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IE UI Designer On His Switch To FireFox

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the abandoning-your-own-child dept.

Mozilla 728

wellington writes "Scott Berkun (who worked on UI design for Internet Explorer 1.0 thru 5.0) talked about why he switched to Firefox. In addition to five reasons why he switched, Scott also detailed five UI flaws in Firefox."

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oh pshhhh (1)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567651)

booo microsoft!!!!!!

Toasted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567653)

No comments and he is toast

Re:Toasted, with Cream Cheese (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567842)

This doesn't imply that there's such a vast bulk of Slashdotters that they overwhelmed him - I'd bet a dozen users simultaneously going to his site crashed it. It appears that he's running a database driven instance of Wordpress, so of course it's all being generated from the db for every request (I don't use or know much about Wordpress - does it even do caching?). I chose a blog package specifically because it allowed me to generate entirely static content, avoiding endlessly, and redundantly, rebuilding the same page.

UI suggestion (2, Insightful)

dsginter (104154) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567654)

It'd be great if Firefox would close the current tab when the 'X' in the upper right of the program windows was pressed. Or at least, if this was optional. Most people, including myself, always want to close the current window and have the habbit of cramming the mouse into the upper right and clicking in order to accomplish this.

I stopped using tabbed browsing for this reason. I'd just like to be able to close the current window with that 'X'.

Nit picking - I know...

Re:UI suggestion (1, Informative)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567685)

There is already an X in the tab bar (look at the right side) that will let you close the current tab.

Re:UI suggestion (1, Insightful)

Flying Purple Wombat (787087) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567835)

Yeabut...my habit (and presumably the OP's habit) is to click on the X in the top right corner of the window. I know the X is there in the tab bar, but I don't always go for it first.

Shouldn't be difficult to make the action of the main window X configurable to do one of the following:
1. Always close the current tab.
2. Always close the window (implies close all tabs).
3. Ask what to do - close current tab, close all, cancel.

I wonder if a plug-in can do that?

Yeah, I know it's open source and I can change it myself, but I'm not going to, because I'm lazy and it's not real high on my priority list.

Re:UI suggestion (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567924)

By default, when you have multiple tabs open, it asks you if you'd like to continue and close all tabs. If you checked the "don't ask me again" box, then it would close automatically. I'm not sure how to turn that back on; it may be in the options, it may be in about:config

Re:UI suggestion (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567940)

Uh no. That "X" is supposed to exit the program. You need to change you habit.

Re:UI suggestion (2, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567689)

I'll see your window closing issue, and raise you by a can't-reorder-the-tabs. So close, but so far, on that one. Be interesting to see if MS's tabbed behavior addresses that.

Re:UI suggestion (5, Informative)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567706)

You can re-order tabs in Firefox 1.5b1. It's really nice! I haven't experienced a single crash yet either, check it out.

Re:UI suggestion (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567716)

The tabs in Visual Studio can be reordered. So, maybe they'll do it.

Re:UI suggestion (1)

at_18 (224304) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567736)

Firefox 1.5 has drag and drop tab reordering. And even in the current version there's a red X at the right side of the tab bar to close the current tab.

Re:UI suggestion (3, Informative)

frooddude (148993) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567772)

I can reorder the tabs in Firefox 1.0.6... All it requires is an extension... Now to figure out which one does it for me...

http://www.extensionsmirror.nl/index.php?showtopic =161 [extensionsmirror.nl] MiniT+ that's the ticket.

Re:UI suggestion (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567855)

There are already many extensions (TabMix, Reorder Tabs, Tabbrowser Preferences, Tabbrowser Extension) that allow you to reorder your tabs via drag&drop, and native support for this feature has been built in 1.5.

Re:UI suggestion (1)

y0bhgu0d (168149) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567983)

in 1.5 beta 1 you can reorder tabs.

Re:UI suggestion (4, Insightful)

wtmcgee (113309) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567699)

If that wouldn't confuse the user, nothing would. While that may work for you, it's not standard for other apps on any OS. I think the current option (the 1 close option on the far right), or installing an extension that puts a close tab button on each tab are the best options, as they follow most widely accepted paradigms.

Re:UI suggestion (2, Informative)

martoQ (572166) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567722)

If your going to use your mouse to move it to the X box in the first place then you might as well add one of the Mouse Gesture extensions. I found that mouse gestures GREATLY enhance my browsing efficiency. http://tinyurl.com/74zdu [tinyurl.com] Shortcut to one such extension.

