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Last post Author Topic: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?  (Read 24897 times)

mouser

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Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« on: May 19, 2009, 09:37:11 AM »
This is actually quite interesting.. Mozilla (makers of FireFox) are having a contest to see who can come up with the best ideas for innovating the next user interface development that will go beyond the concept of "Tabs".  Now personally I *love* tabs, so i'm curious to see what people come up with.

Quote
For this Design Challenge we are focusing on finding creative solutions to the question: "Reinventing Tabs in the Browser - How can we create, navigate and manage multiple web sites within the same browser instance?"

...

To participate in the Design Challenge you need to create a mockup of your proposed solution. A mockup can be anything from a napkin drawing, to a wireframe, to a polished graphic.

You also need to create a video explaining your idea(s), presenting the mockup and showing how your idea works.



from http://www.osnews.com

Josh

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2009, 09:40:25 AM »
How about, instead of replacing tabs, we extend them? I would love to see a Windows style GROUPING of tabs from similar domains. I.E, you have 5 donationcoder pages that are in essence grouped into a single tab with a drop down arrow to select between them. You could also navigate them using something like CTRL + DOWN/UP ARROW.

app103

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 09:41:43 AM »
How about multiple tabbed browser windows within an MDI interface? Oh wait...AOL already did that.

How about subtabs, where each tab is a parent to multiple child tabs that appear on a 2nd row? Oh wait...Crystalport already did that.

Ok, I admit...I have no original ideas worthy of submitting.

rgdot

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 10:19:13 AM »
Not sure if I can come up with an original idea but look at their FAQ
"Do you've got some examples how a video of my mockup should look like?"

"Do you've got"???

And I thought my English is worthless  ;D

cranioscopical

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 10:29:50 AM »
"Do you've got some examples how a video of my mockup should look like?"

"Do you've got"???

And I thought my English is worthless  ;D
Quite right, well spotted!
Clearly the 'm' in mockup should have been a 'c'.

fenixproductions

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 11:07:29 AM »
I wonder what wil users show and will anyone post a link to Tree Style Tab addon ;)

Honestly: I might have few ideas but I will not definitely go into troubles of creating movies for a browser I don't use so often. Come on, what happened with just writing ideas down or creating fake screenshots? Please, Mozilla, do not expect me to learn Flash or programming just to allow you to rip me off ;)

Stoic Joker

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 12:24:01 PM »
There is a feature in EmEditor that allows tabs to be dragged between instances, or split off into new instances allowing you to regroup documents on the fly. That would be a cool feature for a browser.

Eóin

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 01:48:39 PM »
Now that would be very cool indeed Stoic Joker.

MilesAhead

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 02:14:02 PM »
Hmmmmm only thing that comes to mind is a split view like file managers use.  But googling I see there's already a FF AddOn for it.  Maybe I'll try it.

https://addons.mozil...+browser&cat=all


edit: just tried it.  Seems usable if you maximize the browser. It will take awhile to tell if it's solid. Good for the occasion when you need to compare posts in a couple of forums maybe.. Or do cut & paste.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 02:23:27 PM by MilesAhead »

MilesAhead

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 02:51:22 PM »
I wonder what wil users show and will anyone post a link to Tree Style Tab addon ;)

Honestly: I might have few ideas but I will not definitely go into troubles of creating movies for a browser I don't use so often. Come on, what happened with just writing ideas down or creating fake screenshots? Please, Mozilla, do not expect me to learn Flash or programming just to allow you to rip me off ;)

Hmmmmm, the next step could be a Monty Hall. Like, you have to dress up as a chicken when making the video!!  ;D

Ehtyar

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 06:08:55 PM »
Damn you Mouse Man, was gonna post it when I got into work. I guess there are some advantages to living in the past after all :P

Personally I'm looking very forward to this. It seems that although tabs are a reasonably recent development in browsers, they've become dated and inefficient very quickly. Hopefully there will be some good ideas come from this.

