The Don't Make Me Think principles in Chrome - Orris Technology
1. Tab bar
Why the tab bar aligns to the DMMT (don’t make me think) principle? Let’s introduce some knowledge about human-computer interation — Fitts’s law. It predicts that the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the ratio between the distance to the target and the width of the target. The tab bar on the top is a good user case of it. As cursor cannot go outside the screen, user can move the mouse as fast as they want, as far as they want. When user maximize the Chrome window, which is a very likely case (most user maximize their browser when surfing the web), the tab bar is on the top of the screen, and user can move their cursor to the top of the screen easily by moving mouse to the top as far/fast as they can.
By the way another good example of Fitts’s law is the position of menu in Mac OS X. We all know Mac put menu at the left top corner on the screen, which has 2 benefits: 1: user can always know where to find the menu bar, regardless which application they’re using. this reduce the cost of memorizing. 2: though it looks like user need to move their cursor a longer distance to locate the menu bar, but user can simple move their mouse to top left corner in accurately, as cursor won’t go beyond the screen corner.
Another good thing about Chrome tab bar is. if you opened lots of tabs and tried to close them. When you close one tab, the next tab will automatically move the the position where your cursor is, so you can simply keep clicking until all tabs close without moving your mouse (Don’t make me think). The width of remaining tabs will adjust again only when you’re not clicking.
Simple and elegant. Before Chrome, most browser has a toolbar with: Back, Forward, Stop, Refresh, Address bar, Search bar, Menu, Bookmark, Home, which are 9 elements. Chrome only has: Back, Forward, Stop/Refresh (Yes this is combined, as refresh and stop wont happen at the same time), address bar, menu. Only 5 elements, almost just half of the other browser. This doesn’t only make a simple UI, but also reduce the time of learning for users, they can focus their time on web content.
3. Address bar
Google called this Omnibox. the only place user needs to type in. You can do URL typing, google search, history search, bookmark search all in one place. All user need to do is typing, in one place (Don’t make me think). And Chrome will suggest the best result based on your historical data and behaviour. For example, if you type g, google will auto-complete your request based on your most used website and history, you can choose if you where you want to go or just do a google search for it.
Sync is probably the best part in Chrome. And you may not even notice it. As long as you login, you can sync pretty much everything including your open tabs, history, browser config, password, and extensions. This ensures you get the same result and experience cross different platforms and devices. I can open a tab on my mobile and continue it on my desktop later. I can install a new Chrome on my new PC and immediately it has all my browsing history and extension settings, and all remembered password. This reduced tons of time for setting up browser. And best part is, all of those happens automatically in background, don’t make me think.
By the way Chrome update also did the same. It will updates quietly without popup dialog asking you if you want to update or not.
This is probably hard to notice, but the detail shows how much effort Chrome team put on the product. If you look at the loading circle on the tab, it will move anti-clockwise when resoling DNS, trying to connect to server. And it will move clockwise when loading the web content. User can tell the status by looking only the icon, this is useful when there’re lots of background tabs opening. If you see some tabs keep with anti-clocking wise loading icon, you know something wrong with your internet and you can close those tabs without check them out.