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Safari Chrome The Internet Apple

Safari Should Display Favicons in Its Tabs (daringfireball.net) 189

Favicon -- or its lack thereof, to be precise -- has remained one of the longest running issues Safari users have complained about. For those of you who don't use Safari, just have a look at this mess I had earlier today when I was using Safari on a MacBook. There's no way I can just have a look at the tabs and make any sense of them. John Gruber, writing for DaringFireball: The gist of it is two-fold: (1) there are some people who strongly prefer to see favicons in tabs even when they don't have a ton of tabs open, simply because they prefer identifying tabs graphically rather than by the text of the page title; and (2) for people who do have a ton of tabs open, favicons are the only way to identify tabs. With many tabs open, there's really nothing subjective about it: Chrome's tabs are more usable because they show favicons. [...] Once Safari gets to a dozen or so tabs in a window, the left-most tabs are literally unidentifiable because they don't even show a single character of the tab title. They're just blank. I, as a decade-plus-long dedicated Safari user, am jealous of the usability and visual clarity of Chrome with a dozen or more tabs open. And I can see why dedicated Chrome users would consider Safari's tab design a non-starter to switching. I don't know what the argument is against showing favicons in Safari's tabs, but I can only presume that it's because some contingent within Apple thinks it would spoil the monochromatic aesthetic of Safari's toolbar area. [...] And it's highly debatable whether Safari's existing no-favicon tabs actually do look better. The feedback I've heard from Chrome users who won't even try Safari because it doesn't show favicons isn't just from developers -- it's from designers too. To me, the argument that Safari's tab bar should remain text-only is like arguing that MacOS should change its Command-Tab switcher and Dock from showing icons to showing only the names of applications. The Mac has been famous ever since 1984 for placing more visual significance on icons than on names. The Mac attracts visual thinkers and its design encourages visual thinking. So I think Safari's text-only tab bar isn't just wrong in general, it's particularly wrong on the Mac.
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Safari Should Display Favicons in Its Tabs

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Show me the whole URL! Believe it or not Apple, it is useful. It's almost like they purposely turning off power users.

    • Show me the whole URL! Believe it or not Apple, it is useful. It's almost like they purposely turning off power users.

      You may find this [lmgtfy.com] useful, Mr. Power User...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But it looks so flat & clean. - Jony

  • The Macintosh was always sold on its superior usability. In the early days, it lived up to that promise. Today, the Macintosh sacrifices actual usability for an illusion of usability; this charade is sustained on Apple's side by hype and glitz, and on their users' side by ignorance and blindness. I can not tell you how sad this makes me.

    • Well I can see the argument against it is that having so many tabs open that you can't see the name has already defeated the purpose of usability.
      • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @10:35AM (#54990791) Homepage Journal

        Can we please not say this too loudly, otherwise Mozilla will realize there's an aspect of Chrome they're not copying, and copy it.

        Firefox has a minimum size for all tabs. If there are too many tabs open, it'll just change the tab bar so it scrolls. This works perfectly. Combined with using Favicons, it means it's very easy to find open tabs.

        Chrome... doesn't. I've seen it get to the point that it doesn't even have room to show the Favicons yet.

        Both Apple and Google need to look at Firefox here. Tabs are not perfect, but Firefox is doing it the right way.

        • If by perfectly, you mean works like garbage. Shrinking to the size of the favicons is much more preferable than having to scroll back and forth.

          That that isn't something they'd copy from chrome, I believe that's how it used to behave, and I've been using extensions to return to that behavior since before chrome existed.

          • Really? You won't concede that, at the point the tabs become so small that they no longer show any information at all, that there is a usability problem?

          • Chrome shrinks to below the size of the favicons, meaning you just see tab outlines. It can't restrict it to the size of the favicons without introducing scrolling.

            I think, as the sibling post points out, there's a massive usability problem when you can no longer distinguish one tab from another (and would be even if the favicons are visible.) No solution is perfect, but Firefox's default behavior makes sense and means that having a lot of tabs open is viable.

          • There is also a handy dropdown that lists all your tabs. if you remember your tab is just out of view, scroll ove to it. If you know its eay back, or just have no idea, open the dropdown.

            IMHO much better to deal with than a half dozen tabs with the same icon, but no idea what the page title is.

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            Shrinking to the size of the favicons is much more preferable than having to scroll back and forth.

            Which of the 17 wiki pages I have open is the one I want? They all have the same favicon.

            Oh, wait.. I use a browser that tells me the tab's page title too. Thank fuck you didn't have a hand in designing it.

