Microsoft details scrolling improvements to Edge Chromium

windows 2019 aug 20
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Email Twitter: @robroyhobbs Apr 2nd, 2020 inNews

Edge Chromium continues to gain traction as the browser to use and one of the reasons for that is Microsoft’s efforts to improve scrolling inside of Edge.  As an action, scrolling is one of the most common user interactions and bad scrolling can ruin any experience no matter how good the browser is.

What makes a good scrolling experience?  Microsoft suggests in their latest Windows Blog that regardless of the input method a user needs their scrolling experience to be fast and responsive and in this post, we will summarize how Microsoft’s experiences have helped them understand how to improve the scrolling personality in Edge and some upcoming changes will improve performance and functionality.

Personality and Performance

Since the early Canary builds of Microsoft Edge, Microsoft says that they received more than 1,000 feedback items including a lot of constructive feedback on various aspects of scrolling that led Microsoft to focus heavily on scrolling personality and performance including changing how Edge Chromium works in Windows to better match Windows “personality.”  Let’s take a quick look at how those feedback items break down.

  • 41% of the feedback relates to what we call scroll “personality” or the way scrolling feels.
  • 39% of the feedback relates to functional issues where scrolling doesn’t work as expected.
  • 13% of the feedback relates to specific performance issues like missed frames, stuttering, or responsiveness.
  • 5% of the feedback relates to PDF scrolling
  • 2% of the feedback didn’t fall into any of the previous buckets

Improvements

Based on that feedback, and to improve the user experience, Microsoft has already implemented some changes to Edge Chromium by improving the Chromium code with several significant changes that have already been implemented for users to try.  Some of the most significant changes include:

  • Improved animation curves that give every mouse wheel, keyboard or scroll bar scroll as “smooth” personality that was common in the previous version of Edge and gives the animation a more tactile feel.
  • Percent-based scrolling that makes it much easier to navigate with smaller scrollers.
  • Overscroll bounce, or “rubber-banding,” has been updated to 71% as users preferred this bounce compared to others.

Old Edge to New Edge

While the changes described above brought many of the most liked features to the new Edge Chromium, Microsoft also suggests that they are re-evaluating existing other scrolling behaviors that were less popular. For example, Microsoft’s team looked at scroll chaining (used in Microsoft Edge) compared to scroll latching (Chromium), and Microsoft noted that more than 97% of users preferred the behavior of scrolling latching.

A second example is Fling Boosting.  Fling Boosting is a feature is already included in Chromium and allows a user to increase the velocity of moving up and down by flinging multiple times until they get to the top or bottom of the page.  Previously, Microsoft Edge introduced its own concept, Quick Flick, where a user used a fast flick to move up or down, but the user studies found that most users couldn’t accurately reproduce the action, so they won’t replace Fling Boosting with that action.

What’s Next

Microsoft’s goal is to bring the best of Microsoft Edge and Chromium together to create the best browser experience available in the market.   While I don’t often think of scrolling in this amount of detail, I appreciate that Microsoft is listening to their users and looking to continually improve their browser.    To learn more,  check out OnMSFT or get updates from the Windows Blog.

 

 

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