A browser sidebar to make it easier to switch contexts on the web



I am currently helping build Skeema, working on augmenting human cognition with intelligence, starting with helping users solve their tab overload problem.

Incubated at CMU in the Knowledge Accelerator lab under Professor Niki Kittur, I joined a small team of 5 where I lead the design of multiple key features to help users be more productive on the web. I helped navigate the product from concepts to a Product Hunt launch (4.9 rating), venture funding and now an AI-powered tool to augment human productivity.

I designed the MVP based on qualitative research and user analytics, developed and tested prototypes, and collaborated with engineering for implementation. I also built the marketing website, revamped the existing design and crafted the brand direction.

Link to the Skeema Website.


2 Engineers
2 Designers
1 Product Manager

project type

Browser tools
Web tools
Knowledge Management
Zero to One


Sep 2022 - Present

at a glance


Helped take Skeema from a research project with <500 Beta users to a product with 5K+ users and a 4.9 Chrome store rating
Helped secure initial funding from leading Silicon Valley VC
Collaborated with CEO & 2 engineers to ship & monitor 4 key features over 12 months.
Built website and marketing material for a Product Hunt launch, leading to a 4.7 rating
contextprocesstesting conceptsthe userproblemexplorationfinal design

The Problem & the Product

the problem

Tab overload is killing our productivity.

Tab overload, a common state of browsers today, arises from various habits and challenges. People fear losing information, leading to an accumulation of open tabs. Multitasking, the need for reference, deferred tasks, and the low cost of opening a new tab contribute to the pile-up. Additionally, browser tools often lack effective ways to manage this deluge. The browser, intended to aid productivity, ironically hinders it.

the product

Skeema helps declutter your browser

Skeema's mission is to harness computation to acclerate cognition, starting with the browser. When I joined, Skeema's main product was a browser extension to help users declutter their browsers by saving tabs to projects and marking them as tasks, adding notes and more. It started as a research project at Carnegie Mellon University's Knowledge Accelerator Lab, headed by Professor Aniket Kittur.

Being super interested in productivity, I was immediately drawn to Skeema's problem and mission, leading to my joining the small team.

what next?

After a successful Product Hunt launch in late 2022, we were faced with the question: 'What Next'?

the process

Discover, Define, Design, Deliver

The process, though non-linear, can be broken down into 2 broad phases: figuring out the problem to solve and then solving it. This is a oversimplicfication and each phase had its own multiple divergence & convergences.

testing concepts

Finding the right problem to solve

My first 6 months with Skeema were spent creating concepts & prototypes for divergent directions to test with users to validate ideas before we wrote a single line of code.

With a small team, testing these concepts with users helped us understand what problems were worth solving.

Here are 3 concepts:

Curation: Visual canvases for saving your links

The goal was to generate network effects by turning Skeema's project pages into flexible, visual canvases or personal dashboards. Imagine sharing visual boards for a trip to France or your favourite books of 2023.

Could generate viral growth
We found most use Skeema to manage work tabs — Docs, Sheets which do not require visual previews
Some users found the idea manually intensive
Collaboration: Easily share your links with friends

The Idea
The goal was to improve the link sharing features in Skeema and support collaborative decision making. Users could easily share projects with friends or colleagues by generating public or private links for them to comment on.

Could generate network effects from our users
Solved problem for users with tools like Notion, Coda, Google Docs
Not a solution users would pay for
chosen concept
Productivity: Save tabs, manage & switch tasks with a browser sidebar

To access the app, users would have to open a new tab page. The sidebar allows users to access their Skeema projects on any page and save their open tabs.

Would increase interaction with items saved in Skeema
Allows users to save entire groups or windows to Skeema
"Not useful if it's just my tabs shown vertically. What more value do you offer?"
the user

The Serial Context Switcher

Concept tests guiding us toward defining the problem and our target user archetype: the serial context switcher. Context-switching knowledge workers, often juggle multiple projects simultaneously, navigating multiple open windows.

Examples: A consultant managing multiple projects or a product manager juggling multiple tasks/ workstreams.

Why do context-switchers suffer from tab overload?

Tabs serve as visual task reminders

Each open tab represents a task, be it an article, tax-related work, or a PRD to review. Users often keep tabs open for weeks or even months, fearing they'll lose track of the To-Do if they close them.

Browser windows mark boundaries between various contexts

Windows and tabs can represent external user mental models, users organize their tasks by windows. Switching contexts by switching windows is common behavior.

No easy way to switch contexts on browsers

While there's an abundance of work apps out there, the challenge lies in seamlessly transitioning between them within browsers. This is described in the model created above by Prof. Niki Kittur.


How might we help users seamlessly switch contexts on their browsers?

Switching contexts

The problem above can be further broken down into 3 parts:

Suspend contexts

How might we help users suspend tasks and close their tabs without the fear of losing information?

Resume contexts

How might we help users refind and resume their tasks and their associated tabs with ease?

Smart suggestions

How might we provide intelligent suggestions to open and close tabs?


