Firefox Home Tab Concept

August 17, 2010 | Tags: , , , , ,

This summer I’ve been working at Mozilla with the Firefox UX team. My main project of the summer was to research what the hometab of the future could and should be. I was to give Firefox a useful path to traverse and provide some ideas about the design and experience of the hometab in Firefox.

In starting this project I came up with some predispositions (pre-project thoughts) on hometab, and how people use the internet. I then completed three major types of research: competitor analysis, academic research, and user research. This research led me to the following insights:

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Sharing in Firefox

August 12, 2010 | Tags: , , , ,

Most of us like to share things with people that we know. This is one reason that flickr, facebook, and twitter became so popular. Sharing is huge. It’s likely that if you’ve used the internet, you have shared something with someone. Many of us share different things through many different networks. This can be quite a pain. There are many add-ons that tackle this very issue. However, the browser can make sharing easier by integrating sharing into the browser. If we know what social networks you use, by what passwords you’ve saved in Firefox, it should be pretty easy to enable sharing in Firefox.

In looking at this problem I’ve come up with the following design:

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Mozilla Summit 2010

July 14, 2010 | Tags: , , ,

I recently got back from the Mozilla 2010 Summit in Whistler, BC.

I can sum up my entire experience in just one word.

Awesome!

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Firefox Home Tab Concepts

July 1, 2010 | Tags: , , , ,

As you may know, I’ve been doing a lot of researching and thinking about post Firefox 4 Home Tab during my internship here at Mozilla. I’ve taken the research I’ve conducted, my colleagues thinking, experience and ideas, along with my own experience and ideas and put together some wireframes. These sketches represent some very basic directions that we could take with the Home Tab.

It’s important to note that these concepts represent some very basic and rough ideas of what the home tab could look like in the future. These are in no way absolute directions, but rather provide some jumping off points for future work.

That being said, let’s frame these concepts a bit better.

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Perceived Speed Performace

June 16, 2010 | Tags: , , , ,

Firefox is fast, no doubt about it. But for many people it feels pretty slow when starting up. Chrome, while only marginally faster than Firefox at starting, feels much faster. By analyzing videos of these start-up processes we can start to understand what makes Firefox feel slow.

First, last start with some definitions of browser start-up events.

  • Before Spinner: the time from when the user clicks the application icon to when the spinner starts running.
  • Spinner Running: the time while the spinner is actually running (may appear and disappear).
  • Before Window Draw: the time from when the spinner stops running until the window begins drawing.
  • Window Drawing: the time from when the window starts drawing until the title bar comes into view.
  • Drawing Title Bar: the time it takes the title bar to come into view.
  • Window Done Drawing: the time it takes for the window to draw after the title bar is seen.
  • Drawing Chrome: the time it takes for the browser chrome to be drawn.
  • Website Drawn: the time it takes for the entire website to be drawn (different websites used).
  • Close Window: the time it takes from when a users presses the close button on the browser until when the browser is no longer shown.
  • Active Icon Disappears: the time it takes from when the browser is no longer shown until the application is no longer running.
  • “Fresh”: brand new profile; standard set of plugins enabled: Acrobat, Google Update, Java Deployment Toolkit, Java(TM) platofmr SE 6 U20, Microsoft Office 2010, Shockwave Flash, Silverlight, WPI Detector 1.1
  • “Full”: fresh profile (only the history data used to create the 50 bookmarks below); standard set of plugins; 50 bookmarks (the 50 top alexa global sites); 5 tabs in the session (google, facebook, youtube, wikipedia, live.com); 2 common add-ons installed (ietab and adblock plus)

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Firefox Home Tab

May 26, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Firefox 4 Home Tab Icon

As you may know, I’m currently working as User Experience Intern at Mozilla. I’ve been tasked with designing the next generation Firefox Home Tab. I wanted to share what work I’ve done so far and give a general update on what I plan on doing in the near future. I will be routinely updating the progress and my work on this project as the summer goes forward. So check back often to keep updated on what I’m doing.

I think it’s important to know right off the what we (the UX team) are imagining for the new home tab. We do not imagine the new home tab to be a content aggregation service, but rather we hope to fully understand and push the boundaries of what we (as a browser) can do that websites might not be able to do well. I’ve come up with some approaches that I’ve been looking at to use while designing, which I’ve listed below.

Possible Design Tools

  • Golden Questions
    used to understand many different perspectives
  • Secondary Research
    what research has been done so far by academia and other industry players?
  • User Research
    understand what users of home pages via surveys, possible interviews
  • Data Aggregation
    bring together all data points, see trends, gather insights
  • Brainstorming
    generate multiple ideas on what we can do as a browser
  • Design Lunch
    group brainstorming to get multiple view points and crazy ideas
  • Sketching
    to get ideas out of our heads
  • Concepting, Ideating
    to fully explore a design space
  • Prototyping
    to further explore a particular design
  • User Studies
    to understand gaps and problems with a design or concept

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Firefox User Experience

May 20, 2010 | Tags: , , , , ,

Firefox IconWoo hoo!

This summer (actually I already started) I will be working with Mozilla on the Firefox User Experience team. I couldn’t be more excited or happy. Firefox is a great product that has around 370 million users worldwide. This is a huge audience for which to design and will come with many challenges. I look forward to tackling these challenges head on with all that I have learned about design. I also hope to learn more than ever about designing in the real world, working with real people, onĀ  stuff that will actually be in the world and used by millions. It’s scary as hell and I love it!

Reflection Thus Far

In thinking about the past (almost) two weeks, I can already seen how things have changed for me a bit. I’ve started to understand how UX teams might work in real world companies, specifically companies that are developer centric. Furthermore, I’ve started to understand the unique challenges that come with designing open source software. There are so many people involved, so many opinions, and so very many valid use and edge cases. It’s superbly interesting and a little overwhelming. I’m starting to look through my toolset and understand what tools I have that can best be used within a community such as Firefox. My colleagues (wow, that’s awesome to say) have blogged about some of these things as well. I work with really smart and amazing people. I’m very grateful for their help and support thus far.

You might want to have a look at what Alex Faaborg, Jennifer Borris, Aza Raskin, and Alex Limi are saying. It’s awesome!

The first week here I was a sponge, running around trying to soak up as much information as possible. It also happened to be an intensive work week where we had all of our remote people in the office. It was a really great week where I learned quite a bit about how things work at Mozilla and the direction that Firefox was taking. I also got to participate in many quick design meetings where we discussed and ideated on designs. Furthermore, I was able to give my opinion on some Bike Sheding issues and I really felt welcomed.

This week (my second) I’ve started my first project and helped the team on some other stuff. Limi and I filled a bazillion bugs for the Firefox Papercuts issues (see his presentation on the topic). So now I have a great grasp on filling bugs within bugzilla. My new project involves doing a good amount of research on what the next generation “home tab” might look like for the web. I really like this project thus far as it really allows me to stretch my imagination and think about the future of the web and how it can be better designed for people.

Mozilla Foundation Logo

So far, I’m having a great time. The Bay Area is fantastic. Mozilla is really great, and I love the people on the UX team. Plus I’m working for an organization that has a dino head for a logo. How cool is that!

Life is good.