We all have our own style when it comes to browsing the web. Some people like to open window after window, some like tabbed browsing, while others stick to one page at a time. Whatever your style, there is always room for improvement.
One small change may save you a split second here and a split second there, but compounded over a days work it all adds up. Here are the top four submitted tips to help you surf the web like a pro.
Tip #1 – The Middle Click
The middle click is certainly the most overlooked of all clicks on our humble mouse. Because it is so seldom used, most users are often shocked to find out that it is one of the best time-saving tricks for browsing the web. The middle click button on nearly all modern browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera) will launch links in a new background tab… So what, you may say. Well, doing a Google search for example, you can browse through the results, and middle click all the links that are of interest. Each site will open as a tab in the background and by the time you are ready to view them, each tab will have pre-loaded. This saves a LOT of time.
You can also middle click open tabs to close them immediately, saving you from aiming on that tiny little ‘x’.
Tip #2 – Pinning Tabs
There are some sites that you visit so frequently it is often easier to leave them open constantly. I know myself that I check news, Twitter and Facebook often enough that there is no point in closing the tabs. Pinning of tabs was introduced by Google Chrome and has also been added in later versions of Firefox. Pinned tabs essentially let you make permanent the sites that you visit frequently. There are a few benefits to pinning versus just leaving tabs open.
- A pinned tab is only the size of it’s favicon, this saves precious screen real estate.
- Pinned tabs are impossible to close by accident as the close button is removed from the tab.
Pinning tabs is as simple as right clicking the tab you want to pin and choosing the option from the menu. Once again, a very small tweak, but extremely useful for those of us spending a lot of time online.
Tip #3 – Sites Become “Web Apps”
As websites increase functionality and real time engagement, we don’t visit them like we used to. We interact with these sites in a very similar fashion to independent programs. So for example, I use Gmail much like I used to use Outlook. But I never used to keep all my applications running in the same window, so why would I do any different with my web applications. With Google Chrome you can choose to launch your web apps just like any local program. The app will have its own window and will hide all signs that the app is still within the web browser.
To set this up on Windows, navigate to your site, and select ‘Tools: Create application shortcuts…’ from your menu. You will then have the option to choose create a shortcut for your desktop, Start menu or task-bar.
Tip #4 – Hover/Thumbnail Zoom
Hover Zoom (Chrome) and Thumbnail Zoom (Firefox) are two extensions that take a lot of the clicking out of viewing images online. The extensions work by enlarging images as you hover over them. This does not mean just enlarging a pixelated thumbnail, the extension looks for the full size, hi-res image and will display it in-line as you hover.
Particularly for those that spend a lot of time on image/photo heavy sites such as Flickr, Facebook or Pinterest, this is of great use. It saves opening multiples tabs and modal windows to view full size images and means you can get through a lot more pics in much shorter time.
What tools or techniques do you use to get the most out of your browser? What is the number one extension you could not live without?
Image courtesy of Flickr, Bohman