Tab Stacking



  • The mere existence of it in Vivaldi is drawing me to it over the latest Opera Dev, and I like the visual implementation of it in Vivaldi so far better than I did the Opera 12 implementation, but functionally it needs some love going forward (Alpha, I know, but Opera 15's implementation of Stash to only do nothing further to it and ultimately kill it off is predisposing me to hammer my fist early on this kinda thing). Foremost, if hover select is going to be how grouped tabs are switched between outside of keyboard shortcuts, the time it takes to show contents on hover needs to be adjustable. Just like Windows has the Mouse Hover Time setting in the registry (which I personally set to zero), Vivaldi is going to need something similar. I think it also goes without saying that keyboard shortcuts to preview the current tab group (substituting in place of hover) and navigate within a tab group or at the tab group level will be welcome additions. Beyond that, since Vivaldi inherently supports placing tabs basically wherever the heck you want (bonus points if it also allows the navigation bar to be relocated too in the future, that will be especially huge for mobile where IE is a god among peasants for having its mobile address bar on the bottom near phones' home/back/search buttons), it is a strong candidate to build on tab stacking with more complex systems like tree tabs. For the average consumer, this is overkill, but I can tell you that at my job and many others, Firefox is often maintained on crappy LTS versions and is not the favorite of most employees compared to Chrome, but is the top-select simply because it effectively supports tree tabs. On the whole, I feel like Opera 15 missed a huge opportunity to cater to both niche consumers and corporate efficiency by ditching Stash (whose attitude towards searching page content to retrieve stashed pages is incredibly helpful for building "Personal Googles" which developers, tech support personnel, and so on like myself found absolutely invaluable) for meh bookmarks. Opera 12 and Vivaldi, by nature of their well-designed feature sets for heavy browser usage (tab stacking, notes, and so on) are strong candidates to make significant waves in these environments. So I also wouldn't at all mind seeing some even bigger paradigm productivity shifts like expanding the concept of tab groups to tab environments (consider the concept of multiple desktops, replacing the idea of multiple windows of a tabbed browser switched between via alt + tab or related with a browser that inherently allows switching between isolated tab groups. In the broader corporate world, even if this were primarily used by employees to simply switch between "personal" and "work" tab groups, it would make the browser far more appealing than alternatives. From this same vantage, even without tree tabs, gaining additional granularity in tab grouping (say for example I am working for a helpdesk and I am working on multiple tickets, I'd probably like to group all of my helpdesk work, and then group each ticket into a group within that larger group) would also assist greatly. And finally, tab stacking does not kill the utility nor necessity of pinned tabs. In fact, being able to pin an entire group of tabs would be a huge improvement over current Chrome and Opera implementations of the concept.



  • Just read about this new browser. Hurray, at least (!!!) one company in the world decided to improve the usability of these Chromium-like bull shit interface that covers almost all the desktop browsers in the world.

    I would like to discuss the desktop browser tabs stacking/grouping UI in modern browsers and explain, why many of the current implementations are bad (IMHO).

    My explanation should be applied only for professional users because standard user is usually pleased with Chromium-like one row of tabs. The problem starts when you are working with dozens of tasks. So the proper tab management is a must have feature of a good browser (the title which Vivaldi browser claims for, I hope ;) ).

    The most popular concepts are listed below.

    1. Horizontal single tab row without groups - Very bad decision if you have more than 10 tabs (wide screens solve the problem, but the chaos increases because of no structure)
    pros:

    • good if you are just browsing foe news and facebook etc.
      cons:
    • tabs are not visually structured at all
    • the simple implementation usually does not suggests any tabs management at all
    • no horizontal scroll enabled by default in some implementations (e.g. Google Chrome on Win 7)

    2. Opera 12 - like horizontal single/multi-row inline stacking. . They added stacking in horizontal mode, but they forgot about the fact that humans usually remember the UI element in place (visual memory). Whe you click on tabs stack to view all the tabs they are moving other to the right. This is BAD in case you have many tabs! This is DAMN TOO BAD if you use single row - the horisontal scrolling may appear.
    pros:

    • good for a single row concept when you have a little amount of tabs
      cons:
    • when open/close tabs stack the tabs on the right are moving to free space for tabs from stack

    2.a The same concept for stacking in vertical mode will lead to accordion UI element. This is more common for majority of users but it does not save us from tabs moving while toggling the stack.

