Posts Tagged ‘Firefox’

Jetpack FAQ

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

In the less-than-week since launch, we’ve seen more than 25,000 downloads of Jetpack and nearly 100,000 watches of the tutorial movie. There seems to be a particularly interested in Jetpack from the Web developer world. In the few days since launch, we’ve had over 20 Jetpacks written by people who previously had only written web sites.


Firefox New Tab: Visual Update

Monday, April 13th, 2009

All has been quiet on the new tab front for the last couple of weeks. We’ve been up to two things in the process of getting the new tab ready for potential uplift into Firefox. The first is we’ve been working on an overview of how the add-on was designed including performance and security. If you’ve ever wanted to get a guided tour of how something like the new tab is implemented, check it out. The second thing we’ve been working on is finding a visual style that blends in with Firefox.

Inspired by the horizontal styling of the thumbnails in Chris Stone’s answer to the call for participation, we’ve got some new designs that incorporate the learnings from the last 36 revisions while finally making it feel much more Firefox-y. Unfortunately, we haven’t implemented the new style yet so for the time being, it’s see only.

(more…) Tabs on the side?

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Inspired by numerous tabs-on-the-side extensions (in particular Tree Tabs by Piro-san), hall-way conversations, and Oliver Reichenstein’s recent blog post, we’ve been thinking more about the possibilities and ramifications of putting “tabs” on the side of the browser.


Taskfox Prototype: Ubiquity in Firefox

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

As a user experience exploration, Ubiquity has been incredibly successful. Over a million downloads have highlighted the need for the web to be connected more tightly with by the power of task-based interfaces. Due to the passion of users, the user tutorial has been translated into ten languages. Similarly, the thousands of commands written for Ubiquity illustrate a latent desire to be able to write tiny amounts of code that enhance the web in fundamental ways.

We are currently working on bringing some of that power to Firefox. For a more detailed look at some of the directions we’ve been thinking about, check out the mockups page of the project wiki.


Firefox New Tab: In-Line Search

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been iterating on the idea & design of what a Firefox new tab could look like. All told, we’ve now gone through 36 different versions of the page, with thousands of particpants helping test and provide daily feedback & new ideas.


Cognitive Shield for the Firefox New Tab

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

As we iterate on the new tab design for Firefox, we’ve run into a seeming paradox. The new tab screen should have two main functions: (A) To show you the sites you are most likely to be interested in going to, and (B) to not distract you. That’s the paradox: by design success is when the pages we show are maximally interesting/distracting, but an explicit goal is to not interrupt your flow.

This iteration focuses on solving that paradox by proposing a solution that we’ve dubbed “the cognitive shield” (coined by Alex Faaborg).


New Tab for Firefox: Iterations

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

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.


Scaling Ubiquity to 60+ Languages: We Need Your Help

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

The year is 1953. Robert Floyd, the man most cited in Donald Knuth’s The Art of Computer Programing, takes the stage. His topic is on using English as a programming language:

“Each word must be implemented by a procedure which somehow contains its meaning and consistently interlocks with other procedures for other words. I can’t think of any task, intellectual or not, which has ever been carried out which approaches this magnitude.”

Over half a century later, those words ring prophetically true. Instructing a computer to do what you want with natural language is astronomically hard. That’s why Ubiquity cheats left and right to do it. It embraces ambiguity, uses tight feedback loops, and a restricted vocabulary plus grammar to give the appearance of something human. And it can do a lot better.

As we think about Ubiquity uplift into Firefox, we aren’t just bound to English. We need to have an interface that can potentially work in the 60+ languages that Firefox has been localized too. For that we need your help.

I’m pleased to announce that Mitcho Erlewine, a linguist-coder, will be leading the charge in helping us understand how to bring conversational computing to the Firefox scale. His first blog post is on How natural should Ubiquity really be? Although he speaks four languages fluently (English, Japanese, French, Chinese) and is a gifted linguist, he can’t do it alone. Especially if your native tongue is not English we need you to get involved in blogging, thinking, and mocking up ideas for how Ubiquity in Firefox’s Awesome Bar can work in your language. Put your mockups on Flickr and tag them with ubiquity and mozconcept.

Question: What are the greatest difficulties in bringing Ubiquity to your language?

Ubiquity in Firefox: Round 1

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Mozilla Lab’s Ubiquity experiment continues to be a big success, with over two-hundred thousand active users, and millions of downloads. It’s time to start seriously thinking about how to bring Ubiquity-like features to all Firefox users, not just the early adopters.

Design Goals

Before we get into specific designs, let’s start with some overarching design goals to frame potential solutions.

(1) Don’t force new work flows. A large part of perceived software bloat comes from piling on new features without a unified vision — each disjoint, with their own way of doing things, and own way to invoke them. The more we can place time-saving designs in the path of current work flows, the smarter, quicker, and lighter the software feels. Done well, the feature doesn’t even really feel like a feature, just a lending hand: “of course it was supposed to work that way”, says the user.

A corollary, however, is that we can’t block the old work flow by trying to “help”. That would be rude.

(2) It must be localizable. Firefox currently ships in over sixty languages. Porting even the restricted natural-language parser in Ubiquity to all of those 60+ languages is nigh impossible (we’ll be getting some linguist help soon). We’ll need an interface informed by Ubiquity for Firefox, one that’s easier to bring to more languages.

(3) Should feel like Firefox. This is a bit more touchy-feely. The features uplifted from Ubiquity should feel at home in Firefox.


Design 1: Awesome Bar

Basic concepts:
* Ubiquity actions live in the Awesome Bar and are identified in the identity button
* Commands get a frecency score, just like web pages (already a feature in Ubiquity 0.1.5)
* Commands look like chrome, same color and texture
* Self describing text in the field persists when it has the focus, can be adapted to explain what input a command takes.
* After selecting a command and entering additional text, the autocomplete results area can be used for feedback (as opposed to the current two-pane Ubiquity interface)

In this mockup, the “identity” button, is co-opted to identify the selected action/verb. Visually, this is the clean but there is a problem: How do you get back to the normal URL-going state of the Awesome bar? Presumably you could hit “escape” or “backspace” to go back, or there can be the standard “x” in the URL bar — but is that discoverable enough?

Design 2: Awesome Bar

Intensely Personal Browsers and Mozilla Labs’ Personas

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Suneel Gupta: Interview on Mozilla Personas

Mozilla Labs’ Personas — although still in beta — is an a extension that adds lightweight theming to your browser, allowing dynamic changes to how your Firefox looks. Whether it’s your kids, your favorite band, or beautiful art, all it takes is a single image to make your Firefox yours.

Personas project manager Suneel Gupta sat down to talk about what it means to have the browser’s look-and-feel reflect our personality, passions, and mood. And he’s looking for feedback.

Open question: How else should Firefox enable an intensely personal browsing experience? (Keep in mind intensely personal doesn’t mean lots of settings and preferences to tweak!).