point that we should do only what is really useful. To re-enforce this concept he described a recent situation where a customer requested to stylize the scroll-bar of a website and asked parents and students:

How much time do you think it takes a company to stylize a scroll-bar on a website?

I quickly answered “minutes”, but he objected “days… at least three days”.

Styling a scroll-bar really makes non sense

I’m pretty sure his example is pertinent because it makes no sense to stylize a scroll-bar and there’s a concrete risk of damaging the user experience of an essential functional element of the interface. It’s a risk one should never take since content below the fold has already very few chances of being viewed and the scroll-bar is one of the instruments that allows you to access content below the fold.

Continuous integration

That said, I still do believe that a well organized and managed website could implement this useless feature in minutes.

Scroll-bar styling is a well-known and trampled upon topic, the range of cross-browser compatibility is well known and documented. The change consist in very simple style sheet changes and amounts to a few lines of code.

The delivery process of any well managed website must include automated testing. The impact of the change can be rapidly assessed and verified in a staging environment with a quick deployment in production.

While I get Oded’s point, I am convinced that a well managed website must be able to deliver changes in continuous integration and these must be implemented in minutes.

But please dont’t style scroll-bars!

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