[highlight]UPDATE: Since the writing of this article Google Chrome has already changed their user interface.[/highlight]

Chrome was released into the public with an impressive new style and quality compared to most of its competitors. The astonishing speed it has (and maintains!) is an absolutely incredible accomplishment.

As usual, Google has excelled at making something simple and fast and once again people are amazed. In their quest for making something simple, they also simplified the browser bar.

The new bar has one important quality: It does not take away space which is needed to display webpages. This is good; the browser is there to support people and it should not take up space.

Nevertheless, with such innovation they also take some risks, making the user-interface less usable than it should be.

In Google Chrome, there is only one button to load and to stop the loading of the page. This button is located on the right of the address-bar.

Let’s analyze this position by looking at a users typical action:

    1. Click on the left part of the address bar, where the text is located
    2. Enter an address or a search phrase
    3. Press enter

The stop button is used in the following scenario:

  1. The user suddenly realizes: I do not want to load this page!
  2. Move mouse position (which was left all the way on the left side of the browser bar) to the stop button
  3. Press stop button

By the time that the user has realized that they want to stop and has moved the mouse cursor all the way to the right side of the screen where the stop button is located, it is already too late.


Two alternative solutions come to mind in order to improve this:

  1. Replace the reload button with the stop button on loading
  2. Move the go/stop button to the left side of the address bar

The first option seems elegant, but from a user perspective it complicates things. When a page does not load quickly enough the user often simply reloads the page. If the reload button is replace by a stop-button, they will first have to stop loading and then reload the page, adding an unnecessary step.

Instead, moving the location of the stop/go button to next to the reload button would make the most sense. It’s the old-fashioned way but, to me, it’s the right way.