Posts Tagged ‘Tabs’

Future versions of Firefox are to get a new tab organisation feature called Tab Candy. The feature, which resembles exposé from Mac OS X, allows users to easily group and organise tabs into groups.

“With one keystroke Tab Candy shows an overview of all tabs to allow you to quickly locate and switch between them. Tab Candy also lets you group tabs to organize your work flow. You can create a group for your vacation, work, recipes, games and social sites, however it makes sense to you to group tabs. When you switch to a grouped tab only the relevant tabs are shown in the tab bar, which helps you focus on what you want” wrote Mozilla’s Aza Raskin.

Available as an alpha build, Tab Candy is written solely with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, meaning there is no native code for any platform.

More details on the project can be found in the Mozilla Wiki, while an alpha preview can be downloaded form the Mozilla FTP.

Early builds of Firefox 4 are starting to show the browser new interface.

Part of the revamp includes moving tabs above the address bar by default, which isn’t something everyone is happy about. Thankfully, this can be changed easily by the user.

“This is a preference that users can change by right clicking on any of their toolbars.  Moving the default tab position is obviously a significant and to some extent controversial change to the Firefox UI, which is why we made the video above to help explain our rationale” explains Alex Faaborg, User Experience Design at Mozilla.

Firefox 4 Beta’s are expected in the next few weeks, with a final release before the end of 2010.

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Latest nightly builds of Firefox include a new customisable tab bar in the browser.

New builds allow buttons in tabs to be removed, saving valuable screen real estate for heavy tab users.

Previously this has been possible with third party add-ons, or by modifying the browsers own CSS files.

The tabs in this build also appear to be more rounded, as has been apparent in early interface mock ups for Firefox 4.

This is only the start of changes, with tab animations and aero glass still on their way for the upcoming browser.

Eager testers can view the new tab bar in action by downloading the latest nightly builds from the Mozilla FTP server.

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Mozilla’s Stephen Horlander has been hard at work, working on tab animations for the next version of Firefox, Firefox 4.0. The aim is to improve the user experience.

“One area that animation would be very beneficial is with tab interactions. Specifically moving/arranging tabs on the tab strip, closing/opening tabs and tearing off tabs into new windows. Presently the feedback here isn’t as good or as elegant as it could be” said Horlander.

“Some of the goals for animation are to make browsing feel faster, adding visual affordances that makes tasks more understandable and to make the browser more visually appealing. There is much more detail on the Wiki articles linked above. My goal was to quickly demo how this would actually look and feel because still images and wireframes can only convey so much.”

Below is am image preview of what it might look like when opening a new tab.

Video’s of the preview tab animations can be found in Horlander’s blog post.

Firefox 3.6 has introduced a new tab behaviour, where new tabs are opened next to your currently selected tab, while Firefox 3.5 and older would open new tabs at the end of all your tabs.

If you don’t like this new behaviour, you can change it back to the way it was. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to about:config in the address bar
  2. Search for browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent
  3. Double click the value to change it from true to false
  4. Done!

Enjoy surfing the way you are used too.

Microsoft has filled a patent that reveals it is looking at revamping the tabbed browsing experience with Internet Explorer 9.

The patent appears to be an enhancement of the quick tabs found in IE8,which allows users to see all tabs and close them individually. This parent covers:

  • Drag and move the tabs within the Quick Tabs interface.
  • Tab thumbnails will enlarge on mouse-hover.
  • In case your tab row was over flowing with tabs and in Quick Tabs you were to hover the mouse on a tab not currently visible on the tab bar, the overflow icons would change appearance.

Will it be enough to stop IE from loosing market share? Only time will tell.

A technical preview of Internet Explorer 9 is expected by mid March 2010.

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Mozilla Labs Design ChallengeMozilla Labs has started a design challenge seeking to encourage innovation and experimentation in user interface design for the Web. The aim is to reinvent tabs, as many users today will often have 10-20 tabs open at anyone time.

“The browser is more of an operating system than a data display application; we use it to manage the web as a shared hard drive” says the Mozilla website. “If you have more than seven or eight tabs open they become pretty much useless. And tabs don’t work well if you use them with heterogeneous information. They’re a good solution to keep the screen tidy for the moment.”

Users are able to enter the design challenge by submitting mock-ups of what they think could be possible solutions. Entries need to be in by June 21st 2009, with the winner being announced July 8th 2009.

Full details can be found on the Mozilla Labs Design Challenge website.

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An article over at ReadWriteWeb suggests that Firefox designers are looking at a complete overhaul of the web browser inerface, to keep up with users change in browsing patterns.

Firefox without tabs

Firefox without tabs

The first idea is from Aza Raskin. His idea invisions tabs being on the side of the browser, as “our screens are wider than they are tall” with vertical height being scarce resource.

The second idea comes from Oliver Reichenstein. His design has completly removed tabs and has an interface similar to Apple’s iTunes.

Reichenstein argues that “today, twenty+ parallel sessions is quite common; the browser is more of an operating system than a data display application; we use it to manage the web as a shared hard drive. If you have more than seven or eight tabs open they become pretty much useless.”

Either way, the future of Firefox still looks bright – tabs or no tabs.

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