        • Both Apple and Google need to look at Firefox here. Tabs are not perfect, but Firefox is doing it the right way.

          No, they really *don't* need to look at Firefox here.

          If you like the way Firefox does things, then you should just use Firefox. Safari is for people who don't like favicons and don't want to see them, and Chrome is for people who like the tabs shrunk so small that you only see tab outlines. If you think Firefox is so much better, then just use that and stop trying to push these giant companies w

        • Chrome... doesn't. I've seen it get to the point that it doesn't even have room to show the Favicons yet.

          Both Apple and Google need to look at Firefox here. Tabs are not perfect, but Firefox is doing it the right way.

          That's a matter of opinion. Firefox will degrade to the state where you don't know what you have open or how many tabs are open due to scrolling long before Chrome becomes unusable. I don't see that as any kind of improvement. As for having so many Chrome tabs open that you can't even see the favicon, have you considered opening a new window or using the bookmarks feature sometime? I mean it's not like you will get to all those tabs and have current content anyway, and heck half of them probably don't even

      • by Chriscypher ( 409959 ) <slashdot@ m e t a m e d i a . us> on Friday August 11, 2017 @11:48AM (#54991381) Homepage

        At some point late in Steve Job's reign, Apple seemed to have purged all the UX expertise, instead allowing graphic designers and developers to do what thy will. In the past, actual usability testing had been used to defined documented user interface standards, and Apple's user interface group was top notch. I've been a Mac user since 1984, an UX designer in the '90-'00's , and have disappointedly watched this roller coaster going from "insanely great" to the "one sheet of glass" designer bullshit of late.

        Safari started going downhill as iOS became dominant. Favicons are just part of the problem. In Safari, the Window tab, which lists all open browser windows, used to be sorted spatially. Frontmost browser windows were listed first. This placed windows you were currently using at the top of the list. Several years ago, some idiot decided to change this list to sort order to alphabetical, probably without realizing the original utility. How the %#$@ am I supposed to know what some web page is titled? Page title often changes within a site as the user navigates between pages, so with alpha title sort, the site position on the windows list arbitrarily changes.

        Without spatial organization finding one of the dozen pages open in Safari is as difficult as finding an app somewhere on the many app pages in iOS, or trying to find an app to launch on the Watch cluster of similar round icons. It's a cognitive disaster, which reduces usefulness and place form far above function.

        This is the decline which has brought us a "professional" laptop whose primary design criteria seem to have been "thinner" and "lighter", instead of the dozen other criteria which actual heavy-daily-users desire.

        Ugh. Bring back "insanely great".
        Now get off my lawn. Argh.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Grishnakh ( 216268 )

          No, don't bring back "insanely great". Apple design is what it is now. If you don't think a "professional" laptop should focus solely on "thinner" and "lighter", and you think it should focus on some other metrics instead, then maybe you aren't cut out to be an Apple customer any more.

          Lots of people prefer "professional" laptops that achieve thinness and lightness over all else, and don't care one whit about other features like "ruggedness", "serviceability", number of expansion/USB ports, etc., and as a

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          At some point late in Steve Job's reign, Apple seemed to have purged all the UX expertise, instead allowing graphic designers and developers to do what thy will. In the past, actual usability testing had been used to defined documented user interface standards, and Apple's user interface group was top notch. I've been a Mac user since 1984, an UX designer in the '90-'00's , and have disappointedly watched this roller coaster going from "insanely great" to the "one sheet of glass" designer bullshit of late.

          UX is a bollocks field developed by Apple. They did this to hide the fact that they didn't abide by well proven and tested HCI philosophies.

          This is going to upset the fanboys, but Apple has never had a good user interface because it was designed to please one person and one person only, the designer (Steve Jobs/Jony Ives), obviously as the person they're trying to please changes, the design changes. This is an issue because people are different, what works for someone may not necessarily work for another

    • by LQ ( 188043 )

      The Macintosh was always sold on its superior usability. In the early days, it lived up to that promise. Today, the Macintosh sacrifices actual usability for an illusion of usability; this charade is sustained on Apple's side by hype and glitz, and on their users' side by ignorance and blindness. I can not tell you how sad this makes me.

      I've come a bit late to the party having been a happy Windows and Linux user now forced to use Apple kit at work for the first time. It really does seem to be a world of hype where things go wrong just as much as with cheaper equipment.

