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Overcoming Tab Overload


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Multiple open browser tabs.

Internet browser tabs are a major source of friction on the internet. People love them. People hate them. For some users, tabs bring order and efficiency to their Web browsing. For others, they spiral out of control, shrinking at the top of the screen as their numbers expand.

Credit: Trello.com

In a study of Internet browser tab usage, computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) found that tab overload is an issue for many people.

The researchers assessed tab use via surveys and interviews, asking why people kept tabs open and why they closed them.

They found that despite being overwhelmed by the number of open tabs, people did not want them hidden for fear they would not go back to them.

The researchers also created a Google Chrome browser extension, dubbed Skeema, to turn tabs into tasks.

Skeema leverages machine learning to suggest how open tabs could be grouped into tasks and allows users to organize, prioritize, and switch between them.

CMU's Joseph Chee Chang said, "Our task-centric approach allowed users to manage their browser tabs more efficiently, enabling them to better switch between tasks, reduce tab clutter, and create task structures that better reflected their mental models."

From Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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