Scroll-jacking for Fun and Math

Sunday, June 05, 2022

Pacing and Visual Communication

I love YouTube. Videos can be great at visual communication. They're good for conveying a high-level overview of a topic.

But they aren't great for communicating detail-oriented information. Such information needs to be digested by the viewer, and that takes time. Time that varies a lot. It varies from person to person. It can also vary across different parts of the content for a single person.

Inevitably, you'll find videos too slow, too fast, or both. You don't control the pacing.

Before you ask.. No, setting the playback speed to 1.5x is not good enough. :/

This is where text articles (papers, blog posts) shine. You have complete control over the pacing. You can read one paragraph fast, the second one slow, and entirely skip a third. You can go back and forth with ease.

But... text articles aren't great at visual communication.

An Experiment

Is it possible communicate visually while letting the viewer control the pacing?

Enter scroll-jacking! (hijacking the scroll behavior)

You might have seen websites that hijack the scroll behavior for a variety of gimmicks. Many of these gimmicks are cringe-inducing and annoying.

If you look past the cringe, perhaps scroll-jacking can be put to good use. Perhaps you can let the viewer control the pacing of an animation. Scrolling with modern phones (or a good trackpad) is smooth and easy.

Can we use this for communicating, say, math?

Here are a couple of experiments in doing just that.

Admittedly, this is simple high-school math. Someday, I'd like to try something more complex.

(@-me on twitter @kssreeram for comments and feedback.)