Sunday, November 20, 2005
is tabbed browsing changing the structure of content?
- One might want to have two tabs open, one for a set of Google search results, the other for a specific page from that list of results. This saves using the back button after reading through a multi page document.
- One might have several pages open if doing say, serious comparison shopping, toggling between tabs to different pages.
- One opens a secondary page tab to follow up a link embedded in an article, so one can return to the article without loosing one's place.
The last possibility, new tab opened when clicking on an embedded link, breaks a paradigm for web content. Web content developers have been told not to use embedded links within the body of an article, because users will leave the site and probably never return. Associated links are supposed to be placed on the side, or at the bottom of an article, to avoid the possibility of users being sucked away.
Among sites I routinely read, I notice that the New York Times now has embedded links within the body of articles, whereas previously they put links at the end of articles. I don't know if this change in practice is because of the rise of tabbed browsing, or because the Times is trying to sell their premium service, and tempting people at every opportunity.
It is interesting that both of you mention content made by individuals rather than by professional content creators like newspapers. Such folk creations may be less concerned about the formalities of structure, and willing to let natural communication patterns define needs.
Interesting twist: folders are basically a tool in search of a solution. To borrow Everett Rogers' framework, people exploring new tools are generally technology explorers, rather than technology trailers (such as people lacking broadband.)