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How Do You Use Your Browser?

Just a bit of ultra-lite fluff...  When you surf the web, do you let "Back" stack continually grow bigger and bigger, or do hit the "Back" button and start from your home page as often as possible?  For instance, my home page is Google, and when I first sign on, I visit CNN, BBC News, MSNBC and Fox News, so I'll start from Google, go to CNN, follow a few links to interesting stories, but before I move on to BBC, I'll back up all the way to Google so my "Back" stack is only ever a few pages deep.  Just have always been curious.

bob
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Why?

why?
Thursday, March 18, 2004

What you are saying is very strange.

Why are you doing this?

Jax
Thursday, March 18, 2004

google of "OCD"


Thursday, March 18, 2004

>>> "Why are you doing this?" <<<
Don't know.  Just always have since the beginning of time.  Maybe because I don't like a messy stack.

>>> "google of 'OCD'". <<<
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?  Really, do you think that?  I don't actually think it's that serious - at least not any more serious than my ultra-neat workstation.  But I can't believe I'm the only dude in the world who does this.

bob
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Use Opera, then you can open a page in a new tab and keep multiple stacks going.

Greg
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Mozilla user here who doesn't know how he lived without tabbed browsing.

I always use the back button.  I'm not obsessive over it, but it's probably my most used interface.

That said, with Mozilla I have a row of my top7 bookmarks, 4 of which I actually read daily (JoS being one).  When done with a site, instead of going to a bookmark or my homepage I just hit the tab.

Snotnose
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Keyboard Shortcuts here.  Who needs buttons anyways?

Elephant
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Since I started using NewsGator, my browser only gets a pretty light workout.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Since I started using tabbed browsing, my back button is almost unused. Whenever I follow I link and I think there is even the slightest chance that I might go back, I open the link in a new tab. At the moment, for example, I have four tabs: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/, the forum, this thread in the forum, and the response I'm typing.

Roel Schroeven
Thursday, March 18, 2004

In other news, allowing too many items to accumulate in your "Back" stack may be tied to increased risk of male-pattern balness, incontinence, and morbid obesity. Film at eleven.

In this vein, I used to work with a guy who opened the same 6 or 7 (don't remember the exact number) of applications in the same order every morning so they would always appear in the same order on the Windows menu bar. If someone (who shall remain nameless) secretly switched the positions of two volumes on his bookshelf, the next day they would be moved back.

Rob VH
Thursday, March 18, 2004

You're not alone bob.  I don't like a big stack in my back button either.  Can't explain it - it's probably not even rational.  As others have mentioned, it's not so much of a problem with tabbed browsing, so I get to relax when I surf at home (Firebird).

Brian
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Bob, I suffer from OBSD* too.  Judging by my desk, by closets, and my garage, I can't think out anything else that suggests that I have a compulsive disorder. Maybe the web is just so huge I feel a need to be "grounded".  Should I lie on a couch while someone takes notes?


* Obsessive Back Stack Disorder

Nick
Thursday, March 18, 2004

I don't have a big back stack but that's because I always use "open in a new window".  To be honest, I should be using Firebox (tabbed browsing) but for whatever reason I can't bring myself to stop using IE!

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, March 18, 2004

AA,

maybe try http://www.myie2.com/html_en/home.htm ?

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Same problem!  I still end up using (plain) IE for everything.

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, March 18, 2004

There's probably a pill for it.

Do you suffer from Back button blockage?

Take Earl, the cleanest URL Flusher there is.

As used in 92% of Public Hospitals.
Disclaimer, Earl should be taken only under medical supervision and not combined with the taking of Tylenol, red wine or blackcurrant cordial, the wearing of G strings is not recommended.  Your anatomy may go down as well as up.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, March 18, 2004

I open virtually everything in a new window, so my back stack is seldom more than about 3 items deep and always on the same site.  This is easier to deal with since the introduction to MacOS of Expose, which is one of the most useful bits of eyecandy ever.  On the PC, I use Opera, so can consolidate windows into tabs if things get too cluttered.

