I'm Aza Raskin @aza. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.

 

New Tab for Firefox: Iterations

We put up a post on the iterating on the new tab page for Firefox on the Mozilla Labs site today. It builds on feedback from the last two rounds of new tab concepts, we know that the page needs to load instantly (even a small wait breaks user experience); that it shouldn’t be visually distracting; and that it should be a launch point into your daily activities. One level higher, the distilled design themes are: No configuration, Streamlined, and Polite.

Prototype

Step 1. Download and install the latest development build of Firefox 3.1.
Step 2. Download and install the latest version of the New Tab prototype.
Step 3. Let us know what you think in the comments. What works, what doesn’t and how we can improve the design?

Revised Design

And coming soon.

Except more iterations coming soon.

You can read about the contextual actions and the automatic RSS on the original blog post.

Question: What are the most useful contextual actions? And what are the most useful ambient information to show about a site? We’ve already got map as an action, but email and getting the weather might be interesting. As for ambient information, how about the links you click often on that site?

RT @aza New Tab for Firefox: Iterations | Follow @aza on Twitter | All blog posts

View all 104 comments


i cant get my head around the right-aligned options. i understand its meant to be polite and clean, but its too far away to be usable.



Jason Persampieri

I have two issues with the pages on the right (as opposed to the bottom) -

1) You can’t fit as many
2) Pages are immediately ‘obvious’ and it takes very little effort to evaluate that whole content area. On the other hand, a user will have to study/read the contextual stuff pretty thoroughly. So, you’re not going to want to have a ton of stuff in the contextual area. Hence, dedicate more of the screen to the page section.

I’d also like to request the Awesome Bar be replicated in this window. And perhaps a way to get at some bookmarks. Ideally, I’d like to hide almost my entire toolbar.



Coleman

Jason, putting the whole toolbar in there is a great idea.


I’ve installed this, and I’m not sure what I think yet. My comments so far:

This should open for the first tab in a new window, not just new tabs in an existing window.

The destinations shown along the right side don’t stand out from another enough… they kind of run into each other somehow, it’s hard to explain.

There needs to be a way to remove destinations from that list down the side. I see two copies of Google Reader there, for example, plus other things I actually don’t really want to have in that list because they’re not all that useful to have appear there, even if I do go there often.


i’m having trouble with the right justification of everything as i surf around — too far away from focus areas. also, the text isn’t very useful in any event, and the gray coloring and right justification of text is driving me crazy — breaks my brain. i like what we’re doing generally, but having a hard time with these things.



DigDug

I don’t get why “undo closed tabs” is being given such a prominent place on the page. Its not an action I do that often. And the “New Tab” button on a new tab page just seems kinda silly.



Ami Ganguli

One use-case that pops up just often enough to bug me is that I’m reading through technical documentation and realize that I should have opened the current page in a new tab, since I’d like to keep this page open, but also back-track to somewhere in my history and follow a different path.

If opening a new tab copied the current history then this would be as easy as hitting control-t and then going back in the new tab. Or… if opening a new tab opened a copy of the current page, then I could hit control-t, and go back in my original page. But as it is now, I have to copy the url, hit control-t, paste the url into the new tab, then go back to the previous tab and back-track into my history there.

A really nice solution might be to include part of the browsing history of the tab you were just in as thumbnails in the new tab. If you include the page you were on when you hit control-t, plus the previous two pages, then that should be enough for the vast majority of cases. It should be in a different part of the page than the right-hand column, since it’s not the same as ‘frequently used pages’.

Cheers,
Ami.



Noel Grandin

Compared to Google-Chrome and Safari, that page is seriously untidy.
It just feels…. unbalanced.

After you’ve used Chrome for a while, your mind naturally filters out the page contents if you’re typing in a URL, and naturally filters out the toolbars if you’re going to a frequently visited site.

On that note, I prefer Chrome’s simple 3×3 matrix of sites to the Safari’s coverflow. Chrome just requires less cognition to find what I want.



gohoos

Multiple Home Pages

Here’s what i’d like to see in a future version of Firefox — Multiple Home Pages (not just one home page). Here are some thoughts on how to do it.

1) How the user assigns additional home pages:

From the Tools –> Options –> Main tab, add a third button that says “More Home Pages” which, when clicked, opens up a new window that allows the user to define the URL of each additional home page (up to five additional home pages). It would also be nice if the user could easily switch the sequence of the home pages created.

