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I suppose this is a ui-flow question.

I'm currently working on a project where a couple of the stakeholders are suggesting the use of popup windows, i.e. browser tabs, to create a workflow to switch between and compare multiple texts. For example, the user might open several pieces of legislation to compare them. They might also want to open different legislative vocabulary items to compare their connections.

Right now, the suggestion is to open each of these pieces of legislation / vocabulary in a new browser tab so the user can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate between them. To me, this seems like a bad idea, as the user will constantly be navigating away from the main app to access resources. It also seems very disorganised from a navigational standpoint, and from what I've read, it doesn't seem very plausible to force the creation of browser tabs for every browser.

Does anyone have any advice or caveats about creating a ui-flow using pop up windows?

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  • Are you asking about the UI flow? A specific problem with the design for Angular and a back end? How to create a workflow (note - that's too broad)? – user28531 Jan 26 '16 at 19:12
  • @MichaelT Thanks for the feedback. I've tried to clarify the question. I suppose it's really more about UI flow... – hughesjmh Jan 27 '16 at 14:49
  • Just a hunch, but I'd assume anyone that would find a multi-tab workflow useful, would already know how to open different pages of your app on their own. – DA01 Jan 28 '16 at 7:53
  • @DA01 Yeah, that's true. Maybe I could just provide some hints to let them know how to open tabs if they want (in case they don't already know how). – hughesjmh Jan 28 '16 at 14:31
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Comparing two things across 2 browser tabs is not very efficient because the user needs to rely on memory as they switch between the two tabs.

The most efficient and effective method to compare 2 things, is to compare them side-by-side on the same page because the user does not need to rely on memory - they can see the differences on one page.

Another advantage of showing them side-by-side on the same page is you can now programatically highlight differences visually via styling. BTW This is common feature of many developer IDE tools and is even a feature in MS Word.

  • Thanks for the feedback, Splatz. Those are good points as well. I'll bring those up when I'm making the case against spawning multiple tabs for this app. – hughesjmh Apr 28 '16 at 8:41

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