Removing the close tab button when too many tabs are open (FF vs Chrome behavior)

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Eddy Bruel

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Sep 20, 2011, 8:14:01 AM9/20/11
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When I have too many open tabs, the close tab button disappears
for every tab except the one currently being displayed. If I want to
close another tab, I have to click on it first before I can close it.
Obviously, it is kind of annoying to have to go through this extra
step.

Now, this behavior is the same in both Firefox and Chrome, except that
in the latter I can have way more tabs open before the close tab button
disappears (on my Macbook Pro, with 1680x1050 display resolution,
and both browsers maximized, I can have about 11 open tabs in
Firefox, and about 26 open tabs in Chrome).

For smaller window sizes, the number of tabs I can have open is even
smaller. It regularly happens to me that the close tab button
disappears in Firefox with only 6 tabs open. In Chrome, on the other
hand, I rarely, if ever, run into this problem.

Wouldn't it be nice to raise the number of tabs that can be opened in
Firefox before the close tab button disappeared?

Jay Garcia

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Sep 20, 2011, 8:31:28 AM9/20/11
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On 20.09.2011 07:14, Eddy Bruel wrote:
What version of FF and do you have any addons related to tab behavior?
This behavior isn't present in my FF 7 latest beta.

--
*Jay Garcia - Netscape Champion*
www.ufaq.org
Netscape - Firefox - SeaMonkey - Thunderbird

Eddy Bruel

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Sep 20, 2011, 8:42:20 AM9/20/11
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On 9/20/11 2:31 PM, Jay Garcia wrote:
> What version of FF and do you have any addons related to tab behavior?
> This behavior isn't present in my FF 7 latest beta.

The behavior as I described it happens for me in both FF 6 and FF
Nightly. The platform I've tested this on is OSX Snow Leopard.

Barry van Oudtshoorn

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Sep 20, 2011, 8:54:11 AM9/20/11
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Hi!

The tradeoff, I suppose, is in how much of the title you can still see. In
Firefox, the tabs are (arguably) more recognisable, as there's more of the
title text visible. You can also middle-click to close a tab in both Firefox
and Chrome; if you don't have a middle-click available (as you're on a Mac,
you probably don't!), there are myriad extensions to make closing tabs
easier -- for example, when it's double-clicked on.

Personally, I very rarely use the button on the tab itself -- when you
middle- (double-) click, the target size is the whole tab, not just the
close button. (On Windows, with the window maximised, you also get the
benefit of Fitts' law). I'd be interested to see if there's any Test Pilot
data on how users close tabs -- with keyboard shortcuts, middle-clicking,
the button itself, the context menu, or some other method that I'm not aware
of.

- barry

Barry van Oudtshoorn
http://barryvan.com.au/
bvanoud...@gmail.com
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Eddy Bruel

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Sep 20, 2011, 9:23:29 AM9/20/11
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Excellent point, and I guess this is what it really boils down to. Most
of the Firefox users I know are either developers or power users, which
seem to prefer using ctrl+w to close tabs. In that scenario, the choice
to leave as much of the title text visible as possible is arguably the
better choice.

My suspicion, however, is that most of our users are not power users,
and prefer to close tabs by clicking on the close tab button. In that
scenario, I would say that leaving the close tab button visible for as
long as possible is arguably the better choice.

In other words, the answer on which approach is the better one depends
on how most of our users use tabs in practice. Who would I need to talk
to in order to find out if we have any Test Pilot date available on
this, and if so, get my hands on it?


Eddy

Felix Miata

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Sep 20, 2011, 10:14:28 AM9/20/11
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On 2011/09/20 14:14 (GMT+0200) Eddy Bruel composed:

> When I have too many open tabs, the close tab button disappears
> for every tab except the one currently being displayed. If I want to
> close another tab, I have to click on it first before I can close it.
> Obviously, it is kind of annoying to have to go through this extra
> step.

> Now, this behavior is the same in both Firefox and Chrome, except that
> in the latter I can have way more tabs open before the close tab button
> disappears (on my Macbook Pro, with 1680x1050 display resolution,
> and both browsers maximized, I can have about 11 open tabs in

Minimum tab width in Mozillas are adjustable via userChrome.css with
.tabbrowser-tab. Mine are set to as little as 2.4em.

