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We're currently using MUI tabs.

If a user selects ITEM TWO in this example, is the expectation to persist this tab after the user refreshes the page? Or should it default back to ITEM ONE?

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Yes, persist the tab. If a user is refreshing the page, most of the time it means something went wrong and they got stuck. It's a good practice to help them get back to what they were trying to do as quickly as possible.

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I agree with izquierdo. While the refresh might not be a problem as such - the user might've been pulled away and the web app logged out, the user might be refreshing data, etc. - for many users, especially frequent SaaS users, the tab they're on at a given moment is likely to be their most-used tab. So let the place they last left themselves at persist. It's only one click to go to a different tab.

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