September 14, 2005

berkun switches to firefox

Last week I switched to Firefox: and I�ve been happy.

Scott points out some of the shortcomings of IE that led him to move to Firefox and goes on to point out some usability issues with Firefox. I wanted to take a second to address some of Scott's concerns about Firefox.

His first criticism is of the Find toolbar's location, at the bottom of the app rather than the top. We tried both configurations and the bottom was the solution that didn't cause the content area to shift down a couple of lines. This seemed much less jarring. We haven't done any serious usability testing on this but we've been following the feedback quite closely and Scott's not alone in this concern.

Scott's second concern is about the download dialog. I think he's asking for the amazing Download Statusbar extensions. For people that do a lot of downloading, this is certainly a nice UI. I use it occasionally. Scott, extensions kick ass ;-)

His next criticism is the new tab not inheriting session history from the previous tab (how IE does for new windows.) Again, this is one of those decisions that we spent a lot of time thinking about and we think we've settled on a reasonable default behavior. Perhaps some formal usability studies would enlighten us but I think that tabs are fundamentally different from new windows and just copying the new window behavior seems wrong too. Fortunately, and once again, extensions come to the rescue. Either Clone Window or Duplicate Tab should give Scott the behavior he's looking for.

Scott's forth issue, that modal dialogs which should be tab modal are app modal, is a bug. It's probably 123913 and we should fix that. It's a pain in the butt.

Scott's final complaint is that Firefox has a Go menu. Indeed. Not only do we have a go menu, but rather than displaying session history like the back and forward button, our Go menu shows global history. He suggests we put it out to pasture. I wouldn't have a problem with that :)

I'm really pleased that other than those issues, Scott, who worked on IE versions 1-5, is finding Firefox to be a better fit than IE. It's even better that he's offering some good feedback. Without high quality feedback, we wouldn't have the Firefox we do today.

Scott, if you're reading this, I highly recommend you give Firefox 1.5 Beta 1 a test drive. It's my daily browser and I find it to be not only faster and more stable than Firefox 1.0.6, but also considerably more polished. Oh, and as for your question on the gatekeepers for UI, that was Blake, Ben, Dave, and me :-)

Posted by asa at 8:54 AM