Tab Scope is a very handy Firefox add-on that shows a pop-up preview of a tab's contents when hovering over a non-selected tab...oh, a picture probably will say it better:
The developers have clearly put a huge amount of work into Tab Scope over the years and have largely got it right, and in addition to a preview image, there's a couple of controls like back, forward, refresh in the pop-up itself. After using Tab Scope version 0.3 with the fx4 theme for a couple of weeks, there's a few things on my wish list, however:
Left-clicking on the actual preview image does nothing: it should at least act like a left-click on the tab, and switch to the tab. Wish 1: Left-clicking on a preview image should switch to the tab.
When zooming, left-clicking on a link or button in the preview image opens the link: a nice touch...that I discovered entirely by accident. I feel that the negative (e.g. hit-and-miss clicking on microscopic text) outweighs the positive (e.g. navigation from within a preview window). Wish 2: In line with wish 1 above, left-clicking on a zoomed preview image should also switch to the tab.
When zooming, there's no horizontal scroll: the zoom is not particularly useful on wide, centred designs:
Wish 3: An alternative might be to zoom the entire page, like a bigger version of the non-zoomed image preview (you'd lose the ability to click on links).
Wish 4: OK, I'm into overtime here because in most stories you're only granted 3 wishes. I'd love to see Tab Scope work with the Smart Stop/Reload add-on, which shows the stop button when the page is still loading, and the reload button when the page has finished.
When zooming, the vertical scroll is not easily discoverable: you can see from the zoomed image above that there's no scrollbars, but if you scroll the mouse wheel when hovering over the preview, the preview will scroll vertically. This is another feature I found by accident. Wish 5: make scrolling more discoverable (hmmm, I'll leave the implementation to someone with more imagination than me).
Wish 6: The close button should probably be in the top-right corner of the pop-up, which matches where the close button would normally be on the tab. This may not suit everyone's themes, though. You could go even further and specify that the back and forward buttons on the pop-up preview were styled like your theme's styles, but I think that's probably asking a bit much :-)
Wish 7: My last wish is purely aesthetic - make the pop-up preview joined to the tab somehow. In the zooomed preview image above, it looks like the pop-up is joined to the second, active tab ("Google"), instead of the first tab ("Tab Scope").
OK, I'm done. What do you think? Would you use Tab Scope, and given more wishes than Aladdin, what would you improve?
Tags: firefox, tab scope, usability
posted @ Tuesday, February 23, 2010 1:29 PM