Closed Bug 443860 Opened 13 years ago Closed 10 years ago

How tab close boxes should be done

Categories

(Firefox :: Tabbed Browser, defect)

3.0 Branch
defect
Not set
normal

Tracking

()

RESOLVED WONTFIX

People

(Reporter: L.Wood, Unassigned)

Details

Attachments

(1 file)

Right now, there are two ways tab close boxes are done:
- the default: close box appears on the right of the active tab. This is awkward, as it's invisible on inactive tabs, rather than wasting space greyed out on each tab.
- configurable in about:config: close box appears at right of tab bar. Handy for closing multiple tabs, but not obviously associated with the active tab.

I'd like a third method:
- the close box appears on the left of the active tab, replacing the page icon of the same size, only when the tab is active.

The page icon is still visible in the url bar, so no information is lost. This would make it easier to read the title of the active tab, as more text is available. And it's just all-round neater.

(And it would make switching between Safari and Firefox on the Mac way easier, too.)
I'm not a big fan of things that turn into close buttons when hovered.  I think fixing bug 349108 would take care of most of your concerns.
Not quite.

the neat thing about the 'third way', with tabs on the left replacing the favicon for the active tab, is that it's impossible to accidentally close a background tab by clicking on it. I've lost count of the number of tabs I wanted to switch to because I hit the grey close button by mistake. Closing a non-foreground tab becomes a double click.

Having the favicon on the active tab move to be the favicon in the url bar makes aesthetic sense - it can only be in one place at once.

I've stuck a note on bug 349108 proposing the variant described here.
(In reply to comment #2)
> the neat thing about the 'third way', with tabs on the left replacing the
> favicon for the active tab, is that it's impossible to accidentally close a
> background tab by clicking on it. I've lost count of the number of tabs I

Closing tabs while they're in the background is a very useful feature. It's not unusual to get rid of 5+ tabs at once, and it's laborious to have to foreground them first. I really, really, wouldn't want to see this feature go away.
Wayne, it would be easy enough to define ctrl-click or right-click pageicon-of-inactive-tab to mean 'close this background tab immediately'.

I think the saving in space on the tabs and the benefit of not accidentally closing a tab otherwise are more than worth it.
In line with:
"the close box appears on the left of the active tab, replacing the page icon
of the same size, only when the tab is active."

that is not dissimilar to what Safari 4 does - the close box is only visible when a tab is hovered over, and invisible otherwise. That leaves more space for tab titles.
(In reply to comment #5)
> That leaves more space for tab titles.

Not really. That would mean that the text shifts on mouseover, which doesn't look good.
In the firefox case, the close box would appear in place of the page icon, leaving more space for tab titles without text shifting. Page icons only appear on inactive tabs. Read the opening description to this bug...
Ah, you're right.
Changing the meaning of an area of the UI based on whether it's the frontmost tab breaks muscle memory and makes things inconsistent.

The proper way to solve the tab close issue is handled in bug 465086.

If you disagree with the placement of the close button on the right side of a tab (even though Apple does this in their products too), that's fine, but we're not going to flip them.

Also, closing tabs in the background is very useful — and we do quite a bit of work here to make sure the close buttons don't show when we the tab is too narrow. This is one of the things we actually have proper data on, and know where the threshold should be. :)

(sorry for closing two of your bugs in close succession, Lloyd — but I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on how tab closing should be handled in Firefox :)
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Closed: 10 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
> Changing the meaning of an area of the UI based on whether it's the frontmost
> tab breaks muscle memory and makes things inconsistent.

Speaking of inconsistency, hiding the close buttons when the tabs are small enough is an inconsistency and breaks muscle memory. I have to work with enough tabs open that the close buttons are hidden, so that I don't inadvertently close a tab when clicking to switch to it.  (Or I use Safari.) Inconsistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, as they say.

Closing tabs in the background is a right-click menu option, and doesn't need to be one-click.
Thsi screenshot shows that Google Chrome does have close boxes replacing tab bar icons - at small tab sizes, at least. Isn't Firefox copying Google Chrome's design a lot these days?

I see that Safari on iIOS 14 on iPad now does exactly this combined left tab favicon/close box behaviour that I suggested for Firefox by opening this bug 443860 twelve years ago.

Do try it out, and see how well it works in practice.

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