One of the new browser features in Internet Explorer 9 is the ability to pin a site to the Windows taskbar. This is a little like giving your browser bookmarks an important piece of real estate on your desktop, because there’s only so much taskbar you can fill before it becomes unusable. For sites I use like applications, like Evernote and Dropbox, this might make sense, because I access them so often I like to open them quickly. For most things, I don’t see the point. Whether I actually use this feature or not remains to be seen, however, Microsoft did do a few things right to maximize the potential usefulness of pinning sites to the taskbar.
Each pinned site is displayed on the taskbar using the sites favicon (or favorite icon), which is the icon that shows in the corner of a browser tab when the site is open in your browser. This is necessary so that you can keep track of which pinned site is which on your taskbar. As I demonstrate below, twitter has a much better icon for this than the icon I’m currently using for my site. I’m hoping what this does is cause people to create better icons for their sites – I’m certainly motivated.
One of the things that makes pinning a site to the taskbar interesting is that the resulting quick launch button still launches a browser. It just happens that the browser window launches to a specific site. You can still open new tabs or leave that site and browse to other sites from the same window. This is where Microsoft made a smart decision – if you want to go back to the site that’s pinned they created a special home button, designated with the site icon. Click that icon to the left of the forward and back buttons to return to the pinned site from any tab you have open in that browser window.