  • by redmid17 ( 1217076 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @10:15AM (#54990671)
    As a Mac user, I could not care less about FavIcons in Safari, partly because I don't use them and mostly because other, better options exist for web browsing on OSX (Chrome, Opera, FF, et al). Icons make the tabs easier to identify, but to me the title typically does too.

    One thing I will never understand is the people who open 50+ tabs in a single window and then complain about legibility. I don't understand leaving that many tabs open, but if you're going to come back hours later to do so you might as well stash them in a new window and minimize it.
    • If you think 50+ tabs in a web browser is bad, try 50+ windows in Windows XP. I used to make the engineers at Google cry when I was on the IT help desk (2007-08). Whenever they requested a software install that I have to remote into their system with my admin credentials, I told them to take another lunch break. Its going take 15 minutes to shut down their session, 15 minutes for me to remote in and install their software, and 15 minutes to open their session.
    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      I couldn't agree more. I didn't even realise they were missing despite Safari being my primary browser on the Mac. On my iPhone I assume they would be extra clutter using valuable space. Shift-Cmd-\, or zoom out if you want a useful way to see and browse through open tabs. What exactly am I missing?

      Is this story just a childish anti-Apple rant?

    • As a Mac user, I could not care less about FavIcons in Safari, partly because I don't use them and mostly because other, better options exist for web browsing on OSX (Chrome, Opera, FF, et al).

      I guess you use a desktop and not laptop ? Safari's energy efficiency is the reason I use it on my MacBook (although I prefer FireFox).

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Just because *you* don't understand it doesn't mean the behaviour doesn't exist and nee to be accommodated. I currently have 693 tabs open in this Firefox profile. I've only got 50 open in Chromium. Do I use them all all the time? No, of course not, but decent browsers like Firefox ensure that only the tabs you're actually using are loaded at any one time. Sure, it would be great if I was magically organized and efficient with maintaining my tabs, but typically I just don't have time for that. I could

      • I currently have 693 tabs open in this Firefox profile

        But... why? Can someone please articulate a reasonable explanation of why anyone would do this? Serious question.

        ...imagine using such a garbage, proprietary browser without icons to identify tabs.

        Again, I have trouble picturing how favicons are of any help with 693 of them on the screen or in a scroll bar, a list or whatever. 693 of anything is just a heap. Please help me understand.

        • But... why? Can someone please articulate a reasonable explanation of why anyone would do this? Serious question.

          Mainly because it's not stuff so important you want to bookmark, and also because bookmarking stuff, and then organizing the bookmarks, is more effort and overhead than just leaving the tabs open and getting back to them later.

          However, I do agree that 693 tabs is a bit excessive. I have tons of tabs too, but not that many. I eventually go through them and clean many up (close them). With bookm

    • Desktop Chrome wont allow you to have a title bar, unlike every other program, and every other browser prior to Chrome|Blink.

      Fuck that, even Mobile Chrome is allowed to have a title bar.

    • better options exist for web browsing on OSX (Chrome, Opera, FF, et al).

      Ever wonder why better options exist? Could it be death by a thousand usability inconveniences?

  • What are they?

    • Re:Favicons? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @10:37AM (#54990809) Homepage

      favicon.ico, retrieved by default by Internet Explorer and now most major browsers (short for Favorites Icon) and before tabs was used to put an icon on favorites shortcuts and desktop web shortcuts. Go ahead and use Internet Explorer to retrieve http://domain.com/ [domain.com] and shortly thereafter, check your web server logs to see a request to http://domain.com/favicon.ico [domain.com] - this behavior seems to be default in most browsers now. It also serves as the sole identifier on tabs on browsers with too many tabs open to show title text, which is the point of the story post.

      Since the early days, support has been added to HTML to set its location/format manually with <link rel="shortcut icon" href="">.

      Apple decided to completely forego the existing HTML, and then defines <link rel="apple-touch-icon"> to define the image that appears when you make a web page a shortcut on your phone/tablet home screen.

  • Owned a bunch of Macbooks. Never really used Safari. If you want a better-behaved browser, why not just dump Safari?

    >> The Mac attracts visual thinkers

    So do boxes of crayons, "Murder She Wrote" and traffic accidents.

    To me the appeal of the Mac was and will always be that you can open a bash terminal and get all your work done while ignoring all of Apple's icon-based crap (and the silly iTunes store).
  • I've discovered that Chrome simply works for me better, so I switched. Some sites would not work with Safari (e.g. my bank's bill pay).

