New Tab Page: Proposed design principles and prototype

Mozilla

142

Every time you open a new tab, you are opening it to go somewhere. Sometimes it’s to do a search. Sometimes it’s to type in a new URL. Sometimes it’s to check an address you just selected. The only thing you are guaranteed to not want is a blank page.

From the feedback from the last two rounds of new tab concepts, we know that the page needs to load instantly (even a small wait breaks user experience); that it shouldn’t be visually distracting; and that it should be a launch point into your daily activities. One level higher, the distilled design themes were:

  • No configuration. Never force the user to set up or fidget with a feature before they use it.
  • Streamlined. New tabs are opened to start a new task or navigation. If we have a good idea of what that task is (like mapping an address selected on the last tab) or where you want to go, we should help you do that quickly and efficiently.
  • Polite. The page must be instant load, shouldn’t be distracting, or ever get in your way. Being too “clever” results in annoyance: we should be avoid recapitulating Clippy.

Over the last week we’ve gotten back to this project and have come up with an experimental revised design that we believe is consistent with these principles.

Revised Design

The design consists of two components. The quick-access bar on the right, and the contextual actions on the upper left.

Quick-access Bar

It may seem strange that the quick-access strip is along the right of the window. It’s there in order to be polite. If you’ve got your mind on opening a new tab and just entering a url, it’s outside your foveal vision.

The quick-access strip is determined by frecency — the same metric that the Awesome Bar uses — with one twist. Instead of raw frecency over all sites visited, we are only considering those sites that start history “strands”. That is, we are using the most frecent sites that you actually begin browsing from. The versatile Places feature of Firefox 3 makes this possible.

Finally, we include the latest updates for each page automatically. For example, both Gmail and Yahoo! Mail provide RSS feeds, so you’ll automatically get to see your latest emails — without hassle or setup — if you visit your email often. You don’t need to know what RSS is to get its benefits.

The thumbnails are supposed to be in grayscale (by using SVG filters), but we weren’t able to implement that for this iteration.

Contextual Actions

If you are performing a task, the new tab page should make it effortless. Generally, you’ll select some text and open a new tab to search for that text. The new tab provides a big button so that becomes a one-click action (in the future, it will use your default search provider). If you’ve selected an address, the new tab provides a one-click action to map it. If you’ve selected a URL, one-click action will open it. The action system in the future will be extensible, and could be connected with or take inspiration from Ubiquity.

Also, in case you’ve just closed a tab you didn’t mean to, there’s a contextual action on the new tab to recover it.

Try It Out

We’ve put together a prototype of this revised design to see how this feels and to get wider feedback and review.

This is a rough-cut prototype: the page loads too slowly, the visual design isn’t right, and you can’t even tell the browser that you don’t want a particular site to show up on the new-tab screen.

This prototype also only works on the latest version of Firefox as it takes advantage of new platform capabilities. Here are the directions for helping test and review the revised design:

  • Step 1. Download and install the latest development build of Firefox 3.1.
  • Step 2. Download and install the latest version of the New Tab prototype.
  • Step 3. Let us know what you think, including what works, what doesn’t and how we can improve the design by commenting here, joining us in IRC at #labs, or getting involved on the wiki.

Open Questions and Problems

Besides problems we know need to be fixed, there are a number of questions we don’t know how to approach yet:

  • We fetch the latest updates, via RSS, for your most visited sites. It’s convenient, but is making network connections okay? There’s precedent with live bookmarks.
  • How much reaching out is okay? If you’ve selected an address should we just put a map on the new-tab page? If you’ve selected a single word, should we fetch its definition?
  • Is there something besides RSS that’s useful to show related to each page?
  • What other layouts should we consider?

Background & Other References

Dan Mills and Ed Lee worked up this prototype. It is based on discussions on the previous blogs posts and comments, IRC, and around the Mozilla offices. Special thanks for input from Sean Martell, Alex Faaborg, and Mike Beltzner. We’re keen to hear your thoughts and opinions!

– Aza Raskin, on behalf of the New Tab design & prototype team

142 responses

  1. Sam C wrote on :

    Oh, I see now that I’m down at the bottom that there’s a pile of us “leave-us-aloner”s!

    Software design lesson one – never assume that all your users work the way you think is best!

    Software design lesson two – always offer a way to configure the software back to the old version!

  2. Sam C wrote on :

    Um, sorry to be old fartish but you say “The only thing you are guaranteed to not want is a blank page.”

    Well, this user does want a blank page and doesn’t like having a whole pile of stuff appear that he doesn’t want. Yes, yes, yes, I see why most people think it’s a good idea and it’s a super default, and so on.

    But please, I like very quiet software, software that doesn’t do anything unless I ask it to, so can I please have a way of saying that I want a blank page when I ask for a new tab? I’m often opening a blank page then calling up a bookmarked page into it from the Bookmarks menu. There might be better ways of doing that, but that’s the way I like doing it, and I can’t be bothered with remembering zillions of short-cuts and features (you guys might find that age affects you that way one day!).

    It’s a nice new tab page, it’s lovely – I just want the option to have something different please!