2) How the user USES the additional home pages:

Once the additional home pages are assigned, clicking on the “home” button on the browser loads the next home page that the user has defined in the Tools –> Options –> Main tab (see above). In other words, if the user clicks on the home button, then the program looks to see if the page on the browser is on his list of home pages. If not, it loads the user’s main home page (the first one on his list of home pages). If yes, then it loads the next home page on the user’s list (as defined in the Tools –> Options –> Main tab).

Additional comments — even though the current feature of typing the first few letters of a website brings up a few webpages that are relevant, it’s not good enough because the user still has to *select* which page he wants to load. Clicking on the home button to allow the user to cycle through the various home pages will allow the user easier access to the most frequent website he/she visits.

Thanks for listening.


As previous commenters said, the undo action gets a very prominent place in this design. But it’s good to have it on this page, still. I don’t think the text is right, though.

“Didn’t mean to close that FOOBAR tab? Undo!”

This may be funny the first time you see it, but after that it just gets in your way when you’re looking for the title of the closed tab. I’d suggest simply: “Undo closing: FOOBAR” or something similar (not sure if this is correct English).



dickwad

ami
I don’t know what the shortcut is in windows but on a mac if you option click the back button it will open the previous page in a new tab. You can pretty much option click anything (bookmarks, home page, searchbar) and it will open in a new window.



Tim Luigjes

When you open a tab it’s kinda slow. The content can be seen after a few seconds. Also the most visited websites on the right is a thing that I don’t like. You can use the 3×3 format that Chrome and Opera are using. I think the Undo function is kinda useless. If people want to undo a closed tab they can press Ctrl+Shift+T.

I love the RSS support. Now we can click on items that we can see.

It would be nice if you could set your own Favourite websites is such kind of box.


One more thing. Cmd+click works fine on the thumbnails, but not the middle-click.



Jason Persampieri

can actions be taken on clipboard changes? Ideally, if a user copies an address (or mappable location) and opens a new tab, it’d be great if there was a map already waiting for him there.

Or a compose window for email addresses.

Or a definition for a single word.

Heck, or even just a very dense search summary.

Of course, all of these would have to have a link to take the user to the ‘real’ source page.


I’d just like to suggest a layout for consideration:

Put search and undo closed tab along the top of the window.

Then have two rows with three Frecently visited sites in each. Make plenty of space above them though so it isn’t all one big mess.

Stick with the idea of greyscale or perhaps 70% desaturated (30% saturated) thumbnails.



Thomas Stache

Nice work here, so let’s get to the feedback (0.0.18):

1) Prevent overlapping: A long undo-close-tab-box flows into the feed items for the top-most page. (seen after closing http://www.dpreview.com/)

2) Page title detection: something is wrong with hgweb pages, it shows titles “comm” and “mozilla” for e.g. “comm-central: pushloghtml”

3) You’ll probably need to have selectable feeds. Again http://www.dpreview.com/ is a good example, it has three completely different feeds, and Ambient News always picked the wrong (as in “not main content”) one. And about:tab inherited that issue.

4) Be quicker, hitting Ctrl-T and quickly typing is interfered after a couple of characters, as focus is stolen. Same for Bookmarks sidebar, focus is stolen when I hit Ctrl-T, Ctrl-B and type quickly in the sidebar search box.

5) Mentioned by robcee elsewhere: the tab page shouldn’t appear in the tab’s history. When something is loaded in the tab to replace the NewTab page, the Back-button should be still disabled.

Good start, now looking forward for more!



toto

i have just test… not usefull in my opinion



Craig S

I liked this.

I updated today from 0.18 (I think) to 0.21 or whatever this is (I forget), and the wonderful about:tab is now completely broken! You had it right with the smaller thumbnails down the right side with the RSS feeds… this new design with either the text list or the 4 large left-aligned thumbnails is uglier, slower, and … wacker.

My biggest problem though, a MUST FIX NOW problem: Now when I create a new tab, “chrome://abouttab/content/tab.html” sits in the location bar with the cursor at the end of it, messing up whatever I was about to type in the AwesomeBar.

I’m about to uninstall this, you guys can let me know when you get it fixed.



Philip Ganchev

“Didn’t mean to close that Foo tab? Undo!” -> “Reopen tab ‘Foo’”

I guess that the reopen action should stay because it is more discoverable than the menu item “History” -> “Recently closed tabs”.