Designing a browser sidebar

The sidebar evolved over months of iteration and understanding evolving user needs and jobs to be done. Here are some selected explorations of challenges I worked through.

exploration 1

Sidebar architecture

Not all browser tabs are equal. We created 3 spaces within the sidebar. Let’s unpack the different types of tabs users have open.

Every tab has an intent, a task a user plans to get to now or later. A user keeps tabs open as a visual reminder of these tasks. We created three spaces within the Sidebar.

  1. Open tabs: Everything the user needs currently.
  2. Later: Everything the user plans to get back to sometime soon and needs to be reminded about.
  3. Projects: Providing easy access to saved items to launch without opening Skeema in a new tab
a sectional layout like a to-do list

Users can treat their open tabs as active tasks and plan for future ones, much like a to-do list.

Manage tabs like To-Dos
View all tabs in 1 place
Sections need a scroll to accomodate large lists of open tabs
Cluttered design, high cognitive load
a 3 tab layout
chosen concept

Users focus only on their current contexts.

Enables focus by displaying only current context
Quicker to implement
Projects take 2 clicks to access
segregation b/w projects & tabs

Not all browser tabs are equal. We created 3 spaces within the sidebar. Let’s unpack the different types of tabs users have open.

Projects are accessible with single click
Projects design in-line with existing Nav Rail pattern on the homepage
Complex to implement
exploration 2

Tab actions & microinteractions

A primary benefit of the sidebar is the ability to perform actions on multiple tabs without changing the web-page or opening Skeema in a new page.

"To save multiple pages, I need to always open a new Skeema tab to save multiple tabs as a batch."

Microinteractions to save tabs

a sticky button to save pages
Save tabs to Skeema with 1 click
Restricted to saving 1 tab at a time
saving a tab with a click
View and save multiple tabs from a sidebar
Didn't scale as we added more tab actions
Doesn't support multi-selection
drawer interaction
Supports multi-selection of items
Drawer interaction slows down the speed of saving multiple tabs
Doesn't support multi-selection
project suggestions on hover
chosen concept
Supports multi-selection of items
Project suggestions appear on hover
prototyping microinteractions

To judge the tradeoffs of the various directions shown above, it was very important to know how it feels.

I made full use of the variant prototyping features in Figma and Prototopie to create realistic prototypes.

much actions, few pixels

Another challenge was fitting actions into a compact tab area. I addressed this by prioritizing actions, with primary actions shown as buttons and secondary actions tucked away behind an action menu.

exploration 3

Accessing the sidebar on any tab

This is where some of the challenges of being a Chrome extension and not a native browser feature show up. The single biggest risk for this feature is people just not discovering it.

Since the sidebar would take up precious viewport estate, If we made it too intrusive and present on every page, users would find it obstructive. We approached this challenge in multiple ways, weighing the tradeoffs of ease of access vs level of obstruction.

navigation rail
Common UX pattern, found in browsers like Edge today
Shrinking the viewport width to accommodate the rail presented technical constraints
clippy 2.0: sticky, moveable button

We built this prototype in code to test it since it seemed like a promising direction.

Easily moveable if it occludes interface
Primary actions displayed on hover
Found to be annoying & intrusive after using internally over a few days
pie menu
Compact, low-friction interaction that adheres to Fitt's Law
Occluded controls on dense web interfaces with right panes. (Ex: Figma, Webflow)

Waiting for the day I get to execute a pie menu in a product.

mouse hover on browser edge
chosen concept
Least intrusive
Issues with initially discovering the feature
exploration 4

Resuming contexts

The second part of the challenge was helping users get back into their suspended contexts.

The Later space in the sidebar

Users can easily view their previous tasks sorted chronologically and relaunch their tabs, groups or windows saved to Later.

I designed empty states to explain the concept to new users with crisp copy conveying the feature benefits.

Supporting task resumption from the homepage

I explored redesigns of the Skeema homepage to support the easy re-entry into tasks saved for later with visual bundles of your browser tabs

Explorations of updated homepage design
final designs

Final Designs


Save open tabs to projects with a click

Save tabs, groups or entire windows to projects with a single click. Smart project suggestions on hover.

add tasks to later

Clear the clutter, focus on what matters now

Effortlessly suspend and resume your tasks without having a gazillion tabs open. With the 'Later' space, Skeema ensures users can efficiently store and retrieve tabs, sparing both their RAM and memory.

new homepage

Dive back into tasks from the homepage

A new homepage that supports easy re-entry into projects and tasks.

more work

Some more of my contributions


A search to easily find saved links, clips and web history

A spotlight fuzzy search that helps users easily find things they've saved or come across on the internet.


A revamped project page for saved tabs

I refreshed the existing Skeema project page to support new functionality and better visual hierarchy. In the process, I created a scaleable component system.

marketing website

Built the marketing website for the product launch

Built over 2 days on Webflow.

Curious? Then let's talk.

This is only part of the story, for the feature length - hit me up.

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V4.02 • UPDATED 11.2023
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