GBM Shortcut: Windows 7 Touch and Browser Scrolling Demo

windows_7_touch_browsersBrowsing with your finger in Windows 7 is going to be a different experience across each browser and Windows 7 system. As demonstrated in this GBM Shortcut video, the experience will be based upon the type of touch digitizer your system has, whether the system is Windows 7 Touch logo certified, and what type of browser you are using.

In this short video demonstration, I’m using a Dell Latitude XT with a capacitive digitizer running Windows 7 and N-Trig’s DuoSense Windows 7 RC drivers.   I demonstrate browser scrolling using three different browsers: Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.5, and Google Chrome 2.0. The experiences are definitely different across each browser, even on the same system. In addition, it is a good demonstration about what users can also expect across different touch digitizer systems and whether they are Windows 7 Touch logo certified or not, with Google Chrome demonstrating the minimum touch scrolling support that we’ll see passive digitizers exhibit.

Unless I missed something during my testing of earlier versions of Firefox and Windows 7, until Firefox 3.5 was released yesterday, smooth browser scrolling with panning and momentum   in a Windows 7 Touch computer was limited to Internet Explorer. In previous versions of Firefox, the Drag Up / Drag Down gesture was all we got – it worked, but it wasn’t very smooth and intuitive. In addition, to get   smooth / natural pan + momentum scrolling, Firefox users had to install the popular Grab and Drag add-on.

This morning, I upgraded to Firefox 3.5 and I was pleased to find that Windows 7 Touch pan and momentum scrolling was supported – without the need for the usual Grab and Drag add-on. Strangely, though, I’m not getting inertia (the bounce effect when you reach the bottom / top of a window) in Firefox 3.5. I’m only getting inertia in Internet Explorer.

As demonstrated in the video, Google’s Chrome browser is not yet supporting the pan scrolling, momentum, or inertia, with the Drag Up / Drag Down gesture being the only way to scroll a web page using your finger. Unfortunately, Google Chrome users can’t install the Grab and Drag add-on, either, since Google Chrome doesn’t yet support extensions.

It is worth noting that unless your touch computer is Windows 7 Touch logo certified, it will only support the Drag Up / Drag Down type of scrolling – it works, but it is not very smooth or natural. To get the smooth / natural panning support, your touch computer will need to be Windows 7 Touch logo certified. Normally, these will be capacitive / optical based systems, but even then, not everything that is capacitive / optical based right now is guaranteed to be Windows 7 Touch certified. Don’t look for the popular passive digitizers to support pan scrolling. Passive digitizer browsing experience will be similar to what I demoed on the Google Chrome browser. According to Microsoft, there will be some clear logo signage on the computer that indicates if it is a Windows 7 Touch system. Learn more about the Windows 7 Touch logo certification.

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