Modern web pages can load content asynchronously, which means that content that takes a long time to load doesn’t necessarily stop other stuff from loading first. Want to start reading an article and don’t want to wait for ads, videos, and other items to load? Most web browsers will let you do that.
But it’s also not unusual for the page to jump around when that additional content does finish loading, which can be annoying as all get out.
Now Google says the latest version of its Chrome web browser can help. It’s designed to prevent “page jumps” as content loads, in many cases.
That’s because Chrome now includes support for “scroll anchoring.” As you scroll down a web page, Chrome will figure out what you’re looking at and keep it in focus, even if additional content loads above it.
Then you can scroll up or down smoothly when you want to, instead of watching the page jerk around without any user intervention.
Among other things, this means you’re less likely to click the wrong link (I can’t count the number of times I’ve tapped the screen, only to have the page move at just the wrong moment, which means I’ve tapped the wrong link).
Since not all web publishers are going to want to enable scroll anchoring, Google is offering tips for disabling the feature on websites. But for the most part, this looks like an important step forward, and hopefully one that other browsers adopt in the future.