Re:UI suggestion (2, Interesting)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567739)

Ctrl+w closes the current tab or, if no tabs are open, closes the current window, which is not quite but very close to the behaviour that you are asking for.

Re:UI suggestion (4, Informative)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567741)

I've personally found middle-clicking to be the way to go. Takes a day or two of getting used to, but it's a very handy feature. Middle-click a link to open in a new tab. Middle-click a tab to close it. Plus it works in Opera and half works in Safari (it only opens new tabs - thankfully each tab has a close button in Safari).

Re:UI suggestion (4, Informative)

bbrack (842686) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567767)

use mouse gestures - only closes the active tab...

The best extension I've used on mozilla/firefox/opera, and the main reason I switched

http://optimoz.mozdev.org/gestures [mozdev.org]

Re:UI suggestion (1)

mobets (101759) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567770)

Doesn't it prompt you that you have multiple tabs? If not, turn the feature back on or get a current version. But you are right, it would be neat if there was a something you could change in about:config that would do what you are asking.

Other OSes (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567771)

So in your opinion, this behavior should be Windows only or appliable to all OSes?

Re:UI suggestion (2, Informative)

xero314 (722674) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567792)

Please step away from the Mouse. Learn some of the key board commands, they will save you alot of time and effort. CTRL-W (or Command-W for us Mac Users) will close the current tab. Now if only the Firefox developers would implement CTRL-Q (I'm so used too Command-Q) to quit the application.

Re:UI suggestion (2, Interesting)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567807)

Actually, what I like alot is the way Opera handles this. They put the 'X' on the tab itself. IMHO, it makes for less mouse movement and just seems easier when closing a tab.

my 2 cents...

There is a little X (1)

Stone316 (629009) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567827)

If your browsing multiple tabs a white x appears in a red block close to the top right hand corner.. That closes the current tab. I didn't see it right away either and I just switched to firefox a couple of weeks ago.

An Even Easier Way (1)

8086ed (876715) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567865)

Middle click on the tab you want to close. Done.

Re:UI suggestion (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567904)

Use Opera. The close tab button is right under the main close window (since its MDI), and if you accidently click the main "X", opera has a confirmation dialog asking if you want to exit.

I've never accidently closed Opera because of this feature, i love it and its one of the main reasons opera is my primary browser (tabs being the other, they work better than FF, and the CTRL+SHIFT+CLICK/Open in background tab feature is required for me)

Re:UI suggestion (1)

sbrown123 (229895) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567931)

Better than that would be to put the "X" button on the tab itself. If you use Eclipse, or even Azureuz, it has this feature on the tabs. Ofcourse, this leads to another problem: those "X" buttons would make the tabs wider and thus make it harder to get multiple tabs within view.

Still, those "X" buttons would be nice on the tabs for those of us who only have a handful up at a time.

A UI feature from Lotus Notes I actually like! (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567964)

Each tab has its own "X" to close it.

Sometimes the content of a tab get stale, perhaps simply because I've lost interest in it. Today Firefox closes the current tab. So if I've decided based on the title that a tab is stale, I've still got to make it current, and then I can close it. With individual "X"s I can close by-title and don't have to redraw first.

Of course this is a 2-edged sword, because by the time too many tabs are open, especially with a little "X" on each one, the titles are shortened to the point of useless. (Heck, sometimes that happens even without the "X".) Maybe in this case the UI could drop back to the one "X" of today, since you need to see windows before closing them.

Along that line, when it gets that cluttered, sometimes I'd like a "Close every tab except the current one." button.

ALL SOFTWARE IS GAY (-1, Troll)

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Sheesh (0, Offtopic)

Clinton (798067) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567656)

Not one post, and the site is already very slow!

Re:Sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567761)

Not one post, and the site is already very slow!
 
Slashdot isn't the first community news site to report this. This has already made it's rounds on the internet.

UI Flaw #6 (5, Funny)

GreggyBUIUC (262370) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567661)

It doesn't come packaged with XP

/.'ed before event a post (0, Redundant)

Stone316 (629009) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567662)

gah

Even MicroSoft employees... (-1, Troll)

Badflash (812406) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567666)

hate Micro$oft products?

Firefox search box (3, Insightful)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567668)

I completely agree with the issue of the search box being at the bottom of the screen. I work on a 21" monitor, and it drives me nuts looking down, then on the page, back and forth.

Re:Firefox search box (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567778)

I always activate the search by hitting "/" and then typing the words I am searching for. When using it in this manner, I feel the unobtrusive box at the bottom is most appropriate for this operation.

