Help Test Android Orientation Update July 3, 2015 3:42 PM   Subscribe

The Modern theme has long been plagued with a bug on Android phones where it bounces you to the top when the orientation changes. We're trying to improve that and could use some help testing it.

Keep in mind that this bug is only in the Modern theme, and it only happens when you switch orientations. It's also only on Android phones—iPhones keep scroll position when you change orientation.

We can't fix the underlying problem causing this bug, but we just added some code to track your position as you scroll and then get close to it when you change orientations. It's not perfect because the page changes fairly dramatically at different orientations, but we hope it's a bit better than jumping to the top of the page.

So if you have an Android phone, try loading up MetaFilter and scrolling down the page a bit. Rotate from portrait to landscape (or vice versa) and see what the position is like. It should be at least close to the text you were reading so you can pick up where you were. If not—or if your phone starts smoking and making noise instead—post here with a description, which browser you're using, and which version of Android you're running. Thanks!
posted by pb to Bugs at 3:42 PM (56 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

YEESSSSS IT'S WORKING IT'S WORKING OH MY GOD I AM SO HAPPY
posted by phunniemee at 4:04 PM on July 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thank you!
posted by phunniemee at 4:05 PM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Works for me -- thanks, pb!
posted by Kat Allison at 4:15 PM on July 3, 2015


This is amazing!
posted by meese at 4:19 PM on July 3, 2015


Works for me, too. Thanks!
posted by Gorgik at 4:24 PM on July 3, 2015


I have a Galaxy tab s and it's working for me. Google chrome something or other.
posted by fiercekitten at 4:38 PM on July 3, 2015


This will make gingerbeer so happy.
posted by rtha at 4:39 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yesssss
posted by gingerbeer at 4:55 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


It worked, thank you!!
posted by skycrashesdown at 5:12 PM on July 3, 2015


This is very, very exciting. Working for me on my Oneplus One, Chrome running on Android 5.0.2 Cyanogenmod 12.0.
posted by solotoro at 5:38 PM on July 3, 2015


works for me. Chrome on an HTC One M8, OS 5.0.1.
posted by Kybard at 5:38 PM on July 3, 2015


I have a pretty ancient Droid 2, and the rotation thing works for me. However, the top bar menu switch and hamburger button have some difficulties. How do I find out what OS and browser I'm running?
posted by LionIndex at 6:36 PM on July 3, 2015


I'm not trying to be a contrarian dick here, but my problem has always been that I'm scrolled to the bottom of the page upon changing orientation, not the top. Seems to be okay now, though, so I guess who the hell knows what I'm talking about.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport running Lollipop.
posted by item at 7:16 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, thank G-d.

Droid Maxx running Android v. 4.4.4 here. Fixed. Hallelujah.

Thank you, pb.
posted by zarq at 7:18 PM on July 3, 2015


by the way, if ever you're looking for the sturdiest smartphone ever (that'll still fit in your front pocket), I wholeheartedly endorse the S5 Sport.
posted by item at 7:19 PM on July 3, 2015


LionIndex, I can look up the specs on a Droid 2 and get an emulator going here. I can't guarantee we can support it but I'll see if there's something we can fix there.

Thanks for all the testing everyone. Glad to hear it's working ok.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:50 PM on July 3, 2015


Not working for me. I am running Android 4.4.2 on Galaxy S5. This is in the built-in browser, not Chrome.
posted by stowaway at 8:24 PM on July 3, 2015


Thanks for the report, stowaway. I'll take a look at that.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:44 PM on July 3, 2015


stowaway, you might click the preferences button at the top right of the browser and make sure 'Request desktop site' is not checked. If it is checked, the browser disguises itself as a desktop browser and we don't run the special code to manage scroll position.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:52 PM on July 3, 2015


There's definitely a significant lag time on longer MeTas. It jumps up to the top, as it used to, and then goes back to where I was in the thread, but I have to wait it out. I don't know if that's a function of longer threads or what.

