Wednesday, July 26, 2006

When Tabbed Browsers Attack: Reducing Distrations and Clutter

As the Web 2.0 portal sites like Google and Yahoo! begin to offer more and more services - such as email, calendering, stock portfolios, spreadsheets - you may start to find that you open lots of browser windows - one for each service - or lots of tabs on those browsers that support tabs.

The tabbed browser approach is also problematic because you usually end up mixing service tabs with general surfing. It can take a while to find which tab contains a particular service.

This could become a real UI challenge for users of these portal sites as more and more applications are offered over the web.

So what can you do? You could start a new browser window just for, say, Google services, but you will still have to juggle multiple windows and tabs.

The CheeseBurgerMan has a solution he calls Googlr, which is a WinForms wrapper with embedded iexplorer around Google services where tabs are replaced by menu items. I suppose this could be done using iframes and a bit of clever javascript, but it is a nice attempt at making the navigation of these portals a bit easier.

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