  • Tree Style Tab (Score:5, Informative)

    by hammeraxe ( 1635169 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @10:18AM (#54990693)

    For those of us who like to keep a lot of tabs open there is Tree Style Tab: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-... [mozilla.org]

    Never looked back. Whenever I try to use someone else's browser I cringe at the terrible idea of putting the tabs at the top.

  • by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @10:24AM (#54990713) Journal
    *Channeling Steve Jobs* A web browser is an experience. It needs clarity. It needs consistency. It needs to be beautiful. The toolbar area of Safari is beautiful. Notice the clean monochromatic appearance. Notice the lines, the pristine appearance, the unblemished look. It's perfect. It's sterling. It's absolute perfection. To introduce favicons would smear it with excrement. It would disturb its Zen tranquility. It would besmirch its purity. Yes, the Safari web browser, a thing of beauty is a joy forever.
    • "...if only we could get rid of the ugly and distracting web page content"
    • by mfearby ( 1653 )

      That's why I don't use Safari - I can't quickly distinguish all my tabs and bookmark links. Colours are useful things to give clues quicker than having to read, but apparently this is news to Apple.

  • All that overseas cash and they can't make a standards compliant browser. WebRTC, PWAs, etc, etc.

    If Apple doesn't get their 30% internet tax, why should they?
  • Safari (at least on my computers) only shows fewer than half of the favicons in my bookmarks, both the Favorites bar and the main Bookmarks drop-down menu. This isn't a big deal, but it is mildly annoying.
    • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      A poster above wrote that you have to include a special icon link just for apple in your html in order for the icons to show, maybe this is related:

      Since the early days, support has been added to HTML to set its location/format manually with .

      Apple decided to completely forego the existing HTML, and then defines to define the image that appears when you make a web page a shortcut on your phone/tablet home screen.

  • Microsoft, Apple and Google are all about controlling the user experience in their operating systems these days. I think that they're responding to a market where the non-power users have mostly migrated over to tablets and phones for daily use, and the idea of one strictly enforced UI standard actually makes sense in this case.

    The problem is that power users aren't dead, but there's fewer of us and it makes less sense to cater to power users' needs in the minds of the hardware/software vendors. Windows 10

  • Without taking sides on whether this justifies the design decision (there are many factors to consider), I have heard some point to phishing as a rationale for hiding the icon. If a phishing site had a convincing lock icon or copied a logo (e.g., Facebook's) as its favicon, some users could mistakenly believe the site had TLS or was associated with a different company. Hiding the icon and defaulting to the base URL helps users know that if they see a lock in the browser UI (not in the page), it's encrypte
  • If you collapse your tabs to the left hand side you get favicon to identify each tab. I think you are just not using tabs correctly. Grab the edge of the tab on the right hand side and push it to the left, it will collapse to a small square tab. Like this [imgur.com]
    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Oh, using tabs "correctly" requires using the mouse to drag the drag the right edge of the tab to the left? You're right, I guess I've been wrong this entire time, since that makes no fucking sense at all, and would be a huge pain to do for ever single tab. And who needs to be able to actually see the title, am I right?

  • That's be your screenshot of the favicon mess?
    It's a mess on its own, unless it's about the flying dog!
    Meh!

  • From the earliest days of Apple, I had always thought that Apple was more about Icons than Text. What has changed?
  • FWP (Score:2, Funny)

    by Shotgun ( 30919 )

    I've heard of First World Problems before, but for the love of all that is holy, would you people please go outside occasionally?

    • First world problems are precisely what keeps humans from advancing. Combined with the continual degradation of the user experience and software getting worse to use efficiently, maybe it's time we actually focused on some of these "first world problems".

      After all, my computer not working here in the first world is the reason our new construction project in the 3rd world may get delayed.

  • If only there was a button in Safari you could click, and it would show you a thumbnail of all your open tabs that would be extremely helpful.

    Extra points if it even lets you click a little "X" to close certain tabs!

    That would be a lot more helpful than a tiny favicon....

    But nah, having a ton of favicons that give you no context as to the content of the page is way more useful....

  • by hackel ( 10452 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @11:33AM (#54991275) Journal

    So, let me get this straight. A user of a proprietary browser is unhappy about a basic feature that has been missing for the past 15 years, yet he CONTINUES to use said piece of shit proprietary browser all this time? Really? If you're not happy with the product, STOP using it. It couldn't get any simpler. The fact that their is not one, but TWO vastly superior, open-source browsers out there should be a clue that you're on the losing team. John Gruber is an idiot.

    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @08:17PM (#54995697)

      yet he CONTINUES to use said piece of shit proprietary browser all this time? Really? If you're not happy with the product, STOP using it.