Ehtyar.

tranglos

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2009, 06:52:00 PM »
My first thought when I read this was: OMG, they're going to spoil the tabs!. And so were my second and third thoughts.

Tabs are a very specific visual metaphor, based on a specific physical interaction known from the real world. They have a few advantages over MDI windows, in that you can see all the available workspaces at once, and that selecting a tab is a one-click operation. They have disadvantages, too - you can't show them side by side (so drag and drop operations between tabs are no longer obvious), and only so many will fit on screen.

There are a few ways you can enhance the usabilty of tabs, like color-coding them or making the current tab a little taller than the rest. I don't think you should mess around with tabs beyond that. For example, grouping tabs like buttons on the taskbar would kill the two defining features of tabs: you could no longer see all the workspaces at once, and selecting a workspace would no longer be a one-click action. It'd be like going back to the list of windows under the Window menu in an MDI application.

They're out to spoil the tabs!


wreckedcarzz

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2009, 07:06:47 PM »
There are a few ways you can enhance the usabilty of tabs, like color-coding them or making the current tab a little taller than the rest.

You mean like this?
coloredAndTaller.pngMozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?

Tab Mix Plus :up:

fenixproductions

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2009, 07:07:32 PM »
I've just browsed through web (Flickr mostly) and must say that many ideas are strange because most of the people are trying to reinvent the wheel. They focus on tabs only by grouping them or creating strange lists. It is no longer usable IMHO.

Why does nobody bother to i.e. use simple list view as overflow panel on the left side on the screen? With thumbnails and transparency it could be pretty nice to use. Just hover left area and it is shown. No magic needed.

Ehtyar

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2009, 07:19:52 PM »
IMO the hover thing is not going to work in a browser, both from an efficiency and usability standpoint, but I do like your thoughts Fenix Man.

Ehtyar.

fenixproductions

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2009, 07:37:01 PM »
IMO the hover thing is not going to work in a browser, both from an efficiency and usability standpoint

Why not? Something like this is already implemented in many browsers and called Sidebars or something. The biggest problem with them is the fact that they steal precious space when activated. That is why I've thought about overflow effect.

We have also the possibility to use auto-hide option for system taskbar. I know many people who use that even if it's not good for me. Now, imagine similar thing in browser.

I understand it is not the best idea in the world (i.e. there would be no indication of tabs count until we get something more) but I've wanted to show that solution might already exists, though no one sees.

P.S. I recommend to try FastStone Image Viewer in full screen mode to see some parts of my idea :)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 07:42:58 PM by fenixproductions »

Ehtyar

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2009, 07:47:54 PM »
The hover thing literally requires you to have your mouse sitting in one spot doing nothing for an extended amount of time. I'm not sure how users would fancy doing this in their browser.

Then there's issue of the "left area". I can't really imagine how small the area would have to be to avoid accidental triggering. You could instead try using the left side of the screen/window with an instantaneous popup, but you'd still have the occasional accidental trigger.

IMO we'd be better off with a keyboard shortcut; I dare say most users who require the efficiency boost of an extended tab system are already comfortable with keyboard shortcuts.

Ehtyar.

fenixproductions

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2009, 07:59:03 PM »
2Ehtyar
I see nothing against the possibility to switch "hover mode" off and using shortcuts.

I also know that accidental triggers can bother people but despite that some users might find it handy. I doubt I would ever use it (same annoyance for me as taskbar auto-hide) but I know "others" might think different. That is what making ideas is all about. You will never hit 100% satisfaction rate but you can try to get as much as possible.

Back to tabs: their disadvantages were well known since the beginning and it makes me wonder why they realized that so late.

MilesAhead

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2009, 08:17:57 PM »
I've just browsed through web (Flickr mostly) and must say that many ideas are strange because most of the people are trying to reinvent the wheel. They focus on tabs only by grouping them or creating strange lists. It is no longer usable IMHO.