Android 4.4.4 on a Droid Max in Chrome.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:55 PM on July 3, 2015


Yes, definitely a function of longer threads. The more comments there are on the page the more time it takes to calculate things and reflow the page. I'll keep thinking about ways to speed this up, but I think some of that is just the browser wrestling with the complexity of the modern theme CSS.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:06 PM on July 3, 2015


At any rate, thank you for working on this. It's been a huge annoyance, especially with longer threads.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:09 PM on July 3, 2015


I didn't have 'request desktop site' checked but I checked it, reloaded, unchecked it, reloaded, and HURRAH it remembers where I was!!! Thanks pb!
posted by stowaway at 10:44 PM on July 3, 2015


Works for me as well, an HTC One running Android 4.4.2. Thanks so much!
posted by jasper411 at 11:00 PM on July 3, 2015


Works for me on Samsung Galaxy S4 running Android 5.0.1 (lollipop), on the built-in browser. Thanks, pb!
posted by Lynsey at 12:41 AM on July 4, 2015


Yessssssssssssss it works thank you thank you thank you
posted by ominous_paws at 2:15 AM on July 4, 2015


Working on galaxy s6, lollipop 5.01, chrome beta. Thanks!
posted by kev23f at 3:06 AM on July 4, 2015


Working on Nexus 5, Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, Chrome 43.0.2357.93

Thank you, thank you, thank you! *dance of joy*
posted by bardophile at 3:13 AM on July 4, 2015


I guess I should clarify that the hamburger button issue only comes up once the top menu has switched to the simplified version, after scrolling down a bit on a page. When I have the full header menu everything works fine; once I scroll down past the transition point the simplified menu comes up, but nothing registers as 'clickable' on it. So, if there's a link in a comment hiding behind the hamburger button, trying to push the hamburger will actually take me to the link behind it. The menu bar is there visually just not functionally.

And yeah, my phone is so old I wouldn't expect any issues endemic to it to be worth solving.
posted by LionIndex at 8:31 AM on July 4, 2015


On a Galaxy S4 running 4.4.4 I got the following results:
- Opera Mobile: thread doesn't jump to the top, but text doesn't expand to fill the space when I switch to landscape.
- Chrome and Android browsers: Text behaves normally, but thread jumps to the top.

Hope this helps!
posted by jet_pack_in_a_can at 8:47 AM on July 4, 2015


Yes, yay, thanks so much! Galaxy S4, 4.4.2, Chrome 43.0.2357.93
posted by EmilyClimbs at 10:12 AM on July 4, 2015


Worked for me. In fact I noticed it worked thought it was a miracle, and then saw this meta.
posted by biggreenplant at 11:33 AM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Firefox on Samsung Galaxy s5, Android version 5.0. Switching orientation seems to move text up to about a quarter of the screen, which is a massive usability improvement for me.

Thanks for doing this! It bugged me, but I thought it would be an obscure browser thing so I didn't bother raising it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:11 PM on July 4, 2015


Seconding bardophile (same setup).
posted by pipeski at 2:45 PM on July 4, 2015


Thank you so much for fixing this, it was a pain. You rule! Chrome running 5.0.2
posted by goo at 2:46 PM on July 4, 2015


Holy crap... I have a very old Sony Xperia with one of the earliest iterations of Android and am amazed at the difference when switching orientations now. No more flipping to Landscape to tap out a witty rejoinder, watch everything go white and then put me at the top of the page so I gotta scrollscrollscrollscroll and by then I forgot what I wanted to say. Not anymore! Thanks a bunch!
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:18 PM on July 4, 2015


Works fine for me on a pure-android UK Moto G running 5.1, Firefox for mobile.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:43 PM on July 4, 2015


Working for me on a current nexus 6
posted by chasles at 5:04 AM on July 5, 2015


Huh, not working on my Samsung SCH-N300.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:49 AM on July 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seems to work in Chrome on a Galaxy Note 4 running Android 5.0.1. pb is awesome, as always - I had actually disabled screen rotation because of this.
posted by jferg at 12:41 PM on July 5, 2015


Working perfectly for me on Nexus 4, Android 5.1.1, Chrome 43.0.2357.93. Thanks!
posted by metaBugs at 3:40 AM on July 6, 2015


Works for me! But I came in to metatalk to see if there was any explanation for a weird thing that just happened to my phone on the blue, and maybe this is related. I changed orientation to landscape and back to portrait and the bottom half of my screen was blocked by a black square. The site worked fine on the top half of the screen. I switched orientation back and forth again and it went away, so no screenshot.

