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.

It was an inspiring talk. One of the points made by was that we to 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:

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… three days”.

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.

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 apon topic, the range of cross-browser compatibility is well known and documented. So the change consist in very simple and few lines of code.

A well managed site must have automated testing and the impact of the change can be rapidly assessed and verified in a staging environment and deployed in production.

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

But please dont’t style scroll-bars!

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