WordPress Website Doesn’t Scroll in Chrome?

Many website owners claim that their sites work just fine in all browsers, but when you actually look into the matter, you will discover that this is not always the case.

Although the majority of websites work just fine in all browsers, there are still many that have problems with scrolling. For some, it is slight, barely noticeable. For others, it can be severe, making it impossible for the user to navigate the site. 

For users that have issues with scrolling, the solution is usually very simple. They just have to change a couple of settings under the hood. Since most browsers are now set up with a developer tool that provides insight into the inner workings of a page, developers and curious users can easily identify and fix these issues. With the right tools and some sleuthing, this is usually a very easy fix and doesn’t require any special coding knowledge.

Scrolling Basics

When a user rolls their mouse over a link or button, there is usually a small visual indicator that indicates the ability to scroll. For those that can’t see the little scroll bar at the right edge of a browser window, there are scrolling mechanisms such as the Arrow Keys or the Tablet Screen that provide similar functionality. 

The basics of scrolling are easy to understand. When a user mouses over a link or button that is pointing to another page, the browser must first determine whether or not that page is within the frame of the current page. If it is not, then the browser must either load the page into the memory or ask the user to reload the current page before continuing.

From a design standpoint, these are very basic requirements that any developer or designer should be able to implement. As long as these requirements are met, then scrolling should work as expected.

Why do Websites Have Scroll Issues?

While scrolling should be a basic and essential part of any web browser, it becomes an additional burden when implemented poorly. The primary reason behind most of the problems that arise when it comes to scrolling is usually one of three things:

  • The frameless scrolling bug which was fixed in Chrome in March 2017;
  • The lack of a fixed header in a page which causes it to scroll erratically when scrolled; and
  • The lack of a fixed footer in a page which causes it to scroll erratically when scrolled.

Since these are often simple and easy to fix, it is no wonder that so many people have them. Sometimes even the simplest of fixes can have unexpected side effects. For example, if you happen to be using a JavaScript library that is not thoroughly tested or one that is outdated, then you might end up breaking the scrolling on your site. Fortunately, with a bit of research, you can usually figure out what is causing the issue and fix it. Once you have eliminated all the possible causes, then testing and troubleshooting should not be as difficult.

How to Fix the Common Scroll Issues

Since all of the common issues surrounding scrolling have been covered, it is time to provide some general guidelines on how best to address them. Some of these suggestions will likely require specific code knowledge, while others will not. Regardless, in all cases, having a clear idea of what is causing the issue will make fixing it much easier.

Use Frameless Scrolling

One of the simplest and most effective ways to fix the common issues surrounding scrolling is to use frameless scrolling. When a user scrolls a page, the browser will usually maintain that same horizontal scroll position when the content changes. For example, when a user clicks a link or opens a new page, the browser will generally keep the scroll position that they left when navigating away from that page. Since this behavior is essential to maintaining a sense of continuity while browsing the web, it is better to remove the frame around the contents of a page.

Along with frames, a web page can use other web standards such as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript to position content. Using these methods is often very useful and ensures that a page’s layout and design will remain consistent regardless of the browser or screen size.

Use a Fixed Header

Another essential part of having a functional and consistent scrolling experience is to have a fixed header. Since browsers determine where the content of a page will be displayed relative to the static header, having a fixed header eliminates all the jittering that occurs when the content scrolls up or down relative to the static headings. If you are unable to incorporate a fixed header into your design, then at least have the option. If the height of a page’s content is greater than the height of the header, then the content will scroll above the header as the user navigates.

There are multiple advantages to having a fixed header. First, it makes implementing consistent scrolling much simpler. Second, it prevents the content from jittering and flickering as the page’s scroll position changes. Third, it allows screen readers to more easily scan the page’s contents.

Use a Fixed Footer

While a fixed header is essential to having a stable and consistent scrolling experience, a fixed footer is also useful in making a page more accessible. A fixed footer will prevent the content from scrolling up past the bottom of the page when scrolled. This helps ensure that there are no unexpected portions of content that are cut off when viewed on a small screen.

To illustrate the importance of having both a fixed header and footer, consider an example in which the header is made of plain text while the footer is a simple link. Since the text in a header can’t scroll, it will always be on display as the user scrolls. But what happens when the user clicks on that link in the footer? The browser will scroll the page up, but since there is no footer, the content will scroll past the top of the page and cut off any additional text beyond what is already on display.

Once both headers and footers are implemented, implementing consistent scrolling becomes much easier. Furthermore, having headers and footers that are always visible will help make the web page’s overall design much more appealing.

Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

One of the simplest and most effective ways to fix the common issues surrounding scrolling is to use CSS. Since all of the issues surrounding scrolling can usually be traced to common design issues, incorporating CSS can help fix these issues easily. With CSS, it is possible to completely change a page’s layout and design without the need for any additional tools or knowledge. For example, if you would like to change the way a page looks without having to update the code, then you can do this with CSS. But if you want to do something more advanced such as applying a different fixed header or footer for different sections of a page, then you will need to use JavaScript or HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) code.

Use the Right JavaScript Library

While CSS is often very effective at changing a page’s look and feel, it is not always sufficient. If you want to fix some of the general issues surrounding scrolling, then you will need to use JavaScript. Since most of the issues surrounding scrolling are design related, incorporating JavaScript can help bring a different design mentality to the table.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to use JavaScript to fix the scrolling issues is to use the ScrollTo plug-in by Jason Worte. Simply drop a small snippet of code in your site’s head and you will be able to easily implement virtually any behavior you want. Since the ScrollTo plug-in is built into every major browser, implementing consistent scrolling should be an easy task for any web developer.

Use the Right HTML Library

While CSS and the ScrollTo plug-in are often sufficient to fix the issues surrounding scrolling, you might also need to update your page’s HTML. Since the majority of the issues surrounding scrolling have to do with poorly designed websites, incorporating some basic HTML guidelines can help bring a different design mentality to the table.