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Big Theme change again in Firefox 4?

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ehume

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Post Posted July 20th, 2009, 4:06 pm

Thanks for your comment, Alex. It's nice to know these are only ideas and not plans. Those "me too" GUI concepts had me terribly unhappy.

Is there any way for users to volunteer for a "button logger" app that records our button pushes and transmits them to Stephen? He could see how many times we middle click on a bookmark, press a Home key, click on Forward and Back arrows, etc. Frank Gilbreth did this long ago, to make industrial user interfaces.
Firefox: Sic transit gloria mundi.

faaborg
 
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Post Posted July 20th, 2009, 4:16 pm

We are hoping to collect those types of metrics (and run other UI experiments) with an opt-in program out of Mozilla Labs called test pilot: http://labs.mozilla.com/projects/test-pilot/ although it is still in development at the moment.

ehume

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Post Posted July 20th, 2009, 4:32 pm

Actually, what I had in mind was your finding out how we users use the current Firefox. User testing on new UI's and features is interesting, but it works better if you have a large baseline to work from.
Firefox: Sic transit gloria mundi.

KLB

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Post Posted July 20th, 2009, 6:21 pm

One thing I appreciated was that the migration from FF3.0 to FF3.5 was fairly easy and that I was able to maintain support for FF3.0 without hassles. One thing that would be nice would be to be to either be able to maintain backwards support for FF3.x when we update to FF4.0 without having to maintain two code sets within our theme file or to be able to have an option on the AMO site that specifies the version of our theme/extension that is to be delivered to users of older Firefox versions. This would significantly smooth the transitions between versions.

Even if Firefox itself delivers different looking themes with the different OS versions, it would be really nice if there was much more uniformity for the basic theme coding. For instance it would be nice if Windows and Mac OS versions of Firefox could accept identical CSS instructions to get OS Native scrollbars (something they can't do currently). It would greatly increase the pool of themes for any given OS if themes didn't need so much OS specific testing and development. I think it is safe to say that most add-on developers do not have Mac, Windows AND Linux boxes all at their disposal for add-on testing.

As others said, thank you for clarifying that the mockups were just experiments and not actual road maps.
Ken Barbalace - AMO Editor (I focus on reviewing themes)
I maintain Classic Compact, a very compact yet clean Firefox theme.
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Euchre

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Post Posted July 21st, 2009, 3:23 am

faaborg wrote:I just want to note that these are all just ideas and explorations, and may not be at all representative of the actual theme changes we end up going with in future releases. Since we do everything in the open, it is pretty easy to assume that a high fidelity mockup, wire frame, or even bullet list of ideas is a very formal plan. But in reality we are just exploring things that we could potentially do, seeing what they look like, and getting ready to circulate this stuff to a wider audience to get very early feedback on various potential ideas and directions.

The very talented Stephen Horlander (of winstripe and the 3/3.5 OS X theme fame) is now working full time as a visual designer on the Firefox themes, so this will give us a lot more bandwidth to explore ideas and refine our themes on all of the platforms.

Thanks for the reassurance that these changes are not set in stone as yet. I really do hope that if a change is chosen, it's a bit more novel than those suggested thus far.

As much as some poo-poo the idea of having a default theme that looks integrated to the platform it will be run on, I do believe that such an effort is a better basis for an aesthetically pleasing UI in any case. Those that are most concerned about a very unique appearance will probably modify their OS UI as well, so the default theme becomes moot anyway. Firefox 2 on the Mac looked horribly out of place, but Firefox 3 looks perfectly at home - please pass my thanks to Mr. Horlander for that.
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WattsvilleBlues

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 6:42 am

Bit confused here - the mockup page has the picture of 3.7 using Aero glass transparency, and then this page says it's version 4 that is intended to make use of Aero glass. Any suggestions on what's what?
I think they're more interested in my epididymis

KLB

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 10:14 am

WattsvilleBlues wrote:Bit confused here - the mockup page has the picture of 3.7 using Aero glass transparency, and then this page says it's version 4 that is intended to make use of Aero glass. Any suggestions on what's what?


Let's hope that vision is dead in the water. Somethings just shouldn't be merged (e.g. address and search boxes). ](*,)

Oh and don't mess with my menu bar. [-X
Ken Barbalace - AMO Editor (I focus on reviewing themes)
I maintain Classic Compact, a very compact yet clean Firefox theme.
EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Periodic Table)

WattsvilleBlues

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 11:07 am

I agree, the search and location bars shouldn't be merged - every single time I've seen a browser do this it fails to replicate the flexibility and ease of use of having a dedicated search bar. Menu bar - I need it enabled at the minute because I often access the Tools menu several times a day, but having it as an icon I'm fine with.
I think they're more interested in my epididymis

ehume

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 11:08 am

KLB wrote:Somethings just shouldn't be merged (e.g. address and search boxes).


