One of the improved features in Internet Explorer 8 is the ‘new tab’ page, which is the page you see by default when you click the New Tab button on the Tab row, or if you hit CTRL+T (the keyboard shortcut that does the same thing). We’re the Program Managers for this page and would like to walk you through the history and evolution of this feature to what it is today in IE8 Beta 2.
When IE7 was released in 2006, many users did not know what tabs were, so our new tab page didn’t really do anything except say “I’m a tab” and offer a link to help content for folks who were interested in learning more. Now it’s 2008, and web users are even more sophisticated and tab-enabled browsers are ubiquitous, so we decided that it was time to start making the new tab page more useful than just saying “I’m here.” So what kinds of tasks do we add to the new tab page?
We started with our first goal for this page: provide easy access to tab-related tasks. We recognize that when you open a new tab, you’re probably on your way to go do something else in the browser like visit a new site or start a new search. So, it seemed logical to make this new tab page offer up tab-related tasks to the user, especially given our desire to make navigation easier in IE8.