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How to Fix the User Interface Mistakes in Firefox 4

Posted by libhom Sunday, May 15, 2011

Have you upgraded your Firefox to version 4 and regretted it? Have you been stuck with a user interface as execrable and thoughtless as the terrible one in Google Chrome?

This excellent article shows how to fix the three biggest defects in the FF4 user interface: the tabs being too far from the content, the missing Status Bar (which is critical for many addons), and the missing menu bar (Mac users didn't get screwed over like PC users did on this one because every program has a menu tied into the way the OS is designed.)

This is not to say that Google Chrome is all bad. It has the best JavaScript engine of all the browsers, making the full featured version of Yahoo Mail run much faster. But, there's an axiom that every program designer should keep in mind.

Google is great at tech stuff under the hood, but Google knows absolutely nothing whatsoever about interface design.

In this case, Google started a bad trend in browser design by taking usability research that applies only to e-commerce sites that are visited seldom or occasionally as if that research was applicable to all software design. That research isn't even valid for web sites that are visited regularly by users or sites where users aren't performing simple, linear tasks.

If you are going to use a program or website regularly, you are going to want a variety of features readily available to you. You don't want to dig, and dig, and dig through convoluted menuing systems for something you do regularly.

It's comical that other browser developers are emulating Google's user interface, the one aspect of Chrome which is by far the most pathetic and mindless. The people at Mozilla should be focusing on improving their JavaScript speed rather than damaging their user interface.

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