Microsoft seems to be going full touch for Internet Explorer 11. The recently released public preview of Windows 8.1 provided us our first look at several new and improved features of the upcoming version of the company’s web browser.

Prime among them is the much enhanced support for touch — allowing users to interact with the browser via touchscreen. Long story short, touch is really in and Redmond wants everyone to know.

And to help the cause, the company talked in detail the specific improvements made for touch input in a brand new blog post on the MSDN Blog.

One of the changes is the use of hove menus on certain websites that have been designed to be used by a mouse. IE 11 allows touchscreen users an option to hover over the menu to show its selection and tap on one of the choices to go to the designed website:

“In addition to touch hover support, a new context menu command bar now appears at the bottom of the screen when you press and hold on a link. This allows for the command bar to display without interfering with the site’s hover menu if there is one. You can also quickly open pages in a new tab or window by accessing the buttons in the command bar.”

This is better illustrated in a video, and you can take a look at exactly how this works below:

IE 11 also puts in improved highlights to web links when a finger is pressed on them in a touchscreen PC or tablet. This allows users to better see the interaction options with that link.

The upcoming version also improves navigation between pages when compared to IE 10.

Swiping a finger across the page in the current version takes the website to a previous or next page. IE 11, however, suspends and caches the previous page in memory. What this means is that when users go back to that page, it is instantly resumed.

And in cases where pages cannot be put into memory, IE 11 puts is pre-render technology to use to help speed up the loading process.

Since touch is so deeply integrated in Internet Explorer 11, it is also the first browser that natively supports touchscreens for HTML5 drag-and-drop specification. This allows users to press and hold elements in a website that is built using HTML5 and then drag-and-drop code with their finger.

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  • Mike Greenway

    Deleting my post, didn’t fix the video. It still will not play. IE10 on win8. (I don’t feel good after being deleted!)