23 September 2016

Google Design: “Redesigning Chrome desktop”

In the beginning of this month of September, the new Chrome Core UI redesign, or so called “Chrome MD” (for Material design), rolled out on Windows as part of our 53rd update. It is the last step of a three phase deployment of the new design, which started in 51 with Chrome OS and Linux, followed by macOS in 52. Windows is the culmination of that process and while Chrome is never finished, it felt to me like the right time to take a look back and reflect on this process that almost took 2 years, hopefully delivering some details and experiences that might be useful to you.

Sebastien Gabriel

Two years to redesign the user interface and not a moment spent to optimize Chrome on Windows for HiDPI screens. I bought a new laptop more than a year ago and to this day I am still using a start parameter in the browser shortcut (/force-device-scale-factor=1.25) to force Chrome to properly scale for its higher resolution display. Makes you wonder how much Chrome engineers care for their desktop users. At least the issue with blurred fonts in TweetDeck seems fixed in this update.

Edge and Chrome toolbars on Windows 10
Edge and Chrome (without proper device scaling) toolbars on Windows 10

After a little more research, it appears Chrome is set to ignore any scaling up to (and including) 125%, which is the value I use on my laptop. And, according to comments on a 2-year old bug report, it could be fixed in the upcoming version 54 – hopefully.

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