I’ve been using Mac OS X 10.7 Lion for a few days now. I won’t go through all the new stuff; you can read John Siracusa’s epic 27,000-word review instead. But I do want to talk about one thing: natural scrolling.

Apple calls “Natural Scrolling” the reverse of what we have all been accustomed to for the past 15+ years since Microsoft’s IntelliMouse made the scroll wheel popular. And despite my tweet to the contrary, it is definitely taking some time to get used to it completely so that it’s muscle-memory. But I need to break current muscle-memory that’s been a decade-and-a-half in the making.

Natural scrolling actually does make sense for a complete computer newbie. On a trackpad, the user is pushing the page up with her fingers, just like on a touch device such as an iPhone or iPad. This works fine on the Magic Mouse too.

But there still is cognitive dissonance. As the user pushes up on the trackpad the scroll bar moves down and the cursor stays put. Yes on iOS the scroll bar moves down as well, but the user’s actual finger is directly pushing the content up. Whereas the finger gesture on the trackpad or mouse is physically dislocated from the screen, there’s a another layer of abstraction that’s happening (at least in my head).

And then I thought about how that gap might be closed. What if that stationary cursor turned into a grabber hand and moved with the scroll gesture?

Here’s an experiment.

As soon as the gesture starts, the cursor changes into a grabber hand that will move with the gesture. When the gesture is finished, the grabber returns to its original position and changes back to the normal cursor.