Tabs, tabs, and more tabs…

This post on Smashing Magazine about vertical navigation had me thinking about the book Anne and I are writing (manuscript due this Friday; panicking…I’m a 10 on the Wong-Baker scale).  In one of the chapters I discuss tab navigation.  When I was looking for a particularly bad example of the use of tabs I remembered Amazon’s website circa 2000.  Fortunately, the Wayback Machine had preserved the travesty of UI navigation for posterity:

Amazon's homepage in 2000

There is a grand total of 15 options and they are not really in alphabetical order (they seem to be grouped).  Amazon can’t be blamed–we probably didn’t know as much as we know now (I can’t believe it was a decade ago!).  But browsing the Wayback entry for Amazon’s homepage through the years certainly shows evolution and an iterative process to  reach the current Amazon navigation scheme which eschews tabs almost entirely for a cascading, vertical navigation:

Amazon's homepage today (2010)
Amazon's homepage today (2010)

Do you have any examples of particularly good or bad examples of tab navigation?

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3 thoughts on “Tabs, tabs, and more tabs…”

  1. It’s kind of random, but in Windows Server 2003, in the Users and Groups configuration app, there are about 10 tabs in three rows that I can’t get used to. When I click on a tab, that whole row drops down to become the bottom row. So, if I’m searching for a setting but I don’t remember which tab it’s under, I probably click on 15-20 tabs because I can’t just click systematically until I find it – everything moves!

  2. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Thankfully, I haven’t seen that kind of tab setup recently but my reaction was the same when I saw it in an old version of Word…just clicking tabs almost blindly!

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