The Tabbed interface

by Joe Gillespie — Dec 1, 2001

The very familiar, if somewhat tired, tabbed interface is clearly understood. It only requires two button states, on and off. The fact that it works so well as a navigational device shows that it is difficult to separate 'familiarity' in the positive sense with 'cliché' in the negative. You can't have one without the other.

If you do decide that you want to be creative and stray from the straight and narrow, that's perfectly okay. Rules are there to be broken if you can get away with it. If you have thrown convention to the wind and created you own rules, those new rules have to be consistent. The user is now in unknown territory, don't go rotating the road signs! If your HOME button is in the top left hand corner of your page, it should appear in exactly the same position on every page. The only flaw to that principle is, "What do you do when you are on the HOME page?" It doesn't' make any sense to have a link to the page you are actually at even though many sites do. What you should do is reserve a place for the HOME page link button. Using a 'ghost' image – a greyed-out version of the button that is there, but not there, usually does this. It is visually inactive, functionally nebulous.

Del.icio.us Digg Technorati Blinklist Furl reddit Design Float