Monday, June 27, 2011

Tabs in Mobile Safari

I don't get it.

I've never really understood why people felt they were missing "tabs" in mobile safari. I use tabs all the time in desktop browsers, but in iOS in both the iPhone and the iPad, I felt like Apple had selected the metaphor that worked best for the constraints of the smaller screens.

Safari still has multiple open pages, but you switch between them using an icon which allows you to scroll horizontally through thumbnails of the pages that you have open:

Clearly, there are people who disagree with me. There are lots of people who have wanted tabs in mobile safari since the very first iPhone, there are lots of iPhone browsers that support tabs and now tabs are coming to Mobile Safari in iOS 5.

There are also people who agree with me, so I was pleased to read that Lukas Mathias has a similar point of view. In his post on iOS 5, he wrote:

Apple replaced that simple, beautiful, easy-to-understand, high-bandwidth UI with a row of text labels that show the first few words of the titles of about four open web pages.

Why? Simply to cut the one tap required to enter the zoomed-out view? The trade-offs involved don’t seem to make sense.

I'm going to end up preferring the old style of page switching, and I remain hopeful that it's configurable, although Apple tends to pick a path and go with it rather than offering configurable options for every taste.

No comments:

Post a Comment