Firefox/Projects/Control Tab

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dao  developer
boriss    UI
johnath   technical advisor


  • bug 465076 landed
  • browser.allTabs.previews and browser.ctrlTab.previews hidden prefs default to false

Next steps

Areas that need to be explored

Finalization of design open questions

While use current use cases for tab and window navigation have been throughout explored throughout the project, to fully answer the last few questions some minor testing could be very helpful; both to see if the design is immediately understandable and if over time it can make users' workflows more efficient. Ares for exploration include:
  • Is the current design, with 8 previews becoming all of them, the most efficient way to present information? Is it instantly understandable and does it fit well to the use cases of quick-switching and finding?
  • This design gives switching between recent tasks a higher priority than searching for a tab: could use confirmation in tests that this is the best interaction.
    • Disagree... There's a keyboard shortcut for searching (Shift+Ctrl+Tab), which is admittedly not as straightforward as Ctrl+Tab, but there's also a button on the tab bar, something that the switching-between-recent-tabs panel doesn't have. (dao)
  • Can it easily become part of the browsing workflow?
  • Does it enhance the quick-find, visual, and textual search use cases?

Popup vs Tab

While this would be a significant departure from the current design, it may be worth exploring whether Control Tab would be better implemented in a tab rather than a popup window. Possible benefits of this approach:
  • Pros:
    • Allows the user to make Control Tab a more permanent part of their browsing by keeping it open and referring back to it
  • Cons:
    • Does not easily allow for "quick-switch" use case, unless window could be summoned with a button or keystroke, which could interrupt task flow

Other ideas

It's been a long time since there's been active iteration on Control Tab, and since then many people have been thinking and iterating about ways to improve browser navigation. Did any ideas come out of the past few months that are worth investigating and possible uplifting? Possible places to look:


  • spec from November 2008
    • Mockups based on spec:

Other reference