So yeah... I guess that's another vote for back-stack OCD.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Thursday, March 18, 2004

"In this vein, I used to work with a guy who opened the same 6 or 7 (don't remember the exact number) of applications in the same order every morning so they would always appear in the same order on the Windows menu bar."

This guy actually had a good instinct for usability.  We're pretty good at remembering "where we put things" spatially, so having things always in the same location improves muscle memory for quickly locating and selecting them.  This was the original paradigm for the Mac (things stay where you put them), and is still mourned by many (OS X uses the "browsing" metaphor a lot more now).

At least the OS X dock does allow you to fix the locations of things more or less, but they jump around some when new items are added, unless you have the dock "pinned" like I do, but the preference to set that isn't really openly documented.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, March 18, 2004

"I used to work with a guy who opened the same 6 or 7 (don't remember the exact number) of applications in the same order every morning so they would always appear in the same order on the Windows menu bar"

Hey, I do that!
It's so I don't have to think about switching apps, makes sense to me.


A friend of mine takes it a step further though, if Outlook (the first one in the list) crashes, he will close all the other apps and reopen them in order.

Damian
Thursday, March 18, 2004

"I used to work with a guy who opened the same 6 or 7 (don't remember the exact number) of applications in the same order every morning so they would always appear in the same order on the Windows menu bar"

I too do this!

"A friend of mine takes it a step further though, if Outlook (the first one in the list) crashes, he will close all the other apps and reopen them in order."

I get this urge, but I don't follow through. ;)

As for back buttons and the browser stack.  I don't stack unless it's appropriate. For example on the forum I open all the topics I might be interested in at once (open in background page), then, as I'm done I close them. If on the other hand an open page leads me to another single page, well, obviously, then I'll stack.

Obviously ;)

Jack of all
Thursday, March 18, 2004

I open a dozen or so topics at once. I used to open them all in a new window, but since I changed to Netscape they're all open in a different tab. So much better. I normally open a different instance of Netscape for each of the major sites I'll browse.
I run IE 5.5 so when I click on html email Outlook will open it in IE instead of the default browser as it would do with a link in a text only message and as IE 6 does. The result is that when I open the links from the BBC's daily email they all open in the same instance of IE. It requires a real effort to remember I must keep hitting the back button because all the other pages are behind it. Half the time I close the window and have to download them all again.

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 19, 2004

Tabs are nice, but Safari (the Mac OS X browser) also has this feature called snap back.

Basically, the snap back feature is a shortcut that returns you back to the last bookmark you used, or url you typed in. So lets say I open the JoS forum, I then click on a thread, and I click on a link with the thread. I click on that site a bit, and decide it's a load of bollocks. I can then do a snapback, which returns me back to the JoS forum index page. It's very cool.

Rhys Keepence
Friday, March 19, 2004

Generally I open all the links I'm interested in in new windows. I gues I have just been using Mozilla for too long *sigh*


Friday, March 19, 2004

I do something similar.

I actually use Opera and IE depending on what sorts of stuff I'm browsing.

Most sites where I only read a page or 2 I open in IE.

Stuff like JoelonSoftware, Kuroshin, Slashdot etc.
I open the main page in opera, ctrl+shift+left mouse on every article I'm interested in reading then close the 'parent' page. After that I 'put the mouse away' and use keyboard shortcuts for navigating between the tabs, further links etc. etc.

Somtimes I have 50+ odd-tabs to read.

I think I have a level of OCD.... I feel I have to read everything...

Gordon Hartley
Friday, March 19, 2004

Never use the back button, but I sometimes use the dropdown next to it if I need to skip back multiple pages.

I use right click -> Back to go back. Although for some stupid reason both IE and Firefox decided to not allow that action if you click on an image. That's a big usability peeve of mine. How about a little consistency!

Sum Dum Gai
Friday, March 19, 2004

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