in interaction design

Firefox is driving me bonkers (my accident prone tab closing experiences)

Firefox
I keep accidentally closing my tabs in Firefox, and it’s driving me mad!
Dan Saffer and Fred Sampson have been talking about Firefox’s recent experimentation with close buttons. It seems that Firefox have been playing around the close button, including moving it from the right to the left and back to the right side of the tab.
All I can say is that I never accidentally closed a tab before those x’s turned up on the right of the tab, and I do it *all* the time now, and it *really* annoys me!
At least in the older version when I hit the ‘x’ and I was closing a set of tabs, Firefox would check to make sure I wasn’t doing something crazy.
Now I’m sure I miss out on lots of interesting reading because I’ve opened up a tab for something I plan to get to later, and then I accidentally close it – and I don’t even know what it was!
Does anyone else do this or am I being a bit of a moron?
For me it’s such an unconscious thing – it’s like the X is calling me and saying ‘click me! click me!’ – and so I do! I’m not even sure what I’m trying to do when I click it… I think a lot of the time I’m going to navigate to another tab.
It seems wrong that I can do something so irretrievable so easily. There’s no way (that I know of) that I can find out what that tab was holding for me once it’s gone… yet, I can understand how frustrating it would become to have to confirm that, Yes, I really do want to close that tab everytime I consciously tried to close one.
I know that the left hand side isn’t perhaps the most logical/conventional place to put the red X, but I think that extra bit of thought ‘what is that X doing there? oh, it’s delete’, would definitely save me from making this mistake all the time.
Either that, or some how let me do a Control+Z and undo my delete… or something that can let me find that damn page that I obviously wanted to read and now is lost for ever (or, until I stumble upon it again).
And, while I’m whining about this version of Firefox … I can’t *tell* you how many time’s it’s crashed while I’ve been using WordPress. They’re not playing nicely at all. I think I do more saving than writing these days! It seems to particularly hate when I’d doing anything with an image.
Mercifully, there is the ‘resume session’ option offered when you re-launch the browser. Now, there’s an utter godsend. All I need now is something like that for when I accidentally close a tab!
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12 Comments

  1. Sounds like you need something like undoclosetab (haven’t tried it myself, as I use Opera, which has Ctrl-Alt-Z to re-open last closed window). Good to meet you at BarCamp. :)

  2. yes! that’s exactly what I need! (I think). Just tried to install it but unfortunately it’s not compatible with the version of Firefox that is causing this trouble :(

    great to meet you too! I and other Flow people have been evangelising your great train timetable/map projects since seeing them – great work!

    http://www.dracos.co.uk/play/live-trains-map/

  3. *blush* Thanks :)

    I did a bit more hunting and you could try superT or Tab Mix Plus – superT apparently has a hidden “hide close buttons on tabs” feature, but both say they do undo closed tabs, amongst a host of other things.

  4. hrm. Still no joy with this version…

    (but thanks for hunting… i have an inclination to write a bitchy blog before I google, don’t i!)

  5. Hi Leisa

    I too keep doing that – i.e. closing tabs accidentally and then not realising which ones I’ve done it too. I guess I should learn not to open so many tabs at the same time! But Undo Close tab works for me – I have version 1.5.0.6. If you have an older version perhaps it’s worth downloading a more up-to-date version. If it’s a newer version than me, then I’m stumped (and not being a technie I’m probably completely wrong).

  6. I use Session Saver (I think! – I’m not using my main PC with Firefox atm), which works great. It’s main focus is saving the tabs that are open if Firefox closes/crashes, but it keeps a history of tabs that have been opened so you can go back and open any of them that you have closed (accidentally or otherwise). Like Matthew, I use Opera, which has this stuff built in – I can’t live without it!

  7. If you go under the History Menu in the new Firefox, you can see a list of Recently Closed Tabs. Not quite the same as undo, of course. Control Z should undo a close.

  8. I think the idea of “undo close tab” is a great feature, regardless of where the button goes.

    As a mac user who uses Camino and Safari, I hate Firefox’s old method of having the ‘X’ at the right hand side. But I can see how you could prefer it.

    But an undo function would be great – hopefully those plugins will be upgraded soon to work with the version of FF you have…

  9. I installed the new beta,
    saw the close on all tabs,
    tried to find an option to hide them
    couldn’t (i didn’t do an about:config and look to see if I could there though)
    filled out the feedback form with all my gripes. (I couldn’t customise the search box either)
    uninstalled.

    :)

    I’ve been through this with flock. Back then I made personal mockups like this after experiencing this frustration of accidently closing tabs, not to mention as other UI gripes and features I’d like in a browser interface.

    I like the single close button only on the active tab for amatuer users. Power users can middle button click to close tabs! If only they added tooltips to tell users this!

    And yes, “Undo close tab” built-in is way overdue.

  10. well. I’m glad it’s not just me having this problem :) I’ll send a link to this conversation off to Firefox now I think!

    Dan – thanks for the heads up re: History and Recently Closed Bookmarks. That will solve my problem for the meanwhile (until Firefox fix this!)

    And thanks to everyone who went plugin hunting or recommending – much appreciated! Hopefully one or more will be updated to suit this version of Firefox sometime soon!

    :)

  11. Tab Mix Plus allows you to hide those pesky close buttons (pesky AND ugly!), I’m on 1.5.0.6 of Firefox, which are you using?

    And did you know that a quick Notepad edit of a downloaded XPI file (format used for the Firefox extensions) makes most of them ‘build compatible’. Can’t recall the exact settings but I’m sure Google can help.

    Hey, if you can POST without Googling, I can comment without it too! ;-)

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