So true. It's so annoying in Chrome not to be able to choose a search provider quickly. In fact, it's so annoying that I have to go back to using Firefox, even though Firefox is very slow at our house and seems to hang while loading various pages.

We basically use Chrome for everything but search now. If Firefox merges the two boxes, there will be no reason to use Firefox at all . . . unless someone makes an extension that puts the searchbar back.
Firefox: Sic transit gloria mundi.

Euchre

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 11:24 am

I think you'll find that not everyone agrees about this. I am more inclined to want SeaMonkey to add some of the functionality suggested in the Firefox 4 mockup, like the ability to swap search engines. If you take the button on the left of the search bar and attach it to the right of the location bar (pretty much as one concept for the future of Firefox has suggested) and have a way to easily invoke searches instead of URL completion, then that'd do it for me. However as I say, I think this is something SeaMonkey should adopt, as it fits with the 'all in one, cleaner and simpler' way it follows.

I know that previous attempts to integrate full featured search into the URL bar have failed. I remember dealing with Opera's method of using a key letter followed by your keyword (e.g. "g keyword" would search Google for "keyword"), and found that completely awkward. Some proposals for Firefox follow this, which I hope isn't the direction they intend to go.
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DonGato

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 11:36 am

Merging search and location bar will be my goodbye to Firefox as they are two different usage paradigms for me and I believe for many more out there. I don't have (a great) problem with the menu being condensed in an icon like IE/Chrome but if well done. The home icon should have been gone long ago.

patheticcockroach
 
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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 2:12 pm

The UI is perfect as it is. The ONLY improvement I could see about it would be to make it totally (and easily) customizable. And to stop breaking themes from a version to another.
The new features I want for the moment? Well, simply better performance, better performance and better performance. You claimed 3.5 is faster, I'm sorry but it's still slow as hell. That's the reason why I'm on Minefield despite all the issues it generates with my extensions.
If you want to compete with Chrome (even though IMO Firefox is far better because of all the extensions - NB please stop breaking them too from a version to another), performance is the thing you need to improve. Moving the tabs to a stupid place, mixing the URL and the search bar (a feature design for computer-disabled persons), or removing the menu bar is secondary $#!t that, if imposed instead of made optional, will drive many long-timers crazy (see, I even registered on the forums just to complain about all those stupid UI ideas, while I've been around since 1.5, and using Fx since a bit before 1.0).

ehume

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 3:12 pm

DonGato wrote:The home icon should have been gone long ago.

This means that you don't use the Home button for a useful location. I always use it for my favorite news site. My wife does too. When we are deep into something and want to check the latest news, a middle-click to the Home button brings up a new tab with all the right stuff. A good alternative would be your gmail inbox, which is another site you might dip into frequently.

Not all of us like to keep zillions of tabs open.

Speaking of tabs, I can understand tabs on the top when your browser is operating as separate instances. However, Firefox is not that kind of girl . . .
Firefox: Sic transit gloria mundi.

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 3:15 pm

The UI is perfect as it is.

Nothing is perfect and everything can be improved :D
And to stop breaking themes from a version to another

This will never happens, but you can already use Personas for "light weight" themes and these will not break from a version to another. Personas will be as well integrated in one of the next Firefox versions.
extensions - NB please stop breaking them too from a version to another

This will never happens, but you can already use Jetpack for "light weight" extensions and these will not break from a version to another. Jetpack will be as well integrated in one of the next Firefox versions.
but it's still slow as hell

you use a browser, which is for you slow as hell .. hard to belief
better performance, better performance and better performance.

Every new version was until now faster and then again faster .. and once again faster ..
.. will drive many long-timers crazy

And when they do nothing, will Firefox looks and works sooner or later antiquated .. and Firefox will drive only a few long-timers crazy .. the majority will use then another browser :mrgreen:
I even registered on the forums just to complain about all those stupid UI ideas

They are not stupid, but likely as well not the best ideas :-k and your (these) conservative thinking is not very helpful to find the pick of the bunch :D

DonGato

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Post Posted July 24th, 2009, 3:22 pm

ehume wrote:This means that you don't use the Home button for a useful location. I always use it for my favorite news site. My wife does too. When we are deep into something and want to check the latest news, a middle-click to the Home button brings up a new tab with all the right stuff. A good alternative would be your gmail inbox, which is another site you might dip into frequently.

One single page? No, I don't find that useful at all but I suppose you can have it as an extension. For a better feature regarding that you can have the bookmarks button that was rumored before and having the main ones in the quick access.

And I agree with patheticcockroach that they should focus on performance, stability and bug fixing for a while. Many friends of mine are considering moving to Chrome because of that, not because its interface that they don't like much but for performance and stability.

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