You could argue that when you hit "Edit->Find on this page" should open a dialog box. But I feel the operation for the "/" shortcut is perfect...and it would certainly add confusion if you had search dialogs appear differently depending on how they are invoked.

Maybe you'll like Retrofind? (5, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567857)

> I completely agree with the issue of the search box being at the bottom of the screen. I work on a 21" monitor, and it drives me nuts looking down, then on the page, back and forth.

I'll go one step further - first, the search box doesn't belong on the bottom, but secondly - find-as-you-type itself should be a user-disablable option.

In the meantime, I use Retrofind [onlinehome.us] as my solution to the problem. Retrofind is a Firefox extension that replaces FAYT with the old-school semi-modal dialog box.

If I'm 37 PgDn keypresses into a long SlashFark thread, and I see that someone's replying to user "foobar", and I want to find the original comment, I do not want to see the browser window jump up to 32-PgDns (landing on "foo", "fool" or "foosball") when I type "foo", only to land on the 28-PgDn level of "foobar"'s post.

Why not? Because it's bloody hard to remember that I'm 37 PgDn keypresses (or 37% of the way through the scrollbar, etc) into the thread when I just wanted to "Find 'foobar'". If "foobar" doesn't exist (maybe it was a typo, maybe it was beneath my moderation threshold), but "foo", "fool", or "foosball" does, I've now completely lost track of where I was in the thread. I want to navigate if, and only if, the string exists - and I want to do it when, and only when, my eyeballs and brain are expecting it.

Those are the most egregious examples, but the more I tried to use find-as-you-type, the more I decided it wasn't for me. In comparison to the old find-in-page dialog, FAYT felt the web browsing equivalent of auto-focus-stealing, auto-raising windows on the desktop. FAYT is not a bug, but at least for me, it's a misfeature.

I'm curious - am I alone in this opinion?

Re:Maybe you'll like Retrofind? (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567927)

I'm curious - am I alone in this opinion?

About FAYT, I won't stand by your side, this is one of the features I love most in Firefox. Even though it sometimes get unstable (and steals edit box focus) it makes mouseless browsing much easier, and fast-finding a blast (FAYT + F3/SHIFT+F3 for next/prev).

Re:Firefox search box (4, Informative)

sixteenraisins (67316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567944)

I guess this is a case of "to each his own." I love the search box - and indeed, the whole dialog - at the bottom of the window. I never liked the "popup" dialog for finding text in IE, so a docked bar works better for me.

The issue of bottom versus top is a little more nitpicky for me. In my mind, if the search dialog were to spontaneously appear at the top of the window, then one of two things would happen: (1) the HTML text/image/whatever at the top of the window would suddenly become hidden, which I would find distracting, or (2) all the HTML text/images/whatever would suddenly bump down a few lines to accommodate the appearance of the search bar, which would also distract me.

Since I (and presumably most other users) typically read a web page from top to bottom, scrolling down as necessary, the search bar appearing at the bottom of the window only covers up things I haven't yet read, so it's not cumbersome.

I work on dual 18" screens, and I almost never maximize a browser window to fullscreen - I prefer to work in a window roughly 1024x768, so glancing down doesn't pose a problem for me.

But like I said, to each his own (:

Wonder if... (1, Interesting)

ericdano (113424) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567670)

Wonder if, secretly, Bill Gates runs Firefox.....and his "engineers" are buying copying, I mean, Innovating for the next version of Internet Explorer.

Re:Wonder if... (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567810)

Wonder if, secretly, Bill Gates runs Firefox

Maybe. There's quite a bit of evidence to suggest that he "secretly" runs a Mac, so why not FireFox?

and his "engineers" are buying copying, I mean, Innovating for the next version of Internet Explorer.

Doubtful. If you check out most of their work over at Channel 9, they're being quite arrogant about IE 7. They don't seem to want to be influenced by FireFox at all, and they seem to think that standards compliance should take a back seat to making IE "cooler".

That being said, there is one thing that everyone should keep in mind about IE 5.0. When it was released, IE 5 was the best browser in existance, bar none. It was light, it was fast, it was simple, it was straightforward, and it had real features that helped people. (Such as the ability to save passwords.) Microsoft never properly thanked SpyGlass for their browser technology, but Microsoft *did* take the browser experience to a whole new level.

It wasn't until Mozilla reached somewhere around the 0.8 version that any browser even tried to compete. Even Opera was kind of pathetic in comparison. By the time Mozilla hit 1.0 (and Opera finally got the lead out), IE had held the market for several years. It's only thanks to Microsoft's intentional attempts to sit still that Mozilla, Opera, and now Safari had a chance to play catch up.

