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Bring the old style tabs back!!

User Help for Mozilla Firefox
ziddey
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Post Posted October 25th, 2006, 8:24 pm

blackwizard wrote:Um...guys, consider that FF1.5 had been the ONLY browser out there with a single close button to the right. ALL other browser that I am aware of have had close button on each tab since the very beginning of their implementation of tabs. Are all the other guys simply crazy to be implementing their tab close button so? I don't think so. They do it that way because from UI perspective, it's MUCH more efficient straightforward to use.

First of all, having close button on each tab removes any doubt as to which tab the user is closing. Mouse's primary advantage over the keyboard was the visual straightforwardness it offers. If you want to close tabs in rapid succession or something to that effect, you should be opting for the keyboard shortcut anyway. Mouse's primary function should not be compromised for something that can be achieved through other basic devices.

Having a single close button, as pointed out by an anonymous guest, makes tab management very cluttersome as well. Those two favor the middle click approach, here's a reason why that's something to avoid when designing any sensible platform independent UI.

There's nothing visible ANYWHERE that indicates the middle click induces such behavior. NOTHING. How should ot occur to an average user that middle clicking would close the tab?

Also consider:

1. There are people who don't have a scroll wheeled mouse. Heck, over in Mac platform, many users don't even have a right button.
2. The wheel itself doesn't look like a button at all. I've met dozens of people who didn't know that the wheel had such a function.

I myself have a scroll wheel mouse, but despise any application that forces me to click on it. Wheel's function is to scroll, and it usually has MUCH more resistance than the other buttons on the mouse to prevent accidental clicking while scrolling- making for a very unnatural clicking experience.

Also, I've mentioned that EVERY other browser that currently has any considerable user base has close button on each of its tabs. This means for everyone except the hardcore firefox users, that's "the way it's always been" for tabs - making the switch to firefox is that much easier if they choose to do so. Why should they deny newcomers of familiar interface when old interface was so illogical from UI perspective?
I beg to differ. I've used opera and the other programs (emule et al) that implement the close on the tab itself and have always hated it. And with firefox, that was one of the huge sellers for me. I'm not saying I always use the end button. For sure when it's more convenient I go straight to the tab itself or ctrl-f4 or whathave you. But when I go straight to the tab, I middle click it and it's gone. I'm not limited to one button there. And with 10-25 tabs open, it's really a whole lot better to be able to see the tab than have all these buttons all over the place. Plus, I'm not a fan of the scrolling tabs at all, so when the tabs get smaller, being able to see as much text as possible is a great asset. I'm not saying I'm right you're wrong since they obviously did it since they felt a lot of people like it the other way. Just trying to argue that I'm not insane over here either.

Lost User 240852
 
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Post Posted October 25th, 2006, 9:20 pm

Oh, I completely understand how it could be convenient for people. I am not here to argue that. Heck, _I_ find it convenient to place my tab bar horizontally and to the right side of the screen...

But I don't think they should use that as the factory default.

What I'm trying to say is that since this "new" (to Firefox, anyway) behavior of tabs will make it easier for people who's introduced to tabs for the first time, AND will provide familiar environment for people who switched from other tab-enabled browsers, it's better that the default, factory setting be this new behavior.

I personally think that one of the biggest advantage of Firefox is its expandability - to be able to shape it into almost any way you want. But I also think that the base core should remain simple and if at all possible, cater to the masses and/or would-be-customers. I'm afraid that the masses are more used to the close on each tab.

This is why, personal preferences aside, I think that the old bahavior should be dead and buried. Anyone who wants to sacrifice a little UI logic in favor of efficiency can always use an extension or use userChrome edit. ^_-

Ashland
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Post Posted October 25th, 2006, 10:40 pm

"Mouse's primary advantage over the keyboard was the visual straightforwardness it offers. "

I don't agree with this at all. I feel like I am doing work whenever I have to type something, and I feel like I am having fun when I use the mouse. Clicking on a sometimes-there, sometimes not close button on a tab which is in a different place each time is not a very efficient action. However, I have seen a lot of beginners use Firefox and not ever open or close tabs, as well as hitting the red x when they want the main black x and vice-versa. Using the close tab button on a tab is easier to guess how to do for absolute beginners. But if you want to close several tabs in succession it seems quite a bit worse.

Personally I usually middle click on the tab itself to close it. (When I am closing dozens of pages on after another, I do use the close button on the right, thank goodness the about:config exists to allow that.) I do agree that many mice are not designed to middle click well, mine sucks at it so I use the side button as middle click.
And, if I did not have a button I could make be middle click, I would prefer the close tabs to be on the tab. For closing one tab, mousing over to the x on the right can be a lot of motion.

So, to sum up, in my opinion (and I'm pretty sure I'm right):
A good working middle button or custom button is the easiest mouse way to open and close tabs. The x on the right is the easiest mouse way to close several tabs one after another. And the x on each tab is the most obvious way to beginners to close a tab, and is better for closing a single tab than the x on the right, and is the best way to mouse close a single tab if your mouse doesn't have a good button for middle click.

