Word of the Day – Page Parking and Parallel Browsing (Web Browser Tab Usage)

From Jakob Nielsen:

Summary: Browser tabs separate the stages of collection and comparing and serve as memory aids to keep many alternate pages available for consideration as users are shopping or researching. Follow 7 UX guidelines to better support this user behavior, which is particularly common among younger users.

How do people use the tabs in modern browsers? The ability to keep multiple pages open at the same time in different tabs can be used for parallel browsing, where a user alternates between tasks and resurfaces a tab when it’s time to work on the task in that tab. For example, a user might keep Facebook open all day in a tab that’s checked for updates from time to time.

Our recent user studies for the course Designing for Millennials found that young adult users engage in another tab-related behavior, which we call page parking: opening multiple pages in rapid-fire succession as a way to save the items on those pages and revisit them at a later stage. This behavior often occurs when shopping, researching, or reading news, but can happen in any task where it’s useful to open several similar items, each in a separate tab. Later, after users review the content in the tabs, they may cross off many of the parked items and close the corresponding tabs.

Previous WOTDJenny Haniver

2 Responses to Word of the Day – Page Parking and Parallel Browsing (Web Browser Tab Usage)

  1. andyinsdca says:

    I’m hardly a millenial and I do lots of page parking. For example, on a technical forum I read on a daily basis, I’ll go through the “headlines” and open a tab for each headline that I want to read later. Sure, I wind up with 10 or so tabs open, but it works great. Also, in the morning, I have a ton of websites that I open up (like this one, some news stuff, etc) and I just right click the group and say “Open all in tabs” and I can read the stuff at my leisure and not miss anything.

  2. Les Jones says:

    Same here. I’ll read something link-heavy like Instapundit. As I scroll down the page I right-click links to open them. Once I’m done reading Instapundit I close it and then read the tabs I opened. Works great.