Opening a Link in a New Tab on Metro IE

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Another annoyance I have with Windows RT occurs when I open a link in a new tab on Metro IE. When I do, I'm not automatically taken to the new tab. That's fair, as the behaviour I want may vary based on context. Sometimes I'll want to be taken to the new tab. Other times not. The default behaviour is unlikely to satisfy my expectations every time. Having said that, I'd interpret the action more likely to be a signal to queue the page for reading after I've finished with the currently viewed page. Otherwise, it's fair to assume I wouldn't have opened the link in a new tab to begin with, and would've used the back button to return to the original page if needed. In other words, the default behaviour is a sensible choice.

Although I'm not taken to the new tab automatically, the tab bar does however momentarily slide down. That's a nice touch. The list of tabs remain visible for a second or so before sliding away. More than enough time to tap on the new tab so I'm taken there. This way if I want to stay on your current tab, I can. Or if I want to quickly jump to the new tab, I also can. Great, right? A flexible solution that enables my expectations to be supported in either scenario.   

But it's a missed opportunity. Unfortunately, my tap on the new tab doesn't get registered during this brief window of opportunity. Although the feedback confirming a new tab has opened is reassuring, it becomes a hindrance if I want to switch to the new tab immediately. That's because I have to first wait for the automatically displayed tab bar to hide, swipe down to make it visible again, and only then can I tap on the new tab. 

It's like having your meal in a restaurant arrive early. You gesture that it's okay and you want to eat now. But your request is ignored and your meal taken away. Your appetite is teased and the waiter is called back. When you could be eating, you're instead waiting. Unnecessary. Imagine this happens every time you go out for a meal. Immensely frustrating.

LET'S GO HOME