New York: If you are reading this, chances are you have several other tabs open in your browser. Are you facing trouble with the overloading of Internet browser tabs?
A research team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, US, has created Skeema -- an extension for the Google Chrome browser that reimagines tabs as tasks.
The extension helps users group their tabs into tasks and then organise, prioritise and switch between them. Skeema uses machine learning to make suggestions for grouping open tabs into tasks and supports nested tasks and complex decision-making.
Users of an early version of the tool found that it significantly reduced the number of tabs and windows they kept open. They also reported much less stress connected to tabs, and remained more focused on the task at hand, the team 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," said Joseph Chee Chang, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Computer Science's Human Computer Interaction Institute (HCII).
"As our online tasks become increasingly complex, new interfaces and interactions that can merge tab management and task management in a browser will become increasingly important. After 20 years of little innovation, Skeema is a first step toward making tabs work better for users," Chang said.
Although browser tabs are the most basic tools that you use on the internet. Yet many people struggle with tab overload, an underlying reason being that while tabs serve a variety of functions, they often do so poorly, the team found.
The team conducted surveys and interviews with people about their tab use. About 25 per cent of the participants reported that their browser or computer crashed because they had too many tabs open.
The researchers found that people felt invested in the tabs they had open, making it difficult for them to close the tabs even as they started to feel overwhelmed or ashamed by how many they had open.
The team will present their research at the 2021 Association for Computing Machinery's Conference, held from May 8-13.