      Some people are interested in software beyond a single infuriating feature and would like to see it fixed rather than using an alternative that has far more infuriating features.

      If I stopped doing something everytime I found one thing I didn't like I'd be living on a farm somewhere without electricity.

  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @11:36AM (#54991307) Journal

    I actually hate this icon mania, especially in IDEs.
    Most icons are random coloured bollocks which I don't care to memorize.
    OTOH I'm a 'whole word / half sentence' reader. Scanning a bunch of tabs takes no time.
    Then again I also use AppleScript(s), just google for FindTab AppleScript.

    And finally, stop implying that your usage of a computer is in any way professional when you can not adapt to its features. Hint: more windows (e.g. one per search) and less tabs, e.g. one per search result.

    What really is anoying in all browsers that the windows menu display the title of the window with the URL added to the right. I want At least the domain first. It takes ages to find the single window that is displaying slashdot.org (but well that is why I got a FindTab-script :P )

    • Fortunately sane browsers use both, but the reality is both convey different information. You don't need to memorise every icon, but for those you do instinctively know it makes it far more efficient than scanning for a word.

      You're a reader? Good for you. The vast majority of people are not. The vast majority of websites don't even have meaningful text. Look up right now, if it weren't for the icon could you tell the difference between 3 open Slashdot tabs and 3 open CNN tabs? Didn't think so. Hell right no

      • I'm on my iPad right now.
        There is no icon :)

        However the text on the tabs is the 'title' of the page ...
        Luckily Slashdot is prefixing each story with 'Slashdot:'

        • Luckily Slashdot is prefixing each story with 'Slashdot:'

          What a waste of space. So you get a few tabs across and then all you see is "Slashd" "Slashd" "Slashd" "Slashd" "Slashd" "Slashd" to help differentiate your tabs.

          Say what you want, text is worthless for high-density information.

          • Just start to decide when you open a window and when a tab ...
            I never have more than about 5-10 /. tabs ... why would I?

            However I noticed today for the first time that Chrome on Mac OS X indeed had flavicons in the tabs, never noticed before.

            Which is pretty pointless if all the tabs in my /. window are /. tabs and all my tabs in my youtube window are youtube tabs :)

  • Who needs tabs? Still rocking stacked windows Netscape 1.1N style ... OpenApple-N for new window, OpenApple-` to cycle through them.

    Been browsing this way for 20+ years, since my TCP/IP gateway ran Banyan VINES ... not changing now.

    (and let's not talk about the fact that I don't use bookmarks either ...)

    • Who needs tabs? Still rocking stacked windows Netscape 1.1N style ... OpenApple-N for new window, OpenApple-` to cycle through them.

      Been browsing this way for 20+ years, since my TCP/IP gateway ran Banyan VINES ... not changing now.

      (and let's not talk about the fact that I don't use bookmarks either ...)

      Who need to Cycle through Open Windows? How Windows-Like! This is macOS!!!

      Use the Feature-Formerly-Known-As-Expose to show all of Safari's Windows arrayed on the Desktop, then just click the one you want!

      • by nbvb ( 32836 )

        That didn't exist in 1994, when I established my current surfing habits. Now get that new fangled "expose" stuff off my lawn.

        (ps - if I had my way, I'd have focus-follows-mouse Ala OpenWindows....)

        • That didn't exist in 1994, when I established my current surfing habits. Now get that new fangled "expose" stuff off my lawn.

          (ps - if I had my way, I'd have focus-follows-mouse Ala OpenWindows....)

          There are a few haxies that do that in OS X/macOS; but I personally hate that. It's like constant "focus-stealing", which I HATE with the heat of a thousand suns!

  • Apple knows what you need. Shut up!
  • Howabout two separate Safari Preferences to:

    1. Allow Favicons (which I personally hate)

    2. Change the Tabs to a Pull-out Side-Tab list, so longer names can be displayed in a Vertical Tab-List (didn't someone do this at one point? FireFox?). And/Or have a button/Keyboard Shortcut to temporarily display a vertical Tab-List.

    There. Done. Ship it!

  • They like to take features away. Just look at how they killed Final Cut Pro and turned it into basically iMovie Pro. Everyone uses Adobe Premier now. Except for me, I use Sony Vegas (because I'm cheap)
  • If you shrink the tabs the favicon shows up. Safari used to show favicons in the address bar, but that stopped.
  • I did a quick search to find this, but I had a suspicion that it was possible. https://stackoverflow.com/ques... [stackoverflow.com]

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