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Chrome looks at ditching backspace shortcut so you don't lose your work

It’s an experimental feature that will stop people from using backspace to navigate back a page.

Image: Azzazello/Flickr

WHEN YOU’RE ON a browser, you will use the backspace button for two things. The standard use is to delete something you’ve typed while the other is to navigate back a page.

Usually, this is fine but there are occasions where the browser doesn’t recognise that you’re typing in a text box, and goes back a page instead of deleting something. This can be frustrating when you’re filling out a form and have to start all over again.

So Google Chrome is experimenting with a version that gets rid of the ability to go back a page with the backspace key. According to one Google developer, only 0.04% of page views navigate back using the backspace button, and an even smaller proportion of page views (0.005%) are after visiting a form page.

One of Google’s developer explained the logic behind the change:

We have UseCounters showing that 0.04% of page views navigate back via the backspace button and 0.005% of page views are after a form interaction. The latter are often cases where the user loses data.
Years and years of user complaints have been enough that we think it’s the right choice to change this given the degree of pain users feel by losing their data and because every platform has another keyboard combination that navigates back.

It wouldn’t be the worst decision to get rid of this as an option. Most people would use the back/forward button on the browser itself to navigate pages and an alternative way to go back/forward is to press alt + left/right arrow.

But if it’s successful, then it could be one less headache to deal with the next time you’re filling out a form online.

Read: Yep, people are still pretty terrible at choosing passwords >

Read: Unlocking your PC by using your phone’s fingerprint scanner? It’s coming >

About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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