If it’s not rare for you to have 20, 30 or 40 tabs opened at a time, you know how much of a burden it can be to get back to the one you need: you have to remember where it was in the tab bar and scroll it accordingly, or scan the List All Tabs menu.
An approach to this problem, and currently in development for Firefox 3.1, is displaying thumbnails of all your tabs so you can visually identify the one. The obvious limitation is that tabs may look alike, specially when you have too many tabs so the thumbnails get really small.Â To see how this works check the Ctrl-Tab extension review.
Mozilla’s Madhava Enros proposed a couple of months ago including tabs in the location bar search space. If an open tab matches the entered keywords, options are presented to either switch to the already opened tab, or open a new one with the same page. This approach also helps avoid undesired tab duplication, a somewhat common situation when you are working with dozens of tabs at a time.
Aza Raskin has posted some updated mockups of possible implementations of this concept Mozilla will explore for Firefox 3.1.
From top to bottom:
- option to open in a new tab or switch are presented as different items in the autocomplete menu;
- open in a new tab is presented as a “sub-item”;
- and, my favorite, communicate the user how to open a new tab with a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + click/Ctrl + Enter), which of course works the same almosteverywhere in Firefox: bookmarks, back, links.
Share your opinion on the proposed behavior in this quick poll and your thoughts in the comments, or at Aza’s blog post.