Why does nobody bother to i.e. use simple list view as overflow panel on the left side on the screen? With thumbnails and transparency it could be pretty nice to use. Just hover left area and it is shown. No magic needed.

I believe there's a TreeView side panel already.  Also I tried a side panel that shows images of the tab and kills the tab bar when open.  Conceptually it seemed worth trying but I didn't like the feel of it.  Then again, I rarely use the side panel.

People are so used to tabs now that if they opened a link in a new browser window it might seem like a revolutionary experience. :)

fenixproductions

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2009, 08:43:29 PM »
People are so used to tabs now that if they opened a link in a new browser window it might seem like a revolutionary experience. :)
You might be right.

BTW It just came to me but: isn't "too much tabs" just a mental problem?

I see it falling into the same category as hundreds of icons on Desktop or entries in Start menu.

Ehtyar

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2009, 09:10:45 PM »
Indeed you have a point Fenix Man, I'm just ot a fan of an exclusively hover-based interface.

I don't think Mozilla "just realized" that tabs are not a complete solution, but I think they've come to the conclusion that they can't provide the solution themselves so they're provided the community with the opportunity to solve the problem.

People are so used to tabs now that if they opened a link in a new browser window it might seem like a revolutionary experience. :)
On this morning's episode of Buzz Out Loud, one of the presenters mentioned exactly that phenomenon. I do think though that Firefox needs a few additional mechanisms to handle Windows more effectively. For example, moving tabs more efficiently between windows, an alt-tab type mechanism for windows perhaps....

Ehtyar.

fenixproductions

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2009, 09:20:47 PM »
I do think though that Firefox needs a few additional mechanisms to handle Windows more effectively. For example, moving tabs more efficiently between windows, an alt-tab type mechanism for windows perhaps....

Do you mean working like Opera now?

It is possible in Opera to drag'n'drop tab into taskbar to create new browser instance with this tab only. You can go even further: drag tab from one window, Alt+Tab to 2nd (w/o releasing mouse button) and drop it there.

I can make a movie if you don't believe me ;)

Ehtyar

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2009, 09:53:24 PM »
I've no experience with the current version of Opera. I didn't necessarily mean those specific features, but there needs to be a few mechanisms added to Firefox to make managing multiple windows a little less basic IMO.

Ehtyar.

fenixproductions

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2009, 10:37:28 PM »
2Ehtyar
I agree with you on this part but there is one more thing: Mozilla needs to change their way of thinking.

They were relying too much on extensions, left too many basic features to them and now are suffering from draw back. Things like TabMixPlus or PasteGo should be rather offered as core functionality or at least given within some kind of "Firefox pack". If they do that at the beginning there would be less problems because it could force in users good habits of organizing things.

They made few bad decisions and now are trying to fix them. Or rather: trying to find someone to do it for them for "fame". I was always thinking: make something good first, extend it more later but Mozilla did it opposite way.

For me Firefox is piece of crap without any extensions installed. When it had came to live I needed 12 extensions to do almost the same stuff as Opera and I was just starting with O! Of course, many things changed, much more extensions are available now but F is still poor right after installation. I still think that extensions are great but, seriously, how many users spend their time to track all of them down? Adblock, NoScript - these are the most known ones. What about others which could help to solve "too much" problem? Users will know nothing about them without Mozilla forcing them but M prefers to advertise their hunting instead of browsing their own database.

As I've already wrote: it's mental problem.

Time to sleep now :)

Target

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Re: Mozilla Contest: How Would You Improve Tabbed Browsing?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2009, 12:02:48 AM »
can't help thinking that whatever they come up with will still only be a variation on the theme...

I also agree that there are a number of 'core extensions' whose functionality should be incorporated into the basic browser (either as core functionality or as a bundled xtn)

I suspect part of the reason no one uses some of the potentially useful ones is that there are so damn many of the things (and I for one can't be bothered trolling through several hundred 'social networking' extensions to find the handful of useful - ie non social networking - that I might be interested in). 

If they were only categorised better it would be much simpler...