Nexus 4, lollipop, and my phone is just generally a total dickhead lately, do it's probably a completely unrelated bug.
posted by lollusc at 4:55 AM on July 6, 2015


Nexus 5, Android 5.1.1, Chrome 43.0.2357.93, works very well now! Thanks for this as it was a first world problem that I couldn't articulate, and wasn't sure if others were having the same issue.
posted by Gratishades at 5:48 AM on July 6, 2015


This works well on my Moto X 2014 running Android 5.0, but I've got a Nexus 9 running the developer preview of 5.3 (running the current Chrome, 43.0.2357.93, same as others) and it can be off by as much as a few screens, especially near the bottom of the page.

Not sure if it's an OS issue or a device issue.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 7:55 AM on July 6, 2015


Thanks for the report, jet_pack_in_a_can. I'll double check Opera Mobile. You might make sure that you don't have Chrome or the default browser in "Request desktop site" mode. That would give you the jump to the top behavior.

hmm, not sure what the black square could be lollusc. I'll keep an eye out for that.

huh, wouldn't expect it to be an OS issue, Lazlo Hollyfeld. In the Desktop world we typically don't worry about problems in preview and developer releases because they're often fixed by official release and we just don't have the resources to keep up with the bleeding edge. That'll be good to keep an eye on though.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:51 AM on July 6, 2015


I get the black square, then a white square, then it resolves to where it should be.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:53 AM on July 6, 2015


Thanks ok, that sounds like some pieces of the page that are hidden by CSS are temporarily shown as the browser reflows the page. The black square could be the page overlay used by the inline YouTube player. I'm not sure we can do anything about those unstyled glitches during the transition. Sorry about that.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:05 AM on July 6, 2015


One thing I noticed this weekend while using my Galaxy S3 to browse MeFi was that the font size appeared smaller than previous times. I don't use the mobile version, but the desktop version on Firefox mobile, previously, did manage to scale font size up for the small screen without losing overall layout.

Don't know if this has anything to do with the changes noted here, and it's nothing urgent from my end of things.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:03 PM on July 6, 2015


No, this change shouldn't affect font size in any way and we haven't made any changes recently on that front. I've noticed that if "Request Desktop Site" is checked in Firefox, the font is significantly smaller. You might see if that option is checked.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:15 PM on July 6, 2015


<3 !

I tested one of the very long MeTas, switched from portrait to landscape, and it paused, thought about going to the header, and prudently resolved to the comment where I'd left it. Then I changed back - it paused, flirted briefly with the header and then decided to send me back to the comment. Bliss!

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact running Android 4.4.4, Chrome 43.0.2357.93.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:36 PM on July 6, 2015


Works on Kindle Fire HD7/Chrome.
posted by galadriel at 2:03 PM on July 7, 2015


Did you also add a "jump to the bottom/top" button? Or am I just inattentive, and its always been there?
posted by Gorgik at 5:29 AM on July 8, 2015


Works great on LG G3, Android 4.4.2, on Chrome 41.0.2272.96 and Firefox 37.0.2
I also fired up the old Motorola Droid Bionic running 4.1.2, and it worked fine on the stock browser and FF 36.0.1
posted by gimli at 5:43 AM on July 8, 2015


Also works great on Chrome 18.0.1025469 on the Bionic. Doesn't work on Opera Mini 7.5.3, but neither do the menus. I suppose that should be expected on a bare-bones, data-saving browser, though.
posted by gimli at 6:00 AM on July 8, 2015


Gorgik, yep that's been there the whole time.

Yeah, Opera Mini is a tough one. It removes pieces of the page to save bandwidth in unpredictable ways. I'll take a look and see if there's something we can do.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:46 AM on July 8, 2015


Working with Chrome on Nexus 6 running Lollipop 5.1.1 LYZ28E (T-Mobile build). Thanks!
posted by echocollate at 10:23 AM on July 11, 2015


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