Tabbed Browsing Usage

There’s an interesting article about how users use tabbed browsing and how it affects web analytics at ClickZ. None of this information should make much difference to an average web developer (apart from tabbed browsing means your web pages have got to make a better first impression) but it’s interesting never the less.

Tabbed browsing has made me a lot more efficient at using the internet. I usually have around 4 or 5 tabs open at a time (sometimes up to 15). When I visit a webpage such as Slashdot, Digg or BoingBoing I typically skim through the list of articles opening any which sound interesting in tabs. This means all the other pages can load in the background whilst I read the first.

This has several implications:

  • I use the back button a lot less. In fact, I notice I’m rarely using the back button since becoming a tab user.
  • I only load the Slashdot/Digg page once rather than going back to it. I’m also more likely to skim it and less likely to read what they say.
  • Since I don’t have to wait for each of the pages to individually load, I make my decision on whether the article looks interesting a lot quicker. If it looks boring or tedious, I just jam the mouse button over the close button.
  • Research is a lot faster and a lot more information can consumed.

I must admit that tabbed browsing has at times become overwhelming especially when you reach about 8 tabs. I try to limit myself to around 4 or 5 for that reason.

With the release of Internet Explorer 7 (which will IMO also catalyse Firefox adoption) more and more people are going to be discovering the joys of tabbed browsing so web developers will have to ensure that their websites make a good first impression.

2 thoughts on “Tabbed Browsing Usage

  1. IE7 will raise the profile of alternative browsers such as Firefox. At the moment, many people are sitting on their hands with IE6 – perhaps they don’t know about other browsers or they want to wait to see what IE7 is like.

    The IE7 upgrade (which will be delivered as an important update) is certainly going to confuse some people and I think that we should make it clear to people that there is a choice – Firefox is a lot more similar to IE6 and much more user friendly than IE7.

    IE7 is also unlikely to take any people back from Firefox as it lacks import tools and IE7 doesn’t actually have any advantages over Firefox 1.5.

    I guess the users of old Windows may also be more inclined to choose Firefox too. 

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