Mozilla 1.5 Beta Released
Wednesday August 27th, 2003
mozilla.org has just released Mozilla 1.5 Beta. Amongst the usual improvements, there's a range of Mail & Newsgroups enhancements and a major ChatZilla update. This is also the first milestone to include a spellchecker. Grab a build from the mozilla.org Releases Page (or direct from ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla/releases/mozilla1.5b) and check out the Mozilla 1.5 Beta Release Notes for more information.
Saturday August 30th, 2003 6:09 AM
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I would like to know the details of this supposed usability testing. What was the test group the arragement the degree of experience, and so on.
No details given in any of the before posted bugs.
It is clearly the case that the append behavior is more powerfull as replace can be easily reproduced, whereas the opposite is not the case. Also replace destroys information that is not on screen, and is possible Dataloss.
A hidden preference is not acceptable for such an issue, the standard option needs to be reasonable.
If tabs are to serve as a complete elimination of multi window neccesities, then it is inaccaptible that an action in the current window destroys all others as well.
If we look at normal bookmark behavior as a guide it replaces not all tabs but only the current tab. That's the way it has always been and will always be. If we see the tab as a replacement for the window it should behave exactly like that. open a single bookmark loads it in the tab, loading a bookmark group should load the group in the tab. To me it seems the most reasonable and consisten behavior would thus be to replace the current tab and append the other tabs to the right. Then bookmark group behavior is a logical extrapolation of bookmark behavior.
From this basic behavior the classical append can be reproduced by (New Tab)->(Bookmark group) and the classical replace by (close all other tabs) -> (bookmark group)
This is logical consistent and powerfull without being complex.
As someone else noted a single bookmark does not eliminate all other tabs either. tabs are not only used when browsing one source along multiple paths but also for coordinating different sources, and to effectively do the later an effective append like behavior is crucial. People who only use tabbed browsing for the former might not need this but there are no reasonable arguments why to save this group of people a single click (or, if added shortcut) inconsistent behavior is introduced which has the potential of dataloss as what is perceived as background/out of focus information that should not be affected by current actions until brought into focus is lost, a complete way of using the browser is eliminated and the power of tab bookmarks is significantly reduced.
Consider this: I am writing an email to a fellow student on some research I looked up the other day, and so I simply click the bookmark group of the preprints I had found and have all the informationat hand. I am browsing a board with many messages in different tabs open, and want to take a short break to check todays online comics. I simply click the bookmark group and continue reading messages until they are loaded.
Basically tab groups bookmarks help organize bunches of information, and to append allows one to effectively use this bunches of information.
sure, with multi window management I can still do all that, but that requires me to introduce another organisation layer which is not neccesary. Thus using the browser becomes vastly more complex by the current replace behavior.
In summary: There is no reason for it, it brings no reasonable objective advantages over the replace current tab implementation.
The user expectation argument has to be extremely strong to justify this drastic step, which I have to repeat it again: completely eliminates a part of tab functionality without any objective win.
What after people have used tabs for a few days? Do they still not like it? Can they not be educated? Was the third alternative tested at all?
If all else fails at least for M-Firebird it should then be considered to add "replace tabs with bookmarks in folder" and "append bookmarks in folders" options directly in the bookmarks menu.