The conclusion based on the above, to me, is a close button on each tab is the best default, because it is best for beginners and people with sucky mice, which is the vast majority of users. But, the ability to put the close on the right will be more familiar to many 1.0 users and will be better for users with a good mouse. It deserves a UI option, not to be buried in about:config where many people are scared to go.

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Post Posted October 25th, 2006, 11:57 pm

Ashland wrote:"Mouse's primary advantage over the keyboard was the visual straightforwardness it offers. "

I don't agree with this at all. I feel like I am doing work whenever I have to type something, and I feel like I am having fun when I use the mouse.


? How is this disagreeing? This (and the rest of your post) is my point exactly. Mouse offers a very straightforward way to interact with your computer. Straightforwardness that comes at a price of a little inefficiency, but there's the keyboard for those who feel the need to be efficient.

As you have pointed out, I don't think any application should assume a scroll wheel yet. Or worse, expect clicking behavior from the scroll wheels. Simply because not everyone has them. Also, while main click = direct interaction with the elements and sub click = indirect interaction with the elements (via contextual menu) is well accepted and standard in any GUI-enabled OS (unless user has tweaked it otherwise), but the only consistant behavior assigned to the middle click is the scrolling through mouse movement - where the cursor changes shape to indicate the different behavior taking effect.

But with this tab thing, one must make a blind leap - which means bad UI (again, I stress that bad UI is not necessarly an inefficient UI). If we are interacting with visual elements, it's only natural that we should get some kind of visual indication of what's going to happen.

That said, I think the best effort to overcome this shortcoming of the mouse is the mouse gestures because it assigns meaning to your movement, not to how your pointer is interacting with other elements on your screen. It also does not require you to get new hardware. (A little iffy for Mac users with single button mouse, but since control+click is considered a standard equiv. to right click there, I think my point stands)

But if you want to close several tabs in succession it seems quite a bit worse.

Anyhoo, so yeah,

Ashland wrote:The conclusion based on the above, to me, is a close button on each tab is the best default, because it is best for beginners and people with sucky mice, which is the vast majority of users.


That right there is what I'm talking about... Although:

Ashland wrote:But, the ability to put the close on the right will be more familiar to many 1.0 users and will be better for users with a good mouse. It deserves a UI option, not to be buried in about:config where many people are scared to go.


I think the reason for this cold turkey thing is because they are trying to do is kill this old behavior completely to opt for the new interface. I wouldn't be surprised if this option to have universal close button is removed completely for FF3 or something after that.

galmok
 
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Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 12:59 am

Nobody knows how to make the tabs even smaller than with minWidth=0 and closeButtons=3? I still see lots of wasted space (no reason to have that huge border for such a small icon... :-/

Jamie Z
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Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 1:11 am

Thanks for the tip about the right-side close button. I prefer it there, but I'd still like to keep the close button on each tab, too.

My other question is how do I get Firefox to open a new tab when I left-click on a bookmark? I'm not really a middle-click kind of guy, having a scroll wheel and all. A left click on a link opens a new tab, but if I left click on a bookmark, the page overwrites my current tab. Ugh.

Jamie

Ahriman
 
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Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 2:40 am

Having the close button in each tab you need to "chase" it each time that you want to close the active tab, as the active tab, per design, is not always in the same position. This don't seem to me a clever GUI implementation.

Otherwise, having the close button at the right side, you always know where it is, and you always know that it will close the tab that you are seeing -the active tab-. I feel this way a lot more intuitive.

Additionally, you always can close any tab -active or non-active- by right-clicking on it and choosing "Close Tab" in the context menu.

I won't argue anymore about this, as with the about:config key everyone can choose the tab behavior that he likes, but I think that these tab options should be located in the Tools pane and not hidden in the about:config.

I dislike a lot the new GUI. In general I would have been happier with the old theme. Some changes seem to have been made by the sake of change, and seeing the "new" FF 2.0 cames to my mind the phrase "if it isn't broke, don't fix it". For now, I will revert to 1.5.0.x and stay with it.

rikyo
 
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Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 2:48 am

galmok wrote:Nobody knows how to make the tabs even smaller than with minWidth=0 and closeButtons=3? I still see lots of wasted space (no reason to have that huge border for such a small icon... :-/


If you're talking about there being lots of space within each tab, add this to your userChrome.css file: (sorry I don't know how to put it in a box; I'll edit it later if I find out how <b>edit: done</b>)
Code: Select all
/* Change Tab Icon Location */
.tabbrowser-tabs .tab-icon {
   margin: 0px 0px 0px -1px !important; }

/* Change Tab Text Location */
.tab-text {
    margin: 0px 0px 0px 1px !important; }

I use an intel mac with ColorfulTabs (forced to work by using MR Tech Local Install 5.3.1.1) and am, now, pretty happy.

p.s. is anyone else finding this support forum <i>incredibly</i> slow to load? I've had to change to Safari for this.

krojc
 
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Joined: March 10th, 2004, 7:45 am

Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 3:28 am

Can the close button be moved to the left side of the tab without changing chroma.js?
Thanks.

galmok
 
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Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 3:29 am

rikyo wrote:If you're talking about there being lots of space within each tab, add this to your userChrome.css file: (sorry I don't know how to put it in a box; I'll edit it later if I find out how <b>edit: done</b>)
Code: Select all
/* Change Tab Icon Location */
.tabbrowser-tabs .tab-icon {
   margin: 0px 0px 0px -1px !important; }

/* Change Tab Text Location */
.tab-text {
    margin: 0px 0px 0px 1px !important; }

I use an intel mac with ColorfulTabs (forced to work by using MR Tech Local Install 5.3.1.1) and am, now, pretty happy.


