Smartphone users have been taking advantage of touchscreen input for so long now, that it’s easy to forget just how impressive it all is. Remember just a few years back when resistive screens were the norm, and multi-touch gestures were little more than a dream? For as feature-rich as our touchscreen experience has become, it’s not without cost; sometimes developers have to make performance trade-offs in order to keep all those features working right. That’s just what we’re looking at today, as we learn of an improvement coming to Chrome that could make navigating through sites just a little speedier.
The problem has been how browsers implement double-tap-to-zoom. When you first tap on the screen, the browser doesn’t immediately react, and instead waits a short period of time (300ms is standard) to see if that second tap is coming. So, every time you don’t actually tap-to-zoom, you’re wasting those 300ms.
What devs realized is that there’s no need to pause like that if you can’t zoom in the first place – like on a page that’s already optimized for the width of your smartphone’s display. In fact, both Chrome and Firefox have already been doing this, though only for sites that specifically set a “not scalable” flag.
This new change, which pops up in the new Chrome 32 beta, takes things one step further. Much more prevalent than mobile sites that are totally locked-down with that setting to prevent any zooming, there are ones that are still optimized to be normally scaled to the screen, but maintain the ability to zoom in a little bit.
In this new beta, Chrome drops double-tap-to-zoom (and the associated 300ms delay) for these other sites, as well. You can still pinch-to-zoom if you absolutely have to, but since these pages are already mobile-optimized, even that probably won’t be necessary.
If this ends up being well-received, you can expect to see Firefox make a similar change.
Via: Android Police