A bit of bling

[Did I just use the word "bling"? I'm so, so, sorry.]

The Mozilla offices have been humming with activity this week, with the influx of folks arriving for the Firefox Summit. We’ve been having some fascinating discussions on a variety of topics and ideas for the future. On that note, a few weeks ago I wrote up some thoughts I had for an evolution of Firefox 2′s Live Titles (aka “microsummaries”), in the form of adding graphics to a traditionally text-based feature. [Wonder Twin powers activate.]

Here’s a mockup of what Graphical Microsummaries might look like:

UI mockup of how this feature might look

About Justin Dolske

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7 Responses to A bit of bling

  1. theo says:

    “Graphical microsummaries” is an extremely awkward term.

    Why not just call them by their actual name, “sparklines”?

    http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001OR&topic_id=1&topic=

  2. John says:

    That is cool:) A web based/desktop RSS solution is my kind of thing though:/ What’s the difference between this and embedded images in RSS besides being ‘micro’? Who would be able to take advantage of this besides browsers, cell phones:p

  3. I have to say, that looks really cool. I’m just afraid of implementing something like that.

  4. Spark lines! I knew you were down with Tufte. Looks like a great feature, I’d love to see it implemented in the general sense that you describe.

  5. Justin says:

    theo: Yes, these are indeed a usage of sparklines. [This reminds me that I should add a references section to the wiki for those not familiar with Tufte's work.] However, I think the (perhaps subtle) emphasis here is on improving Live Titles, and this is just one way that might be accomplished.

    Shawn: Yeah, that can’t be understated. It’s not obvious how to work around platform (OS) limitations for adding graphics into a menu item, but it’s interesting to think about even if the devs more familiar with this area are laughing at the sheer insanity of it! :-)

  6. Fredrik says:

    Isn’t e.g. the bookmark icon in the bookmarks menu an example of just that, graphics in a menu item?

    One could even allow SVG markup for the graphical elements, which means the whole thing would scale beautifully with differences in DPI settings and font sizes and whatnot. Since Gecko has SVG support, it would probably not be a huge problem.

    Since SVG is XML-based, it would also integrade nicely with RSS/Atom, and constrained devices that support a subset of Gecko’s SVG capabilities could possibly still use some of the graphical elements, or at least map some elements to text. (Or one would use a regular microsummary as fallback, I guess.)

    An interesting concept.

  7. db48x says:

    You can put anything you want into a menuitem. They’re drawn the same way as any other xul element.

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