Re:Wonder if... (2, Interesting)

masklinn (823351) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567981)

Doubtful. If you check out most of their work over at Channel 9, they're being quite arrogant about IE 7. They don't seem to want to be influenced by FireFox at all, and they seem to think that standards compliance should take a back seat to making IE "cooler".

This is wrong.

On so many levels it hurts.

While this was clearly the feeling one got when IE7 was announced, the IEblog posts have become much more humane (as if some upper exec had let the IEteam managed themselves instead of keeping them on a short leash), and there are quite a few posts on standards, the work the team does, asking for feedback and such.

They're proud of their work, of course they are, but I clearly don't see them as "arrogant", and while it looks like the standards were supposed to take the backseat, I guess that the community's backlash to the IEteam and the fact that other MS teams (the VS2005 one for example) started to work hand in hand with WASP made them fact-check and mend their copy.

I now say that I'm looking forward to IE7b2, because it may actually be a quite nice browser to web devs (won't make me get IE back as main browser, but well if I can stop wanting to claw my eyes out every time I check my pages in MSIE it's good enough for me).

FROSTA PISTA (0, Offtopic)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567672)

YAHARRR

Before the first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567673)

The article has already been taken down by the /. effect.

Zero comments, slashdotted (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567675)

Isn't it about time that any link that is included in an article is coralized first? Makes the site admins happy, makes the readers happy.

But wait, that might require effort, or even a very small perl script...

five (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567681)

Five IE versions... five UI flaws in firefox... and slashdotted in five seconds. I'm off to buy a lottery ticket or five.

Mirrordot (1, Redundant)

jolar (905312) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567684)

Site's not loading for me, so here's the mirrordot link:

http://mirrordot.org/stories/5f281d8294a2f11becb28 7b476c6bb6b/index.html [mirrordot.org]

Re:Mirrordot (1)

jolar (905312) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567713)

I've been beaten to it. Twice! Mod me redundant :(

Well here's the coral cache link then:

http://www.scottberkun.com.nyud.net:8090/blog/?p=1 15 [nyud.net]

Mod you a Karma Whoring Slut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567793)

Don't moderate sluts, please.

Mirrordot [mirrordot.org]

Coral Cache [nyud.net]

IEUI! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567687)

Wow, someone actually "designed" the IE UI, I figured it was like the Hugo, it just is what it is.

May the best software win. (4, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567690)

Indeed, we are seeing the benefits of true competition in the browser market. People have a better product to choose from, and existing manufacturers are forced to innovate.

Just when people thought that the desktop computing environment had started to stagnate, we're seeing many new developments recently. Most of the developments have been the result of competition from Mac OS X, the Mozilla Project, Linux, and other open-source software.

It's good to know that open source software has the ability to affect a misbehaving economy in such a fashion. But then again, perhaps it's just the system working as it should: there's a demand for new software, and that demand is being met by the open source community.

Re:May the best software win. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567859)

Fuck "winning". May all useful software prosper in some fashion. Having a diverse software ecosystem is a precondition to and in of itself more important than a single bout of competition. This isn't an absolute fight to the death; stop treating it as such.

Re:May the best software win. (2, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567919)

There is never an absolute "win" in the software market. The "winner" at any particular time will be the piece of software with the widest acceptance. Of course, that may change over the course of time, and most likely will. But it is better to see a piece of software "win" based on its quality (ie. the "best" software), rather than "winning" due to anticompetitive business practices.

My favorite reason (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowdog (154277) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567701)

Stories like this always leave out my favorite Firefox feature. It's such a small, easy feature to implement, but it has such a great impact:

Easy font resizing. Ctrl-plus to make fonts bigger on any web site.

Whenever I show this feature to somone over 40, it immediately sells them on Firefox.

Sure, it's possible in IE too, but not for every site. Some sites are coded in such a way that text resizing doesn't work in IE. But in Firefox it always does work for any text.

Ctrl+Mouse wheel scroll (4, Informative)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567734)

I like it better.

Re:My favorite reason (2, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567738)

Just FYI, it also works in Safari(and probably Konquerer as well), so it's not unique to Firefox...

Re:My favorite reason (-1, Troll)

anonicon (215837) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567779)

"Just FYI, it also works in Safari"

I take it you're one of the 10 people to own a Mac?

>;-)

Re:My favorite reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567861)

Apple has a ~30% home computer market share. That's a lot more than 10 people.