    3. FireFox 30+ -like tab groups. The new concept Mozilla team introduces us to special groups view. When you open the browser window for the first time you simply work as if there are no groups. When you need to start a new group you press a special hotkey (e.g. Ctrl+Shift+E on Windows) or press a special button and browser leads you to the groups view, The groups view is a special page where all your current groups are presented with rectangles with tabs previews inside each. To start a new group you should double click on free space and the browser will return to usual mode as if you have just started to work. To return to group you should right click on group rectangle or on tab preview rectangle.

    pros:

    • no extra elements for group management in common view
    • no elements from other groups in common view - you concentrate only on current tabs group
    • in group view: tab groups can be renamed, resized and moved among the free space of tabs view
    • in group view: tabs can be moved (drag-n-drop) between groups
    • if you reopen the browser and did not enter the group browser will not load the group tabs content

    cons:

    • to view all the groups you must enter the groups mode
    • no group actions (e.g. reload all, freeze all) on group tabs
    • need special entrance to group view (button on browsers pane or remember the hotkey)
    • in common view tabs are single lined. The more tabs you open the less width they all have. When they reach minimum width (that cannot be adjusted) the horizontal scrolling appear. This is BAD because when tthe tab widths is changed all tabs are visually moving to the left.

    3.a This concept may work in vertical mode in common view because the group view is not bound to common view UI.

    4. FireFox ~ 4-20 with Tab Groups Manager Plugin. The concept is very simple but very effective. Basically you have two rows on the top. The first row represents tabs for groups and the second (below) represents web pages tabs. To add a new group you should press plus button on groups row. To add a new tab in current group you use usual Ctrl+T or something. When you have many tabs there are two ways of solving the overflow of row: horizontal scroll of multiple rows. (And, oh boy, it can be adjusted!)
    There are also group actions that may be found on right click on each groups tab. The Tab Mix Plus plugin can enhance this. There are dozens of group actions (reload, close all, freeze, unfreeze, save etc)

    pros:

    • you see all the groups at once
    • groups and tabs in one view - no special mode for tabs management
    • adjustable tabs overflow mode
    • group actions menu is reached in one click
    • tabs width can be fixed, no tabs moves while adding or opening group

    cons:

    • two rows in horizontal mode - one for group tabs and the other - for web pages tabs
    • group tabs overflow may lead to more rows appearance

    4.a This concept may work in vertical mode but it is reasonable if you have wide screen. The problem is that in vertical mode we have to represent two columns of tabs - one for group tabs and other for web pages tabs - and it may require additional width in window and decrease the space for web page content.

    My favorite concepts are #3 and #4. Mostly #4, because you see every group in one page.
    I would like to suggest a tab groups concept based on #4 for Vivaldi developers.

    For horizontal layout (based on concept #4 Tab Groups Manager Plus plugin):

    For vertical layout (based on WebOS Mojo UI stacked panes):




  • I spent about five seconds on this so don't judge but something similar to this might be a good solution to the vertical tabs problem with number 4. Groups are always visible and only the tabs from the selected group are visible so you get the same effect if I understood you correctly…
    [attachment=497]funandgames.png[/attachment]
    Attachments:



  • Chaotic,

    is this accordion stacking concept already implemented in Vivaldi or it is a mockup?

    something similar to this might be a good solution to the vertical tabs problem with number 4. Groups are always visible and only the tabs from the selected group are visible so you get the same effect if I understood you correctly…

    Yes, you are right, but in this case we have "moving tabs" effect.
    The other problem is to make visual difference between group tab and web page tab (in your screenshot it is solved by contrast colors).

    Could you please review my updated message with suggested vertical concept?



  • So I also wouldn't at all mind seeing some even bigger paradigm productivity shifts like expanding the concept of tab groups to tab environments
    TerranUp16,

    while working on different tasks I started to notice that I really need this environment but not only for browser windows. I use different applications and all of their views should be related to different tasks (which may be placed in different virtual desktops etc).

    So the problem you pointed on goes far over browser tabs and windows.
    I think that the solution should come from OS itself not from different applications (which will implement this concept in the way their developers think). As far I can imagine It should be a workspace for each task which should integrate all applications you need and be able to switch tasks within them all when you go to another workspace.

    But now we have nothing but virtual desktops and separate application windows. Unfortunately. (:



  • It is simply a mockup picture, I do not speak for anyone but myself :evil: . I only hope my post is seen by the team (there has been a massive increase in forum activity over the last week so I don't know how the mods and website people are coping :unsure: ). The suggestion you had would work but there are still a few who do not use wide screens and there is a lot of wasted space underneath the tab groups. It could be solved by making the tab groups small squares in a bar (like the panel). For instance, simply have them named group 1,2,3,4 etc then you could have them selectable with ctrl 1, ctrl 2 and so on and they wouldn't take up so much space however then you would simply see the group number and would have to remember what you put in there. You could even have a combination of that with the mockup I made. Giving you groups within sections like chapters within books. Im just throwing around ideas here but that would actually be a very powerful and structured way of sorting tabs… :cheer: Although after doing the maths I see that it would also be able to handle way way too many tabs... I mean an insane number of tabs that only a madman would have open. pic related.
    [attachment=513]morefunandgames.png[/attachment]
    Attachments:



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