Tabbed Browsing User Experience in the Beta 2 Preview

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Tabbed Browsing User Experience in the Beta 2 Preview

We didn’t introduce tabs in the Beta 2 Preview, but we did improve our experience a lot! We heard a ton of feedback from Beta 1, and made some great changes that I’m confident will be appreciated. I’d like to remind everyone about what we introduced in Beta 1, summarize the feedback we received, and then talk a bit about the big changes to look for in the Beta 2 Preview.

Remembering Beta 1

Not everyone saw our Beta 1 functionality, here are some highlights…

Putting tabs in Internet Explorer

The biggest thing we did in Beta 1 was re-architect IE to support tabs. Tony has a great post explaining exactly how that was done.

We know how useful tabs are, so we decided to promote them to the top level so more people could benefit. This means average people will be introduced to tabs without having to go dig in settings, or context menus. Along with the basic top level tabs we introduced top level tab creation, context menus and middle mouse click to open in new tabs, the ability to close all other tabs or refresh all tabs, as well as the tab overflow behavior.

Some settings you could tweak

We also introduced a few settings to help you customize your behavior. If you don’t like tabs opening in the background by default, simply change the setting. If you don’t like our behavior with pop-up windows, that was another setting. Want to disable tabs? No problem!

Small things you might not have noticed

There are always a ton of interaction details that many won’t notice, but for some these will make or break the features.

Things as simple as automatically setting focus to the address bar when a new tab is created (just think of how many millions of mouse clicks that will save over time :-) ), the middle mouse click shortcuts (middle click on the tabs to close, middle click on a link to open in a tab), double click on empty tab band space to open a new tab, Alt+Enter from the address bar or search box to directly open in a new tab etc…

Individually these are small, but they add up.

Your Beta 1 feedback

We heard a couple of consistent points of feedback…

  1. The close button should be on the tab itself
  2. Prompt me before closing all my tabs
  3. It’s hard to see which tab is active
  4. I want tab/favorites integration

In the Beta 2 Preview we’ve addressed all of these (for 3 see "Visual overhaul" below). We also heard a ton of feedback on command/menu positioning, but we will discuss that in another post.

Beta 2 Preview – Show me the new stuff!

Visual overhaul

We updated our tab visuals to tighten up the text/icons to make more room for the page title. We added a line below the tabs that helps bring out the active tab and the tabs themselves have gone through a complete visual update!

New Tab Look

New tab look!

Quick Tabs

Look at Uche's post from Friday on this new feature that allows you to quickly choose a tab when you have a lot of tabs open.

 

New homepage button!

We introduced the concept of a multi tab homepage in IE in Beta 1. Now in the Beta 2 Preview we enhanced the homepage button so people can manage their tab homepage without needing to go into the Internet Options control panel!

New Homepage Button

New homepage button 

Restore last tab group

When you close a tab set you can now go back and re-open them next time you launch IE. Right click on the tab row to see this action.

Restore Last Tab Group

Restore last tab group

Add tabs to favorites, Open folder in tabs

Now that we have tabs, we made sure that our other features properly leverage the concept. Our Add Favorites functionality now allows you to add the entire tab set as a favorite, and it also promotes an easy way to open any folder in tabs.

 

Arrow UI

Arrow = Open all links in folder in tabs. Don’t get used to this icon though :-)

What else??

Well, there have been a lot of other changes that you’ll notice with tabs as well. Download the Beta 2 Preview and tell us what you think!

Until next time, keep browsing!

 - Aaron Sauvé

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