For a comment left at the Humanized blog on a post called Humanized Puzzler #2: Firefox Tabs.
Recently I wrote an article called Firefox 2.0: Tabs Gone Wrong. In it, I argue that Firefox introduced a new feature that represented a big step backwards in terms of tab usability:
So here’s the challenge. What’s your solution to the many-tab problem? I’ve already said that reverting to the Firefox 1.5 method of just making the tabs smaller and smaller is better than even the animated version of what’s in Firefox 2.0.
2 layers of tab space with limited tabs.
First layer is the normal tab layer, but only say 5 tabs are ever visible on that level.
Second layer is a line of squares that are color oriented. The squares represent a tab, but have no descriptive measure unless you maybe hover over one and it tells you the what tab it is.
The squares always represent how many tabs are open. So, if you have 3 tabs open, haven’t used up the limited tab description space, you see three different colored squares on the next layer. Once you open 6 tabs, you only see 5 in the first layer, but there are six squares below. You always know how many tabs are open by the number of squares. As you square grow in number, say to 100, they may shrink in size to accommodate so many squares, but you always see them on screen.
You can always view 5 tab descriptions at a time, so you highlight those five squares, which should be positioned next to one another. When you select any other square outside of those five, you get that set of five tabs shown in the descriptive tab space and those five are also highlighted.
Not sure how much sense that makes, but I might find time later to do a picture, or maybe someone else likes the idea and will try it instead 🙂