Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 16th Aug 2008 16:50 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the eighth article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms [part I | part II | part III | part IV | part V | part VI | part VII]. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. In part VIII, we focus on the tab.
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Opera Tabs Before 7
by jrronimo on Mon 18th Aug 2008 19:53 UTC
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I could swear that Opera 6 had a 'proper' Tab implementation -- with the graphic and all. I can't find the screenshot now, but I was trying to show my friends how awesome tabs were since I loved Opera so much at the time. If you're disagreeing with me, what about Opera 6's tab implementation makes it improper?

Since that time, I've actually grown to hate tabs for a lot of the reasons you've mentioned -- alt+tab doesn't work among other things. Luckily, the Opera Devs have kept "SDI" implementations available through preferences. My Opera opens windows rather than tabs and I have removed the tab bar as it is just a waste of space that could have more OS News content. ;) It gives me Alt+Tab back, which is nice.

On top of that, I've changed the way I look at my UI in general -- the Windows Taskbar is essentially a tab bar but for all applications, to me. I can easily identify the content of a webpage by looking at its place in the Taskbar. If I get too many open, Windows Groups them together, making it easier for me to read the title attribute of a window. Of course, that's one more click and one more attention focus than as if everything were just in the taskbar, but it's become very usable to me. (I would even argue that it's not necessarily one more attention shift since I just look for the icon representing the applicaiton I want before narrowing it down to a specific instance of that application. Image recognition is simpler than reading the words.)

Edit:// I also meant to mention about "bad" tab implementations. I'm looking at you, IE7. Having the tab bar BELOW the address bar flies in the face of all things sensical and right! Changing a tab should change the content below it, with the tab being the 'major' grouping. I just don't see why it makes sense to have a tab bar in the middle of the things it's changing.

Edited 2008-08-18 19:55 UTC

Reply Score: 1