Small details matter on the small screen

We often browse websites on our mobiles with limited time at our disposal, making predictable and obvious browser behaviour even more so important as every moment of hesitation and every extra tap leads to frustration and potential task abandonment.

I use both iOS Safari and iOS Chrome browsers on my iPhone, because they both do some things better than the other. Here are a couple of small, but important examples, where the two browsers could learn from each other to make the browsing experience smoother.

Disclosing the number of open tabs

With Chrome, you know straight away how many tabs you have open. It seams like it would be a pretty easy thing to implement elegantly within the Safari interface, so I am not sure why Apple haven’t done this. Below is a suggestion as to how this could be implemented in Safari…pretty straight forward.

Making it clear how a new tab will behave

Before I click on a button or a link, I like to know exactly what is going to happen next – what I really hate is when I am taken away from a page I am browsing too early. Here is where iOS Safari performs slightly better than iOS Chrome.

Safari’s button label ‘Open in Background’ gives me a better indication of what will happen when I tap the button – I expect the page to open in a new tab, but I expect not to be switched over to that tab (the “Background” part of the label)

On the other hand, Chrome’s label ‘Open in New Tab’ tells me that a new tab will open, but it leaves me wandering whether I will be switched over to that tab, or continue browsing my current tab (personally, my preferred option…but I want to know this up front!)

In addition, Safari gets extra points because it gives you the option of opening the link in your current tab, so it supports both modes of browsing.

Which mobile browser do you prefer and why?

Migrating my old blog to Medium — originally published 8 Apr 2014

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