Invitation to scroll on iphone pages

4 Mar 2010 - 11:37am
6 years ago
8 replies
696 reads

Well, what a nice shiny new site. I like it!

I'm working on an iphone app and one issue we have come across is that we have a few pages where content ends at the bottom of the screen, but there is more content available via scrolling. Because nothing is overlapping the bottom of the screen, there is really no invitation to scroll. Unless you simply try it because you know pages on the iphone can scroll, you'd miss the content.

While we could design the page so that the stuff at the bottom overlaps, it's actually a list of actionable items and we want them to be visible.

As I browse other apps, I don't see any specific methods for inviting users to scroll. I tried using a subtle gradation at the bottom of the page but I felt that was problematic (you'd have to lose it at some point when you get to the bottom and it would "wink out") and it really didn't do the job.

Has anyone faced this issue and if so, what were your solutions? I have thoughts of popping in a little arrow at the bottom right when there is more, but I'm not sure that makes sense.


4 Mar 2010 - 12:04pm

Hi Tom,

It's hard to say without seeing your designs, but you may want to slightly sacrifice the final item in your list of so only the top half of the text is visible - or shrink the items somehow so that a less important item gets half-shown.

Try it and do a little user testing. You may find it's a good solution.




4 Mar 2010 - 12:28pm

I have not faced this with other apps, I think it's context dependent. You can apply an approach where when the page loads its scrolls up a little by default. does this very nicely for the product showcase -

4 Mar 2010 - 12:49pm
David Lesue

It sounds like it might just be a perceived problem. I'd conduct a few usability tests on it as is. I'd bet that most users scroll and discover the hidden content just fine.

4 Mar 2010 - 2:02pm
Maciej Bieganski

Well, hard to advice w/o layout in fron of me, but let me guess :)


  • Though hardware is a bit different than regular display, people are familiar with scrolling gesture on iphones.
  • Scrolling seems to be mostly content dependent in this case. 
  • IMHO: organize content in a way, that will cut some part of the content in half. 
  • And do not introduce any not standard UI elements for scrolling


4 Mar 2010 - 11:17pm
John Yuda

I'm with Alok on this. Leaving the last item visible on the screen cut partially off makes it obvious that the app/page can be scrolled, and doesn't impede the usability or design in my experience.

5 Mar 2010 - 2:20pm

Thanks for the replies. I believe I agree that making screen elements partially visual is the way to go. Thanks!

5 Mar 2010 - 4:25pm
Sean Ryan Connolly

Tom, it seems there are some visual elements already built into the iPhone design pattern that may work. When the user goes to her contact list, each name is separated by a line. Therefore, users are familiar with scrolling textual information presented in this form (at least on the iPhone). If you make the expression of your app echo that element of common interaction (including the little 'bounce' animation as you finger touches it), you might be able to exploit a 'visual-scrolling-affordance' Apple has already put into place on this platform.  


6 Mar 2010 - 6:16pm
Todd Sieling

If it's applicable, you might look for a predictable element to place at the bottom of each page that lets the application take someone to 'the next logical place', much like pagination links do in search results. If there's an element that you can think of that makes sense to place at the end of these pages that can provide some 'next step' value, it also provides a cue to say 'you're now at the bottom of the page, no more to see here'. 

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