Chapter 9. Firefox design-challenge results

Nikolay (unDEFER) Krivchenkov


Unfortunately the design for Firefox from unDE has not been recognised by the winner in one of 4 nominations of Mozilla Labs challenge. unDE entry has been estimated jury with mean scores in all classes.

In this article I want to comment on works of winners. After all, if it really better than our design it would be silly not to use these ideas in our project.

Work-winner in class "innovation" -- TabViz noted first of all as already implemented idea in created extension for Firefox.

Founders suggest to add an icon to the lower left corner that toggles a visualization of tabs when clicked. The visualization shows the hierarchy of opened tabs, i.e. which tab opened which other tabs, in a radial layout.

Innovation of such decision it is difficult to overestimate and consequently in the class this work undoubtedly best. Advantages of such visualisation of a tree is that in process of increase radius the length of a circle increases that very opportunely -- because in process of deepening in a tree, tabs quantity on deepest levels also increases.

However a shortcoming -- elements of web pages projected on radial segments can strongly suffer in recognition.

Similar visualisation of trees in unDE is possible, but is sooner as an option.

The winner in class "Execution" -- "Collapsible Tab Groups" assumes to use single-level tab groups. Tabs sets up vertically. Such decision really allows to place on the screen more tabs, however unDE avoids moving tabs in the vertical panel. Vertical panels will be used in unDE for display of trees, as shown in the unDE concept for Firefox. Horizontal tabs will be placed in the top of the screen that will allow to expand their functional area when choose tabs with mouse. In a similar way menus of applications in Mac OS are placed upward. So access time to items of Mac OS menu decreases almost in 2 times.

Besides it in the concept of collapsible tab groups, authors have shown action of incremental search on tabs. In one of articles we already marked utility of incremental search implementation. As tabs in unDE will be as a matter of fact the same files, its search will be implemented also as files search.

One more undoubtedly useful idea of the considered concept is highlight of changed pages.

A class "interaction" was won by "wave concept". The concept video is quite dragged. Thus remains not clear how it suppose to operate a considerable quantity of tabs. In the concept there is used miniatures instead of tabs. Actually the complete negation of text description conducts to impossibility to distinguish tabs with pages with very similar visual design.

So most likely unDE will take out nothing from this concept for itself.

The winner in class "Producible" -- the concept "favitabs" assumes full refusal of text description of tabs, using only icons displayed now on tabs at the left. Opening at such interface of set of pages of one resource can lead to a full disorientation of the user.

Single-level tab groups with simple and obvious methods to add new groups concerns advantage of this concept.

However, the zest of this concept - set of ways of tabs sorting by last visited, time spent, a rating. But as it has been told in "Intellectual means unpredictable" article such kind of "intellectual" sortings are absolutely unpredictable. It means that actually similar diagrammes can be interesting only like statistics. The user can find tab most easy, when he has put it himself.

People have given most of all voices for CubeZilla. concept. We will leave without comments it, people obviously have voted by one's heart, not one's head.

Challenge from Mozilla Labs has given us good possibility to implement some unDE ideas at least in video. The main lesson for us -- that movies similar to one that has been presented on challenge is quite not clear. However, it is enough some oral comments that the actions on the screen became much clearer.

As to unDE concept estimations as a whole ideas shown in a video have appeared torn off from bulk of ideas of whole DE. So also estimations have turned out "partial".

The unDE team in the future, for certain, will present to community more videos. And, of course, this experience allow to considerably raise their quality. Logo