Well, the suggested code made no difference at all. :-(

I added this (just to test):

Code: Select all
/* Kill all tab icons, no matter what */
.tabbrowser-tabs .tab-icon {
  display: none;
}


And while it does work and make the tabs smaller, it is not a useful solution as the tab icons are gone. I hoped the margin could be changed, but apparently firefox 2.0 enforces the large margin within tabs. Or at least, it is still unknown how it can be changed.

Update:

I use this code instead:
Code: Select all
/* Change Tab Icon Location */
.tabbrowser-tabs .tab-icon {
   margin-left: -5px;
   margin-right: -5px;
}

/* Change Tab Text Location */
.tab-text {
    margin-left: 5px;
}


The icon isn't completely centered in the tabs, but the tabs are now a much more acceptable size. I am satisfied. Thanks for guiding me the right way. :-)
Last edited by galmok on October 26th, 2006, 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ahriman
 
Posts: 79
Joined: June 16th, 2005, 9:59 am

Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 3:34 am

blackwizard wrote:I think the reason for this cold turkey thing is because they are trying to do is kill this old behavior completely to opt for the new interface. I wouldn't be surprised if this option to have universal close button is removed completely for FF3 or something after that.

I sincerely hope that this don't happen.

“Usability” is the Grial here, and the UI should be flexible and adapt to the user, not the opposite! FF is free and I thank to the people that have dedicated time and effort to develop it, but I don't like to have to adapt and learn the "new" ways that the designers feel to be "good" to Joe User in each new FF upgrade. If the option to have a close button at right is removed in FF 3.x I will part with FF. Period.

rikyo
 
Posts: 25
Joined: September 6th, 2006, 10:40 pm

Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 4:02 am

galmok wrote:{snip}
Well, the suggested code made no difference at all. :-(

I added this (just to test):

Code: Select all
/* Kill all tab icons, no matter what */
.tabbrowser-tabs .tab-icon {
  display: none;
}


And while it does work and make the tabs smaller, it is not a useful solution as the tab icons are gone. I hoped the margin could be changed, but apparently firefox 2.0 enforces the large margin within tabs. Or at least, it is still unknown how it can be changed.

Update:

I use this code instead:
{snip}
The icon isn't completely centered in the tabs, but the tabs are now a much more acceptable size. I am satisfied. Thanks for guiding me the right way. :-)


Glad you got there. I'm puzzled as to why it didn't work; here are two pictures of my setup before and after. The difference is subtle but the main thing is to get more text on the tab, to better identify them when squished up.

oldtabs:
Image

newtabs:
Image

Perhaps we're talking about two different things.

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Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 4:17 am

I donno... It seems to me that the same could be said about all the converts from other tab-enabled browsers who previously had no built in option to have close button on all the tabs like they were used to. People had no problem to tell them to install an extension for that function. People are upset because what they were used to is gone... But I'm willing to bet money that not many new user to the Firefox community will be complaining about the close button.

I personally don't see what the fuss is about. So the close button went from right side of every window to right side of every tab. It's not as if there was no logic behind it. And seeing all the other browsers, appearently the method works. Otherwise, don't you think they'd have this kind of option?

You people really have to learn to let go. How many newcomers to the browser complain about this? If it was so illogical, don't you think we should have heard some newcomer to the browser say something?

As for the inconsistant location argument, I find that a lilttle hard to chew. You deal with inconsistancies in computing every day. For example... the menu bar. All graphical OSs, with the exception of MacOS, places their menu bar at the top of every window. The window, of course, can be located anywhere on the screen, so it was never "consistant"... but when was the last time you heard someone complain about that? If people can get used to that, then I see no reason why people should all of a sudden be confused about this close button on tabs thing.

rikyo
 
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Joined: September 6th, 2006, 10:40 pm

Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 4:29 am

The main, if not the only, reason I like to have the close button NOT on all the tabs, is the same one that led me to the gymnastics with padding above: when tab real estate is at a premium - and the most efficient way for me to work is as I've described in previous posts, with multiple tabs open - then the close button on each tab is a waste of valuable tabspace. That's all.

richard_leeds

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Location: UK

Post Posted October 26th, 2006, 4:57 am

mikoNZ wrote:Tab Mix Plus didn't work when I downloaded FF2. Which is among the reasons I've ditched it and gone back to 1.5.07


Oh yes it does ... read very carefully ...

RenegadeX wrote:Tab Mix Plus <--- version is compatible with FF2.0

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