In December I wrote about iOS Back Button Confusion, outlining how having multiple back buttons on the same screen in iOS creates user mistakes or slowdowns as they determine which button they should use. I recently noticed the same issue with my RSS reader of choice, NetNewsWire (which is an outstanding app for reading RSS feeds on the desktop).
In similar fashion to the iOS apps, NetNewsWire has an embedded browser for viewing links. Thus, it also requires having two back buttons: one to exit the browser and one for going backwards in the browser history.
With NetNewsWire, as with iOS, I find myself exiting the embedded browser when I intended to go backwards in the browser history. This causes a small amount of frustration which adds up to a poor user experience over time.
My proposed solution still stands, as the dynamics of the problem have not changed between touch screen and pointer input methods: provide a way for the user to “undo” the act of closing the browser. For a deeper explanation of not only the solution, but the problem, take a look at the previous post.