> Firefox, and about 26 open tabs in Chrome).

> For smaller window sizes, the number of tabs I can have open is even
> smaller. It regularly happens to me that the close tab button
> disappears in Firefox with only 6 tabs open. In Chrome, on the other
> hand, I rarely, if ever, run into this problem.

My close tab _button_ never disappears:
http://fm.no-ip.com/SS/Moz/ff6vff36-1920x1200x120.png

Of course, it can only be used on the active tab. On those rare occasions I
want to close a non-active tab, I use its context menu (2 clicks to close).
Most keyboard shortcuts to me make little enough sense to remember, so rarely
get used. About the only ones I use are PgUp/PgDn to switch to adjacent tabs.

> Wouldn't it be nice to raise the number of tabs that can be opened in
> Firefox before the close tab button disappeared?

id
--
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata *** http://fm.no-ip.com/

Eddy Bruel

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Sep 20, 2011, 11:44:02 AM9/20/11
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Oh I see, looks like I've been mixing up terminology. When you say the
close tab button, you mean the button on the right side of the tab bar.
What I was talking about is the button (if I can call it that) on the
tab itself. I don't know what the proper name for that is, but thats the
one that disappears for me when there are more than 11 tabs (with
setting as described in my earlier post). Would changing the minimum tab
width affect that behavior as well?

Chris Ilias

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Sep 20, 2011, 12:37:42 PM9/20/11
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On 11-09-20 8:31 AM, Jay Garcia wrote:
> On 20.09.2011 07:14, Eddy Bruel wrote:
>
>> When I have too many open tabs, the close tab button disappears
>> for every tab except the one currently being displayed. If I want to
>> close another tab, I have to click on it first before I can close it.
>> Obviously, it is kind of annoying to have to go through this extra
>> step.
>>
<snip>
>
> What version of FF and do you have any addons related to tab behavior?
> This behavior isn't present in my FF 7 latest beta.

It's been part of Firefox since 2.0. Here's a screencast:
<http://ilias.ca/screencasts/fx-tabclip.webm>. Notice that after I open
a 6th tab, the close button disappears on background tabs.

If you set the preference browser.tabs.tabClipWidth to 0 and restart
Firefox, the close buttons should stay.
Screencast: <http://ilias.ca/screencasts/fx-tabclip2.webm>

Chris Ilias

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Sep 20, 2011, 12:41:30 PM9/20/11
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Now that we have tab groups and tab scrolling, I don't see the point of
hiding the close button anymore. If things get to the point of
scrolling, it would be nice to trigger discovery of the tab groups feature.

Felix Miata

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Sep 20, 2011, 1:06:17 PM9/20/11
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On 2011/09/20 17:44 (GMT+0200) Eddy Bruel composed:

> Felix Miata wrote:
...
>> http://fm.no-ip.com/SS/Moz/ff6vff36-1920x1200x120.png
...
> Oh I see, looks like I've been mixing up terminology. When you say the
> close tab button, you mean the button on the right side of the tab bar.

Only because I have configured all my profiles to have only one tab close
button instead of many. That way the close button only moves when I move the
right side of the browser window, and never because I switched tabs, opened a
new tab or closed a tab. Also, accidental tab closings from clicking rarely
happen when there is no close button on each tab. Those of us with marginal
mouse motor skills depend on large and clear targets for clicking, the space
for which is reduced by close buttons. Some with many tabs open would rather
more title letters than lots of close buttons. To me, close buttons on every
tab are little but visual litter.

nick rundy

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Sep 21, 2011, 8:52:47 AM9/21/11
to dev-us...@lists.mozilla.org









I LOVE how the close button is hidden in Firefox. Remember, you can close a tab with a middle-click.

I filed a bug report with Chromium because they do not hide the close button when many tabs are opened.

One of the things I find is that when many tabs are opened, it is easy to accidentally click the close button because the tab size is so small. I think hiding the close button is ideal. It allows you to click the tab and not have to be so precise as to miss the close button. And middle-click gives you the option of closing with a single-click.

> Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:14:01 +0200
> From: ejpb...@gmail.com
> Subject: Removing the close tab button when too many tabs are open (FF vs Chrome behavior)
> To: dev-us...@lists.mozilla.org
> _______________________________________________
> dev-usability mailing list
> dev-us...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-usability

Eddy Bruel

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Sep 22, 2011, 9:03:27 AM9/22/11
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Interesting! So it looks like your experience (and subsequent response
;-)) has been the complete opposite of mine!

I am curious though, with so many different opinions on the matter, how
does a question like this usually get resolved? Do we base it on some
statistic on what the largest part of our user base prefers? Or do we
resolve it by some form of meritocratic process?


Eddy

ArtK

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Sep 28, 2011, 6:18:10 PM9/28/11
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On Sep 22, 6:03 am, Eddy Bruel <ejpbr...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 9/21/11 2:52 PM, nick rundy wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > I LOVE how the close button is hidden in Firefox. Remember, you can close a tab with a middle-click.
>
> > I filed a bug report with Chromium because they do not hide the close button when many tabs are opened.
>
> > One of the things I find is that when many tabs are opened, it is easy to accidentally click the close button because the tab size is so small. I think hiding the close button is ideal. It allows you to click the tab and not have to be so precise as to miss the close button.  And middle-click gives you the option of closing with a single-click.
>
> >> Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:14:01 +0200
> >> From: ejpbr...@gmail.com
> >> Subject: Removing the close tab button when too many tabs are open (FF vs      Chrome behavior)
> >> To: dev-usabil...@lists.mozilla.org
>
> >> When I have too many open tabs, the close tab button disappears
> >> for every tab except the one currently being displayed. If I want to
> >> close another tab, I have to click on it first before I can close it.
> >> Obviously, it is kind of annoying to have to go through this extra
> >> step.
>
> >> Now, this behavior is the same in both Firefox and Chrome, except that
> >> in the latter I can have way more tabs open before the close tab button
> >> disappears (on my Macbook Pro, with 1680x1050 display resolution,
> >> and both browsers maximized, I can have about 11 open tabs in
> >> Firefox, and about 26 open tabs in Chrome).
>
> >> For smaller window sizes, the number of tabs I can have open is even
> >> smaller. It regularly happens to me that the close tab button
> >> disappears in Firefox with only 6 tabs open. In Chrome, on the other
> >> hand, I rarely, if ever, run into this problem.
>
> >> Wouldn't it be nice to raise the number of tabs that can be opened in
> >> Firefox before the close tab button disappeared?
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> dev-usability mailing list
> >> dev-usabil...@lists.mozilla.org
> >>https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-usability
>
> Interesting! So it looks like your experience (and subsequent response
> ;-)) has been the complete opposite of mine!
>
> I am curious though, with so many different opinions on the matter, how
> does a question like this usually get resolved? Do we base it on some
> statistic on what the largest part of our user base prefers? Or do we
> resolve it by some form of meritocratic process?
>
> Eddy

I have to agree with Nick - Way too many times I have clicked on a tab
to open it only to find it deleted. Sometimes I can recover it via the
"reopen ..." extension but not always. It can be a real PITA. This
problem was especially true using a horizontal layout for tabs.

However, using horizontal tabs themselves is itself painful and a deal
breaker for me. Since TabKit doesn't work with FF4+, I switched to the
Vertical Tabs extension. Vertical tabs saves vertical screen space and
allows instant drag resizing of the tab widths (you can quickly set
the tab width anywhere from 0 pixels to 100% to the FF window). In VT
the close button appears on every tab (on mouseover), but I can leave
the tab width wide enough so that I don't accidently click the close
button. I can easily view & manage over 40 open tabs (much more with
vertical scrolling).

BTW, I also use the TabGroups Manager extension in conjunction with
VT. This creates a separate tab panel (vertical in my case), for each
group - all within a single FF window. Theoretically, I could have
over 800 open & active tabs in one FF window each easily accessible by
at most two clicks.

Eddy, although VT could satisfy your preference for close buttons, to
answer your question re resolving user preferences, I think it should
be left to the user. Simply make it a configuration option.
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