This differs from parallel browsing, which happens when users have different tabs open for different tasks and then they alternate between those tasks. Page parking, in contrast, has many tabs for a single task users like page parking as a strategy because it saves them from pogo sticking. So, for example, clicking one result from a search results page and then returning back to the results page and then clicking another one. Unlike Pogo sticking a page, parking allows users to first scan a list of available options and consider which ones are relevant or of interest. Then the users can move between those tabs and digest the information individually on each page. We see users of all ages utilize page parking, but it seems to be especially prevalent in younger users like millennials.
Let’s look at an example from a study that I conducted which focused on millennial users. One participant in the study was shopping for a new car.
First she thought about what information she needed to know in order to decide which car to buy. So she quickly opened three new tabs and searched on Google for each one. Those searches are represented here by those big circles labeled with a cue. For example, one of her searches was most fuel efficient cars beginning in the third tab. Her most recent query, she selected two pages from the search results lists and open them into new tabs. Then she moved back to the second queries tab and did the same thing, opening two more tabs. One of those pages had a list of links. She scanned that list and opened three of those links into three more tabs, and then she moved back to her first queries tab, opened to links from that list, and then two more from one of those pages. And then finally, one more link from the first queries list. And all of that happened in less than five minutes and left her with 15 tabs open. That might sound and look a little chaotic, but it’s actually a very helpful information seeking strategy which allows people to process the huge amount of information, sources and options that are available to them online.