If you didn’t know, Microsoft is working on a brand new browser called Internet Explorer 9 that is rather important; when it comes out hundreds of millions of people are going to be moved over to using it.
The tabs in the Internet Explorer 9 are annoying, and so when Tom Warren over at WinRumors told the world that UI tweaks were incoming for the next version of IE9 (the release candidate) we were excited; could it be that they solved the tab problem?
The answer: no. Instead of solving the rather fist-clenching tab situation, Microsoft un-rounded the tabs to make them uglier, and not easier to use. Alas.
What is so important about tab design you may ask? It depends on how many tabs you use. If you work online all day (say, if you are a blogger), and you often have more than 20 tabs open (say, if you are a blogger), then tab structure is important. Let’s look at what tabs are like in Chrome 9.0.x:
And here is a similar situation in IE9 (the current beta):
Can you see why Chrome is much better? The reasons are simple: tabs have more space, not sharing horizontal monitor real estate with the address bar, so you can have many more tabs open on Chrome and still have the same tab size as on IE9, and in Chrome you never have worry about shooting your mouse too far past the tab (as they are at the very top), clicking on the nothing above it. Those two things are huge if you live in your browser like so many of us do.
Back to the point at hand, what is the problem with the new tabs in the RC of IE9? Well, we can’t give you a great demo as we don’t have access to the application itself, but as you can see from the following screenshot I just grabbed from a Microsoft video, the tabs look different, but work in the same way that they do now, which is a big let down:
Internet Explorer 9 is such a huge improvement over IE8 that many people are going to let things like this slide. However, as IE was late to the idea of tabbed browsing, they can ill afford to be late to the tabs done right party.
Do you use IE9? If so, what do you like about it?