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New mouse wheel handling in IE: why?

Has anyone noticed that Internet Explorer, in the latest versions (don't know exactly which, but I guess 6.0 and later) ignores the mouse wheel when the pointer is outside the rectangle of the viewer? And not just in IE, but any application that uses its viewer (Eudora, the MSDN Document Viewer - in itself, a huge step backwards from HTML Help, IMHO - etc.)?

Why did they change this? what does it add in terms of usability? especially considering that all the other widgets have the "old" behavior (i.e. scroll if the window is active, regardless of the position of the mouse)?

KJK::Hyperion
Sunday, December 22, 2002

My guess is that Microsoft made this change to allow the mouse wheel to be used to scroll more than one region in the client area. For example, if you go to a site using more than one scrollable region (such as http://www.stevemcconnell.com/ ), the mouse wheel will scroll the region over which you've placed the mouse pointer.

By changing the functionality, and adding what may be perceived as a limitation, Microsoft has actually given more power to the user, in my opinion, by allowing the user to operate the mouse wheel on a "target" of his or her choice.

Dave
Monday, December 23, 2002

if you put it that way: I think it's just a hack to hide IE's lack of decent visual clues to indicate the active element

I can scroll multiple areas in Opera too, even when the mouse is outside the viewport, by activating the area of interest with a click (and, if I want visual feedback, I can edit the default stylesheet and add a body:active selector)

I like Opera's position-independent handling of the mouse better - not just its scrolling behavior, but also features like mouse gestures and right button + wheel to scroll the list of open documents. The easiest place to get at really is where you already are (see Fitt's law)

KJK::Hyperion
Monday, December 23, 2002

I think it makes pretty good sense to scroll in the frame (or whatever it's called) that the cursor is in... i didn't really notice until you pointed it out though... i've been using Opera 6 (cos it's so good and fast) that IE is kinda just sitting and looking pretty on my desktop.

Wei
Monday, December 23, 2002

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