If you are a daily surfer then probably you would have the habit of keeping your URL history alive for a very long period. This is because frequent surfers do not have the time to remember each and every URL they have visited over the last few days. They even dread to lose their URL for an article of their liking. That is why bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us, Reddit etc have become so popular. Storing bookmarks in the browsers itself has become a passe for frequent surfers.

The bookmarking sites are fast enough to load on entering its URL. But it is somewhat distracting to get to the required article or site by getting redirected from the bookmarking site. This is the time where the browsers URL history comes in to utmost important. And it is not a small feature to be missed out on. For me, it is THE most important feature.

An Example

For a small depiction, some URL’s like the admin interface of this site is not something I would like to bookmark nor the subscriber dashboard of feedburner and not even the statistics page from my webhost. I need them regularly and thats why I thank the browser implementation of caching recently accessed URL’s. I am a Firefox lover and here I would like to mention how Firefox scores over Internet Explorer (IE) when it comes to accessing your history URL’s with ease.

How Firefox Beats IE

It wasn’t until recently that I noticed the manner in which Firefox helps me access my history URL’s. When I type in the first letter of the site I want to visit it not only shows me list of links but the first link is always the one which I want to visit right now. I wondered to myself as to how Firefox understood where I wanted to go, at that particular moment of time. If there are 100 of sites starting with the letter “T” which I had visited in the past, sorting all these sites alphabetically, my site “TechTracer” would have ended up somewhere in the middle of the list of links. But Firefox always shows me the first link as “TechTracer”.

You would find this happening to you too but its so smalll and we are so busy that it might have gone unnoticed. However when I used IE, the thing always annoyed me that the link I was trying to reach from history always remained hidden in the list and is not shown as the first link as Firefox does. This is the point where FireFox makes a subtle yet amazing exploration at usability. And mind you, it is the most amazing yet simple concept.

Firefox vs. IE

The secret is simple. Firefox knows that if you have visited any URL more number of times than any other then it assumes that probably you would be visiting the same URL once again. Lo and behold! the next time you are in the thought of visiting the site then Firefox promptly displays you that URL as the first one in the list of links. It actually saves your precious time to browse through the long list. Similarly the other links in the list are also sorted according to their frequency of access.

Try this out in Internet Explorer. And you would see that IE stores the URL history sorted alphabetically and leaves you at the peril of finding yourself the link that you were interested in. FireFox is currently light years ahead of IE in terms of usability and such simple features sometimes makes me wonder at the ability of the product development team to take care of the minimalist of the surfer’s behavior.


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