Tags: crawlbar




The current issue of A List Apart is the proud bearer of a superb article by Ethan called Fluid Grids. If the title isn’t enough of a hint, it’s all about grids …wot are fluid.

It’s an excellent tutorial. I’ve made no secret of my love for a good liquid layout and Ethan’s article is a great resource for anyone brave enough to take up the challenge.

Another excellent resource comes to us courtesy of Zoe Mickley Gillenwater. She’s written a book called Flexible Web Designs. Buy it now. You won’t regret it. I thought I knew my stuff when it came to wrangling CSS but this book had techniques that were new to me.

Both Zoe’s book and Ethan’s article are commendable for showing how to do something without wasting much time talking about why. Frankly, there’s been enough debate on issues like this. We don’t need more debate, we need more tutorials. This is something I struggle with myself. I’ve spent far too much time talking up the benefits of web standards, microformats, unobtrusive JavaScript, accessibility and, yes, liquid layouts. I think I’m done with that. If I haven’t convinced someone at this stage, I’m not sure I can muster the enthusiasm to pimp any more kool-aid.

But I do have one last little piece of propaganda I’d like to promulgate…

In any discussion of liquid layouts—for or against—it’s common for the subject of the “horizontal scrollbar” to come up. The term is an oxymoron. If text is moving vertically—movie credits, for example—then it is scrolling. If text is moving horizontally (as seen on CNN, BBC, and every other news channel), it is crawling. Therefore, the term “scrollbar” can only correctly be applied to an interface element that allows content to be moved vertically. The correct term for a UI element that allows the user to move content horizontally is a crawlbar.

Say it with me: crawlbar. Sounds a bit more negative, doesn’t it? A negative-sounding term seems fitting for a very negative user experience.

If you like this bit of political language, start using the word “crawlbar” in your meetings and documentation. You might get some strange looks to start with, but if enough of us do it, we can perform a little piece of linguistic corrective surgery.