It continues to perplex me how so many basic interaction conventions did not make it onto the web. With each browser revision, we’re slowly improving experiences online, but so much of it is simply catch-up and not new innovation. Sure, it was born as a method for structuring and sharing documents, but once we started building things with it that involved interaction, why didn’t we at least start with what we knew thus far? Simple patterns designed decades earlier are slowly starting to show up on the internet but so many are still not even technologically possible.
It’s unfortunate because it limits the internet’s potential. By requiring experienced users to learn new behaviors, requiring users to deal with a sub-set of features, or lowering standards and expectations by providing new users with a sub-par experience, we are doing them a great disservice.
The reason web applications should never break the back button in the browser. For the first month of using Gmail, this was my number one gripe. I eventually got over it, but it took a concerted effort.