Scroll Container

May 20, 2023

A scroll container is a Web-related term used to describe an element in a web page that has the ability to scroll its contents vertically or horizontally. Scroll containers are commonly used in web design to display content that exceeds the size of the container, allowing users to view additional content by scrolling through the container. They are a fundamental element in designing web pages that are responsive, allowing content to be displayed in a variety of different screen sizes and resolutions.


The primary purpose of a scroll container is to allow content that is larger than the visible area of a web page to be displayed within a confined space. By allowing users to scroll through the container content, designers can make the most of the available screen real estate without having to worry about excess content being cut off or hidden from view.

Scroll containers are particularly useful for displaying content that is too large to fit within a single screen, such as long passages of text, image galleries, or tables of data. By using a scroll container, designers can ensure that all of the content remains accessible, without the need to navigate away from the current page.

Another key purpose of scroll containers is to allow designers to create responsive web pages that can adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions. By using scroll containers, designers can ensure that content is displayed in a user-friendly manner, regardless of the size of the screen or device being used to access the page.


Scroll containers can be created using a variety of different technologies, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The most common approach is to use CSS to define a container that has a fixed size and overflow set to “scroll” or “auto”. This will create a container that is constrained to a specific size, with the ability to scroll through its contents if they exceed the available space.

.scroll-container {
    height: 400px;
    width: 600px;
    overflow: scroll;

In the example above, a class named “scroll-container” is defined with a fixed height and width of 400px and 600px respectively. The “overflow” property is set to “scroll”, which means that the container will display scrollbars if its contents exceed the available space.

Scroll containers can also be created using JavaScript, which allows for more complex functionality, such as infinite scrolling or lazy loading of content. For example, a scroll container could be created that automatically loads additional content when the user reaches the bottom of the container, rather than requiring them to click a “load more” button.

const scrollContainer = document.querySelector('.scroll-container');
scrollContainer.addEventListener('scroll', () => {
    if (scrollContainer.scrollTop + scrollContainer.clientHeight >= scrollContainer.scrollHeight) {
        // Load more content here

In the example above, an event listener is added to the scroll container that listens for scroll events. When the user scrolls to the bottom of the container (determined by comparing the scrollTop and clientHeight properties to the scrollHeight property), additional content can be loaded dynamically.

Best Practices

When using scroll containers in web design, there are several best practices to keep in mind to ensure that the containers are effective and user-friendly:

  • Use clear and concise labels – If the scroll container contains multiple sections or categories of content, it’s important to label them clearly to help users navigate the content more effectively.

  • Ensure accessibility – Scroll containers should be accessible to all users, including those who rely on screen readers or other assistive technology. This means ensuring that the container is keyboard accessible and that any labels or instructions are provided in a way that is accessible to all users.

  • Consider performance – If the scroll container contains large amounts of content, it’s important to consider the impact on page performance. Lazy loading and infinite scrolling can help to reduce the amount of content that needs to be loaded at once, improving performance and reducing the likelihood of the page becoming unresponsive.

  • Test on multiple devices and screen sizes – To ensure that the scroll container works effectively on a variety of devices and screen sizes, it’s important to test it thoroughly during the design process. This can help to identify any issues with the container’s functionality or usability and ensure that it works well for all users.