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

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.


A Glipse Into The Mobile Firefox Design Process

Designing at Mozilla is an interesting process: We are commited to doing design in the open and involving community in a fundemental capacity, yet we must avoid design by committee. To design in the open, we use tools like IRC, wikis, blog posts, and open bug trackers, yet we also have small face-to-face meetings. The tools we have are a great start, and I think we can do better. I’m just not sure how.

For the latest round of user experience iterations for Firefox Mobile, Madhava Enros and I are recording our discussion sessions. It’s an experiment, so want I have a couple questions for you (1) is this is a useful thing to do—do you find value in seeing into our unfiltered face-to-face meetings, and (2) In what ways could we make it more valuable to you?

Here’s the video and the whiteboard drawings for our session on Preferences, Add-ons, and Downloads in Fennec. I apologize for the poor audio quality (it gets better a couple minutes into the recording). If these turns out to be a useful thing to do, our future videos will be higher quality.

RT @aza A Glipse Into The Mobile Firefox Design Process | Follow @aza on Twitter | All blog posts

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I find this stuff really interesting. I do wish everyone posted their face-to-face conversations like this. However, I realize this is probably a lot of work to set up the video camera, then transfer to computer, and then upload. Thanks for the vid!

It’s definitely interesting to get some insight as to how you arrived at design decisions. But it takes some real dedication to sit through an entire video ;-)

I think that if the goal is to get feedback and/or help from the community, it needs to be in a higher-level and more easily-digestable format. I’d love to see a wiki page that summarizes the current state of the design. It could point to the current mockups, as well as providing some kind of time-oriented, blog-like view that shows how things have progressed.

I know that a log of stuff is in the wiki now, but I have found it a challenge to find the stuff in the first place, and then to determine if it is current.

And a comment on the actual video content: is Fennec going to display the history somehow? Downloads could be shown as a subset of the history list. Or are you considering of dropping history altogether? (Since several studies have shown how infrequently it’s used.)


I found it interesting. Keep them coming. It would be nice to let viewers annotate the video. In the hope that people will highlight interesting sections making it easier to digest.

I’m blown away that the video has had 300+ views. That, in and of itself indicates that, to echo ChrisJF’s words, getting our face-to-face meetings out is important in making our design process more transparent.

@ Patrick: It takes some dedication to get through our own meetings :) In the next video, we’ve tried to be better about giving structure to our session. When it’s done encoding, I’ll put it up. I’ll also try to link to current designs on wikis, wherever that is possible.

Re: history. At the moment, there is no plans to show history in the mobile edition. It might be available via Weave to be viewed on your desktop.

Ian: We’ll try using Viddler next time to let people comment on the videos and see how it works.

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Aww, I wanted to see dancing…

On a more serious note – I’d love to see more of these. 75 min is a long time to sit through without participating, however.


Re: history: that’s a pity, because mobile is where it’s most needed to re-visit a page. Typing in the Awesomebar is painful, while bookmarking requires you to realize that you will need the page. History is the perfect solution, no?

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