I agree with Ami: a very common use case is when you want to open a tab with the same history as an existing tab. It is probably more common than searching for a word in a new tab. IE solves this problem elegantly; I think I would prefer that to the proposed design.

As a compromise, the previous tab’s content can be one of the context items shown in the new tab, and when it is opened it can contain the history of the old tab.

If you have context-sensitive content, it should be according to the text selected before opening the new tab, as well as the text typed in the Awesome Bar. As you type in the Awesome Bar, the results should replace the initial contents of the window. (The downside of this is when you want to see a long list of pages matching your Awesome Bar query but want a small window.) They should appear after some delay to avoid slowing down your typing.



Frank J.

Hi,
as my comment on the labs site got lost, I ll try again here…
first of all nice concept…
four things:
a.) if I open a new tab to open a website I now have to press crtl+t for the new tab and the crtl+a to select all, because if I just start typing I still have this chrome:// stuff around and it will fail… So please give us an option to have an empty awesomebar or at least the chrome:// stuff selected so there is no need to get over to the mouse or press crtl+a
b.) there is a problem with the preview because
some bloody pages (like tagespiegel.de) have popup-ads which are usually blocked but here (with the new tab) they aren’t so I always get an annoying ad when I open a new tab and tagespiegel.de is in my history…
c.) I would love to have my all time favourites rather than sessionbased (maybe option based)…
because if I open a new tab at the beginning of a session its no rather useless, even if it could know where I want to go because I allways do ;)
d.) is select an url and open a new tab is supposed to be working? it isnt for me
Nevertheless really nice work…



Frank J.

nice…
in the 0,030 version is the empty bar done for the list version, but not for the thumbnail view (which I like actually more) :(
thanks
and the mapping of stuff is nice


“You recently closed that tab ___ … Undo” seems a little confusing: Undo what? I think “Reopen” or something would make more sense.



Joshua

IMHO, that new tab iteration on the post seems very weird and non-intuitive. When I look at a page, I look at the center. The center seems to be one big blank space, with all the content on the edges. May I suggest:
1. Website thumbnails in the middle, the focus of attention, users shouldn’t have to actively look for them, it should be right in front of them
2. Search bar at the top or bottom
3. Drop down menu (containing previously closed tabs) with a button next to it saying “reopen tab”; positioned at left

Why shouldn’t there be any configuration for this? I personally think it would be very very awesome if this new tab iteration was made up of modules that can be added and rearraged. Something like a toolbar: drag and drop controls into it and rearrange. I chose FF because of the extensive customization available to do whatever I want, and I don’t think you should compromise on that. At the very least, let me pin websites.

I would’ve thought that it make more sense that the titles of the websites were below or above the thumbnail, not to the left.

I know all these new things can add weight to the iteration and make it load slower, but a button, a search bar and a few thumbnails is far too little IMHO. And I really don’t think you should compromise on customizability; that’s what FF is all about. Hope all my suggestions helped =)


vere nnice>>


I’d also like to request the Awesome Bar be replicated in this window. And perhaps a way to get at some bookmarks. Ideally, I’d like to hide almost my entire toolbar.


Pages are immediately ‘obvious’ and it takes very little effort to evaluate that whole content area. On the other hand, a user will have to study/read the contextual stuff pretty thoroughly. So, you’re not going to want to have a ton of stuff in the contextual area. Hence, dedicate more of the screen to the page section.


i cant get my head around the right-aligned options. i understand its meant to be polite and clean, but its too far away to be
usable



Sex

i cant get my head around the right-aligned options. i understand its meant to be polite and clean, but its too far away to be usable.


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I think that’s a pretty neat idea. My current watch is a Timex that mimics a chronograph digitally but has both an analog and digital face: I can hide the digital part of it by pressing a button and leave the clean lines of a analog watch (which I prefer). Since I enjoy the benefits of digital for cycling and training and such, it’s nice to have that option.



Kyle

So has this project been scrapped? Nothing new since 2009.


Step 1. Download and install the latest development build of Firefox 3.1.
Step 2. Download and install the latest version of the New Tab prototype.


After you’ve used Chrome for a while, your mind naturally filters out the page contents if you’re typing in a URL, and naturally filters out the toolbars if you’re going to a frequently visited site.


thaank you saudi woman


We haven’t concentrated on visual style, so forgive it.


China wholesale beads store, free shipping, and very good post really


Since I enjoy the benefits of digital for cycling and training and such, it’s nice to have that option.


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