Re:My favorite reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567862)

It's 9 now. Bob died last week, so there's only 9 of us.

Re:My favorite reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567898)

Bwuahahaha! That was soooooo funny... Funniest. Joke. Ever.

Re:My favorite reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567786)

Ctrl+Mousewheel works in firefox and has in IE for years.

Re:My favorite reason (1)

Norfair (845108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567800)

Just FYI #2, holding Ctrl and moving the mousewheel up/down (if you have one) also works.

Who' (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567871)

That is indeed a handy feature. But I hate memorizing keyboard shortcuts -- this is a GUI! Fortunately, there's an extension [mozdev.org] that defines toolbar buttons for this feature. Still, there should be toolbar buttons for all the features.

Ex

Re:My favorite reason (4, Interesting)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567916)

Sure, [font resizing is] possible in IE too, but not for every site.

I'm not quite over 40 yet, but I do use Linux, where font sizes are not rendered at 150%+ their correct size. Windows-designed web pages often have teeny tiny fonts that strain my eyes. Mac users know what I'm talking about too. So font resizing is a must-have feature for me.

Anyway, from my own testing, it seems that whenever a stylesheet specifies a font size, IE will always render the font at that size, no matter what you tell it to do. Want bigger fonts? Too bad, the stylesheet says 11px, so 11px is what you're going to get. Meh.

One better: the Zoom feature in Opera (2, Informative)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567920)

zooms everything (pictures...) and doesn't screw up the laytout.

That's ctrl + mousewheel

Re:My favorite reason (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567938)

That is indeed a handy feature. But I hate memorizing keyboard shortcuts -- this is a GUI! Fortunately, there's an extension [mozdev.org] that defines toolbar buttons for this feature. Still, there should be toolbar buttons for all the features.

Extensions are both the best and worst feature of Firefox. Best, because dozens of people have provided simple tweaks and useful features in the form of easily-installable extensions. Worst, because a badly-written extension can ruin your whole day.

Use mirrordot.org (0, Redundant)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567704)

Mirror [mirrordot.org]

Gah! Two its/it's errors in his first point.

Also... the reply from Asa (from Mozilla). (5, Informative)

MTO_B. (814477) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567715)

You should read Asa [wikipedia.org] 's reply to this article.
Read it here [mozillazine.org] .

It's very interesting. :-)

Article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567720)

Why I switched to Firefox

It's a sad day and a good day. For years I've held onto my IE install out of love. I worked on IE 1.0 thru 5.0, and was one of the people that designed much of its UI. But my love for the past has faded. Last week I switched to Firefox: and I've been happy.

Why I switched:

      1. IE is a ghetto. There are specs I wrote for UI features in 1998 that are unchanged today, 7 years later, in a world where browser usage has changed dramatically. I've watched bugs that I fought to have fixed in 5.0 become regressions, appearing in 5.01 and surviving in 6.0. Even though it's the product I was proudest of, using it now makes me sad - it's been left behind. I do read the IE blog now and again - smart folks are working - but there's nothing for me to install.
      2. Bookmarks work. The Favorites UI model in IE is the same one we built in 1997, when we knew most of our users had 20-40 favorites. It was made to be super simple and consumer friendly as most of the population was still new to the net. This UI is effectively broken today, designed for people that don't exist. The Favorites menu and Favorites bar show links in different orders, the organize favorites dialog is just weird, multiselect doesn't work: favorites is a sad forgotten place. This was by far my greatest frustration with IE, even though I'm responsible for much of the original design.
      3. Firefox has quality & polish. IE 5.0, for its time (1999), was a high quality release. Really, it was. Joe Peterson, Hadi Partovi and Chris Jones fought hard to give the team time to do lots of fit and finish work. We did fewer features and focused hard on quality and refinement. Firefox feels to me like what IE 6.0 should have been (or what i expected it to be after I left the team in '99). It picked a few spots to build new features (tabs), focused on quality and refinement, and paid attention to making the things used most, work best. The core UI design is very similiar to IE5: History/Favorites bars, progress UI, toolbars, but its all smooth, reliable and clean.
      4. They made a mainstream product. One of the big challenges in designing software is balancing the requests of earlier adopters in the community, with the needs of the majority of more mainstream users. After playing with mozilla on and off I was afraid firefox would be a built for programmers by programmers type experience. It's not. I don't know who in the firefox org was the gatekeeper on features and UI, but I'd like to meet him/her/them (seriously). They did a great job of keeping the user experience focused on the core tasks. If you're reading please say hi.
      5. Security isn't annoying. . The press makes security into such a huge deal, but I'll be honest. I don't want to think about security at all. I'll do what I need to, but mostly I want the system to take care of it and stay out my face. Nothing in FF makes me feel safer explicitly, I just don't deal with as many warnings, settings and other details. I know from the PR that security in FF is better (even if only because it's less targeted by spyware, etc.) but I'm pleased that the product doesn't remind me of how safe I am all the time.

