this project started off as an attempt to curb screen time and phone addiction, which scrolling has been an infamous culprit of. slowly but surely, i realised this was a monster to tackle: there was no way i could change system defaults.

so i did what designers do best: imagine new possibilites, tweak, tinker and prototype. if i could change scrolling defaults, what would they look like? what are the rules of scrolling that i can play with? and i wondered... who even made these rules in the first place? by playing around with scrolling defaults, i probed the boundary of: what is really considered usable?

2 semesters, a few thousand lines of code, a lot of techincal help and SOS support from my thesis supervisor, (as well as a lot of scrolling) later, scrolling against (de)faults was born. and here's wishing you a warm welcome to a corner of the internet where scrolling doesn't exactly work as it does, and perhaps for good reason.

so far, my research into scrolling defaults seem rather multifaceted. some designers i've interviewed have said that these new scrolling patterns are actually pretty practical and usable. others express their clients value seamlessness too much for them to be used in practice, albeit they make good thought provocations. it seems like the standard of what is usable is pretty subjective, yet the defaults that we know, use and take for granted are so universal. hmm.

nonetheless, to claim that i've hacked phone defaults, or made scrolling less addictive is an overstatement. more accurately, this body of work has been an interesting dip into the world of questioning institutionalised defaults, and what designers think about them (or if they even think about them at all). for me, the most exciting discovery is embracing the idea that scrolling (and by extension, other ux patterns) can be emotive and embodied. rather than using more information, text, visuals or colours to commmunicate on screens, could we be making better use of interactions? in the current age of information-as-a-commodity, could interaction with ux patterns be the answer to more thoughtful communication?

you've scrolled for a while now, so i'll stop rambling and leave you to think. thanks for scrolling by this little corner, and feel free to let me know any of your thoughts by contacting me at carinalyshan@gmail.com


i would also like to give my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the following people who have made this thesis possible:

to my thesis supervisor, Clement, thank you for your patience, guidance and never-ending support. your enthusiasm for (everything as-a-)material[s], math, and making (amongst other intelligent and cool things) never fails to inspire and challenge me to be a better designer, researcher and thinker. this project could not have be realised without your technical expertise and dedication, and i am extremely grateful for not only having received an extensive amount of help with programming, but also learning more about the world of nesting, divs and debugging.

to all the DID tutors and faculty, and in particular to the tutors in the Design Futures & Critical Inquiry cluster (Hans, Christophe and Donn), thank you for all your comments and feedback which helped to shape this project.

to my peers in ID for our self deprecating humour and try-hard attitude, with special shoutouts to:

  • my thesis groupmates for our makerthon marathons (and tolerating my air screams) leading up to crit;
  • the 3 Js in year 4 who have made spaghetti bridges and pingpong launches with me since year 1 for great #lastsembestsem times; and
  • yuan jie and pras for being amazing juniors.
  • to the friends who cheered me on, house-partied with me to do work, became my alarm clocks, spent time to relax with me, and listened to me try to explain my thesis - thank you for all the laughter, joy and comfort.

    to anyone who downloaded chrome just to see this project... :_) thank you!