I’ve got an Apple Magic Mouse (the one with the touchpad built in, button-less) and I recently decided to change the scroll direction to “Natural”, which mimics the way we interact with mobile and table devices. Unlike a scrollwheel mouse where scrolling down scrolls the page down, we now interact with the content – which scrolls up.
To clarify, touching the top of the mouse and dragging down would drag the content down and effectively scroll the page up, whereas previously it would interact with the scrollbar position, move it down, and scroll the page down (and the content up).
I was only able to handle this “natural scrolling” for a few days before going back to my (apparently) unnatural scrolling direction. The “old way” feels more comfortable to me, and feels more consistent. At least on Mac OS X, scroll direction is carried into games, so scrolling in games felt incredibly unintuitive and downright frustrating. I had to switch mindsets when going from normal work to a game because interacting within a game is different than interacting with content.
It’s very presumptuous to label people’s preferences as natural or unnatural. (Because if you’re not natural, you are unnatural, amirite.) What about gamers who rely on a mouse with a scrollwheel?
Using a finger or a touchpad is different than using a mouse. If you’re touching I feel that a “natural” scroll direction is best, because it’s intuitive and makes sense, and it matches our we use our phones and tablets. However, when using a mouse, the “unnatural” scroll direction is best. Unless of course, you’re in your teens and you’ve never known the “Old Ways”.