Problems with Firefox:

I'm a UI design guy, so many of these are UI related. (Added note: I'd used FF on and off, but since I'm now 100% some of these are complaints might fade in a month of usage. Stay tuned).

      1. Find UI. Why does the find dialog appear at the bottom of the screen? I agree that a dialog box (semi-modal) can be a mistake if you're doing multiple searches, but flipping a coin for placement (top vs. bottom), the top is a better choice for any UI, especially if it's going to look and act like a toolbar. I can't move it so it earns a spot on this list. However, the overall implementation isn't circa 1992 like the IE one. It highlights, it searches on type, & it warns on unfound items - nice..Firefox find
      2. Download UI. Here's a case where modeless makes sense (it's never my primary user task), but here we get a dialog box. My first crack at this would be a one line toolbar, much like the find bar, at the bottom of the screen telling me about downloads. That's where all the other dl status info goes. Again, despite my nits, it's an improvement on the ancient IE implementation (which we all hated forever too).
      3. Tabs and new windows. Firefox goes against IE behavior and starts each browser instance from scratch. IE intentionally brings the browser history into the new window: the bet being that users who want to continue from where they left off can, and those that want to go their home page can do that with one click. Everytime I hit Cntr-T and see a blank screen I think I'm in Word. I use tabs less often than I expected: opening new windows is often more comfortable - easier to track which window lives where. With multiple tabs (I find) the back/forward behavior becomes complex and hard to predict. Strict UI logic would put the tab UI above the toolbars, not below, but that creates other problems.
            Firefox tabs
      4. Tabs and modality. The desired illusion of tabs should be to make each tab a virtual browser. Well this breaks when you bring up a modal dialog within a tab: you can't switch to another tab. It's an annoyance, not a sin, but when it happens it reinforces my new window habit, and slaps my wrist on my growing New tab habit.
      5. The return of the go menu. It was with great pride that we killed the go menu in IE 5.0. It was the stupidest menu I'd ever seen, since it was never used and no one knew what it did. For accessibility it was necessary, but had no rights to be a top level menu (IE has View.Go). The Go menu was probably inherited from NSCP/mozilla, but it really should be put out to pasture. And if it stays, someone needs to explain why it shows a different history list than the one in the back button drop down.

Digg.com (1, Troll)

Hergio (870237) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567727)

This story has been on DIGG.COM [digg.com] for the past day and a half. The link is here. [digg.com] You gotta try Digg.com out. Seriously, I love my Slashdot, but the stories on digg are fresher, faster, and the users pick what gets on the site.

Re:Digg.com (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567838)

Slashdot's story about cats being used as car fuel was on Fark for ages, too. Slashdot has gone so far downhill in the past three years, it is staggering.

Re:Digg.com (1)

Lester67 (218549) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567939)

Well, I paid them a visit and saw this....

"A DIY Cruise Missile
  submitted by Blangy 1 day 1 hour ago (via http://www.interestingprojects.../ [www.intere...rojects...]

This guy decided to prove that you can easily build your own cruise missile with a budget of US$5,000. Check out what happened to this guy once he completed the project....."

So I visited the guys website, where his FAQ mentions a 2003 Slashdotting... and the last update was July of 2004.

Yeah. digg.com is really tearing /. a new one on timeliness...

Borked (2, Funny)

Turbo6715 (882765) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567733)

I do love that at least my copy of Firefox completely destroyed the design of his web page. Either that or it's just really ugly, but what did I expect from an IE designer?

Re:Borked (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567874)

I do love that at least my copy of Firefox completely destroyed the design of his web page. Either that or it's just really ugly, but what did I expect from an IE designer?

Stop sounding like an idiot. The site worked fine last nite, he disabled CSS becasue of the increase in the amount of traffic he is now getting.

Here's the reasons (For those who couldn't RTFM (1)

part_of_you (859291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567743)

1. IE is a ghetto
2. Bookmarks work
3. Firefox has quality & polish
4. They made a mainstream product
5. Security isnt annoying

This is just a glimps of the article, because I am a very lazy lazy man.

