Safari: Problem with tabs in background

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 29th, 2003 • 3:21 am

One recurring problem I have with tabs in their current incarnation in Safari: I sometimes accidentally click on a tab’s close button when all I wanted was to click on the tab in ORDER to activate it.

The solution would be to prevent the close button from closing if the tab is not in the foreground (i.e. the currently active tab) in the browser window.

Of course it would be inconsistent with the default behaviour in Mac OS X, where window title bar buttons (close, minimize, and maximize) are active even if the window is in the background. But it’s much less likely that you’ll accidentally click on one of those buttons when trying to bring a window to the foreground by clicking on it.

The tabs are too small to follow the same behaviour. They need to have their own way of working, when clicking on a “darkened” tab (i.e. one that is in the background) simply brings the tab to the foreground, regardless of what area of the tab is clicked on (including the close button).

This is particularly problematic with Safari’s tabs, because you cannot “undo” the action of closing a tab containing a web page. In other words, if you do accidentally close a tab, you have to find the page it contained in your History in ORDER to restore things to their previous state. Not user-friendly.

I have a similar problem with Mac OS X toolbars. I often accidentally click on a tool bar button in a background window simply by clicking on the window in ORDER to bring it to the foreground. (The tool bar in Mail is particularly problematic.) I feel that these buttons should not be active if they are in the background. They should actually be greyed out, and only become active once the window has been brought to the foreground.

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