Alertbox: Tabs, Used Right

Oliver Heyer oliver at media.berkeley.edu
Tue Sep 18 18:43:47 UTC 2007


There is a thread on sakai-dev right now about eliminating iframes  
and the synoptic tools (Proposal/Vote - Make the PDA portal eliminate  
frames by default - SAK-11529). Seems like that effort combined with  
a reconsideration of tabs could form a major part of one of the UI  
lead project proposals:

http://confluence.sakaiproject.org/confluence/display/SBCO/UX 
+Improvement+Project

Oliver

On Sep 18, 2007, at 11:23 AM, Yuji Shinozaki wrote:

> On Sep 17, 2007, at 4:29 PM, Paul Zablosky wrote:
>> What Nielsen says of his example is that "It uses tabs to alternate
>> between views within the same context".  This is somewhat imprecise
>> language, since it is not clear what he means by "context", but I
>> agree with him about the Amazon site.  There, the user selects a
>> tab to go from the public banner display to the personalized
>> display through a login -- a context change if there ever was one
>
> Yes, his language about "views" and "context" are vague, but I think
> that that vagueness is not totally unintentional as it does seem to
> apply to a wide-range of situations.  But I think it is clear that a
> worksite is a different context.
>
> That said, I think it is 6. where Sakai falls down the most (and
> hardest):
>
> 6. unselected tabs are clearly visible
>
> To me, that is because tabs have a natural scaling.  I couldn't tell
> you precisely what that scale is, but I would hazard to guess 2-6
> items.  Beyond that (and below that, actually) tabs fall down.  This
> clearly manifests itself in Sakai.  Why else would we need to resort
> to yet another metaphor (the drop-down) for the remainder that tabs
> don't handle well?  (Of course, then we are again faced with the
> problem that the dropdown has its own slightly-higher scaling
> limits).  Is the "more tabs" simply improving the workaround, rather
> than addressing the issue?
>
> So I think Barbara's question is apt:  Are tabs the only design  
> idea...?
>
> yuji
> ----
> Yuji Shinozaki
> Sr. Technical Lead/Project Manager
> University of Virginia
> Advanced Technologies Group
> ys2n at virginia.edu
>
>
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Oliver Heyer
Development Manager
Educational Technology Services
UC Berkeley

(510)-529-5177
oliver at media.berkeley.edu

MODIFICATONS

as in "with some modifications
all this could work."

       (makes sweeping gesture
                         indicating "this")

Anselm Hollo, from Near Miss Haiku





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