Issue 3 and 5, and maybe 2, easily resolved (1)

GozzoMan (808286) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567776)


Issue 3 "Tabs and new window" can be resolved by the Clone Window extension.
Issue 5 "The return of the go menu" can be resolved customizing the Navigation Toolbar (just a few clicks).
Don't exactly know about issue 2 "Download UI", but I imagine that some extension would do something similar.

Overall, the author doesn't seem to be familiar with the extension/customization possibilities of Firefox.

Re:Issue 3 and 5, and maybe 2, easily resolved (2, Insightful)

ColourlessGreenIdeas (711076) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567868)

The Download Statusbar extension resolves issue 2. I sue it and it works very well.

But we're falling into the classic Open-Source problem...sure that's easy you just have to install this, configure that and whisgoplify your thawasthwuts and it'll work the way it should have done in the first place.

Firefox flaws fixable (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567782)

am I the only one that noticed that at least four of the five Firefox UI "flaws" can be fixed with extensions?
first flaw: Retro Find [extensionsmirror.nl]
second flaw: Download Statusbar [extensionsmirror.nl]
third flaw: Clone Window [extensionsmirror.nl]
fifth flaw: Menu Editor [extensionsmirror.nl]

Re:Firefox flaws fixable (2, Insightful)

TBone (5692) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567967)

The point isn't that the shortcomings can't be fixed - it's that they shouldn't be shortcomings in the first place.

Blank tabs rule (3, Insightful)

HisMother (413313) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567794)

I agree with most of what this guy has to say, except for the "blank tabs" thing. He wants new tabs to open with the home page, or last page visited, or something. But opening new tabs blank is exactly right. Whenever I explicitly open a new tab -- i.e., whenever I say "New Tab" rather than "Open in new Tab" -- the next thing I do is type into the URL box. IE's approach of having crap already in the URL box just adds steps. If you want a new tab with your home page, then make a new tab, then click "home."

Re:Blank tabs rule (4, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567980)

No, the 'right' thing to do is to let the user set prefs that allow a new tab to have home page, last page or a blank page. Let the user decide, not the app builders.

Firefox points (2, Interesting)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567796)

I agree with some of his points regarding Firefox.

The download box is annoying. It should be attached to the bottom in the same manner the find is. I prefer my find on the bottom (he wants it on top), but I agree you should be able to change it in a preference. And yes, the Go menu is pointless.

The tabs issue is tricky. I love my tabs. I think they are great. My one annoyance is that when there's a dialog you can't change tabs. The dialog should be attached per tab, not for the whole window. but maybe that's something within the toolkit that would need to be changed, not just firefox.

browser history in Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13567804)

His point number (3) is something I think is a real issue for sure. I don't think he even points out the most annoying part of it... "open in new tab" or "open in new window" does not create a new tab/window with browser history. In new tabs opened to a link on a previous page, I definitely want to be able to hit the back button. Especially since I often end up closing the parent tab at some later point.

Sweet error message in FF 1.5 beta (4, Insightful)

bad_outlook (868902) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567809)

If you're cool and running the 1.5 Beta of Firefox, you get an error page after clicking on the article link that looks like this:

  • The connection has timed out
    • The server at www.scottberkun.com is taking too long to respond.
    • The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few moments.
    • If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer's network connection.
    • If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.
    [Try again]
That's unbeatable...

That is one damn good post (3, Insightful)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567811)

RTFA this time - it's worth it. And get Ben, Asa, and crew to give him a call - not because they need help, but because I think he's honestly on the same wavelength as they are and a fresh perspective can be a good thing. The issues he raises, while relatively minor, are worth addressing.

Anything I type here won't add to it.

Go Menu (5, Interesting)

BAILOPAN (694545) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567831)

It's funny, after reading his write-up, I realized I'd never even seen Go menu before.

Sure enough, it's there, and I never knew it. That's probably a good hint that I don't need a "Go Menu," as it looks pretty useless.

I think he's right about "Find" as well. Although the bottom quick-find is very cool, there's no short-cut (or even this feature at all) for an advanced find dialogue.

It's also odd he mentioned that Firefox should retain the last URL when opening a new window - this is perhaps the IE feature I hate the most, with a passion. Often I'm simply viewing a large site and want to spawn a clean window (since there are no tabs) - it has to reload the whole thing over again.

I'm sure there are people here who automatically assume an IE developer has no place telling Firefox suggestions, but I think some of these are good.

Firefox UI (1)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567875)

He's got a point about the Go menu. It is pretty pointless. Does anybody actually use it? I would like to see it disappear for the next version of Firefox Beta Deer Park.

Summary of Complaints (0, Troll)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567885)

They read pretty lame and sound like the guy doesn't know how to use the browser. If you look at the carefully you can see they are entirely fluff.

IE is a ghetto. Well... I don't know what that means and he doesn't explain it. Bugs in IE? Like what?

Bookmarks Work. Here he rags on the favorites in IE. I don't undrstand - he says they are a sad, forgotten place - but I have mine organized and use them daily.

IE lacks quality and polish. This sounds just like the first complaint. FF is 'smooth, reliable, and clean?

FF is a mainstream product - and IE isn't?. I don't get that as a reason to switch from IE to FF.

Security isn't annoying. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. You realize that you can turn these security warnings off.

It's not a very well thoughtout piece overall.

Duped post? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567890)

I read his article yesterday when interiot [slashdot.org] quoted part of him in a post [slashdot.org] in relation to the article [slashdot.org] with the interview with Bill Gates.

Author on crack! (2, Interesting)

pugdk (697845) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567907)

"Everytime I hit Cntr-T and see a blank screen I think Im in Word."

WTF? I absolutely hate the fact that you duplicate a page in IE when you "open a new page", that's quite insane! If I open up a new page I want new content.. quite simple.

Also the fact that doing CTRL-T makes the cursor appear in the area you type the url is absolute magic... CTRL-T write name of webpage, enter, CTRL-T name of new page, enter, CTRL-T etc.

Thank you for that nice behaviour Firefox!

Typing in form field goes into search field... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567914)

I have a problem, both at home and at work, where sometimes when I type in a form field, it pops up the "search" bar at the bottom, and starts putting my typing in there. Not good if I am entering a password with a co-worker sat next to me. Anyone else have this problem? Is it a known bug?

I'd go too! (1, Flamebait)

Choachy (619161) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567922)

If I had to use IE v1-5, I'd switch too! IE was terrible at that time.

He makes some good points. (2, Insightful)

madstork2000 (143169) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567934)

I have to agree with the bottom browser placement of the find box, and the elimination of the "go" menu. I have NEVER scene anyone use that.

Though I disagree with his take on tabs. I love having a blank tab, because I often prefer typing a URL (or at leat the first few characters) to using the mouse for drop down in my bookmarks. Bookmarks work great if you only have a few, but I tend to bookmark interesting sites that I won't visit frequently, but I nevertheless find interesting.

I never book my frequent sites, my browsing goes like this: slas, cnn, coa, espn, nfl, never takes more than 4 characters to get to where I go most often. If I were to scroll through my bookmark list it takes considerably longer. So for my usage firefox work the best.

Though I would like a little button nextto the URL bar to instantly clear it like in Konq. That makes it much easier in Linux to copy and paste URLS. A pet peeve i have is selecting a URL with the mouse,and going to the browser to "midde click" paste and having the URL automatically become selected, thus wiping out the X windows clipboard. Yes I know I can usually use the seperate cntl-c / cntl-v but that requires switching from mouse to keyboard and back....

Oh well that is just my $0.02

-MS2k

Some of his points (2, Interesting)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567954)

only really make sense if you view Firefox as a browser for ex-IE users rather than an independant product on its own:

The search in page field at the bottom makes perfect sense to me for a couple reasons - first, the user very rarely cares WHERE it is located as they probably aren't clicking on it with the mouse, if you want to search for text in the page you type '/' and whatever the hell you want to search for. You have to have your hands on the keyboard to enter the text you are trying to find, so why the hell would you want to use the mouse anyway. Secondly, it is less frequently used than the address and web-search fields and therefore shouldn't clutter up the interface - that is also why it is usually hidden. For anyone used to VIM, nothing in the world would seem more logical. These are perfectly good design decisions, who cares if IE users have to adjust a bit? In fact, not *everyone* is even familiar with IE - I know I never had internet access when I ran windows 10 years ago, and I've probably only used IE maybe 10 or 12 times in all of that time. We need to quit viewing everything in the context of "what would Windows do?", and just write software that does its job well.

OT: Google Bar in FireFox (1)

CaptainPinko (753849) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567956)

Anyone else find that Google's Googlebar is not nearly as good as the mozdev one? Every time I change the otions it keeps forgetting them,

Not so many criticisms after all (2, Interesting)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 9 years ago | (#13567963)

I noticed that most of his "complaints" about Firefox UI weren't really complaints at all, they were additional reasons why Firefox beats IE. For example, he starts off sort-of-almost complaining about the Find bar but ends up saying how much better an implementation it is than using find in IE.

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