  3. T K wrote on :

    Removing the close tab function where only one tab is opened is a mistake. If one has “Show my windows and tabs from last time” set, closing Firefox ensures that the next time you start it you get the last tab loaded even though you may not have wanted to see it again. The right behavior is to allow closing the last tab and the browser separately as it happened in the previous versions. This has the added benefit of closing the last tab to get a fresh tab if you are done with the current content and would like all the flash, etc. to be unloaded.

    Closing the browser when trying to close the last tab is equally annoying. It is equivalent to closing the browser with the last tab still showing content. For a discussion of why Firefox should revert to the previous tab behavior see above.

  4. noel wrote on :

    sorry. i just want a blank tab. i was happy the way it was. the new way is crap!

  5. Argyrios wrote on :

    I have a request for your new “New Tab” page.
    I like the new one but PLEASE add the following feature:
    As a user, I want an integrated ToDo list in my homepage. I want to be able to edit this ToDo list using simple tags or keyword, such as “Trip to Cuba”, ot “Check Bank account”.
    This way, every time I open a tab I will get reminded to do one of those tasks!
    At the moment, most “New Tab” pages include suggestions for website that you frequently visit. Thus, I find myself opening a new tab to complete a task but instead I wander off and visit one of my favorite websites. Good for fun, but not productive.

    I believe that this is something that many users will find useful.

    Regards,
    Argyrios
    often find myself opening a new tab to search for a specific thing or do a specific task, but instead I

  6. Eric wrote on :

    leave out the eyecandy please…
    let me disable it at least.
    I landed here because Ctrl-T is NOT showing a blank tab in firefox for some reason.

  7. Blanker wrote on :

    give me a blank new tab. I dont want the world to know what I was browsing in private when I open a new tab (that shows my previos closed pages and searches) in public.

  8. Weh wrote on :

    /** WHAT I MISS **/

    Since some years I really miss a browser, where i can move two ore more tabs side on side within one window !

    As I can dock source files within *eclipse* and *visual studio*…

  9. TTO wrote on :

    Will we be able to switch it off? UI sugar, I say.

  10. Martin Tassara wrote on :

    What happend with the circle?
    I don’t like the enormous list of frequently visited sites. Its too big and not clear enough to quickly identify the site I want to go to

    Why not include both options to search for copied text AND reopen closed tabs?

    Any plan for adding a search box?

    I’m sorry to say that I’m not liking this new design…

  11. Rolli wrote on ::

    It used to work (partly) – the version 0.34 shows a blank page for me.
    Any idea about how to change that?

  12. Nils wrote on :

    Sorry to say it out loud. But it is ugly. Horrifying ugly. Just leave it an option (so I can turn it off)

    Btw, please take te time to comment on this page without JS (and then try to make sense of th error-msg)…

  13. Thibz wrote on :

    Nice add-on. GJ Mozilla team.
    I’d like about:tab to remember the tabs settings (their position and do not show deleted ones)
    About the design, I think really pretty the circle presentation. Why not keeping the thumbs into the circle and showing inside the circle more detail about the thumb ?

  14. Linuxguy wrote on :

    Luv the new redesign with the circle(0.0.33), how it hides the websites unless you mouse over the page:)

  15. Jonas wrote on :

    not too bad! now, if only we could get that “open link in a new window” (right click on link with mouse) away or atleast “in a new tab” on top like google chrome.

  16. Fork wrote on :

    This is a great improvement over displaying just a blank page when a user opens a new tab, but we also really need the option to load the user’s home-page when a new tab is started.

  17. TheTester wrote on :

    One question – what is purpose of switching to thumbs? Because for me it looks like only for fun…But maybe there is something behind that.

  18. seybernetx wrote on ::

    Let me add another vote for offering a blank New Tab, at least as an option. Adding lots of flashy new features is fun, but sometimes people already know what they want, and aren’t in the mood to wait while a flashy Auto Dial type display generates.

  19. jon wrote on :

    could you make the bookmark toolbar show on the about:tab page. similar to what google chrome does.

  20. resia wrote on :

    yeah really like this addon, but still needs a bit improvement.

    Hope this will make it in FF 3.5!!

  21. Rob wrote on :

    When I open a new tab, I normally intend to type a URI. Sometimes, I use a keyword search, so I might type the keyword and then paste some text, but usually, I don’t paste text to the awesome bar. Consequently, I don’t expect to make use of the dynamic selection-based actions as proposed from a new tab created with Ctrl-T.

    After selecting text, the obvious thing to do is use the context menu. If the context menu were smart enough and arranged well enough, it should provide much of what I want directly. A large context menu is worse than none as one spends an inordinate amount of time searching for the desired command. The context menu — at least one not augmented by add-ons — should be succinct and meaningful. The context menu should be customizable to permit users to reorder, add, or eliminate entries on-the-fly. (By that I mean that there can be an editor accessible from, say, the Options dialog that permits adjusting the various context menus, but that editor should be accessible from the context menu itself.) That way, a user can change the context menu the instant the fancy strikes to change it.

    One of the options to include in the context menu, then, is the proposed dashboard tab. Thus, if the context menu doesn’t offer, with a relatively small number of pertinent choices, the action desired, the dashboard tab is sure to offer it. In that case, all of the suggested functionality related to the selection has bearing.

    A new tab can reasonably contain the thumbnails and ability to search history, bookmarks, etc. as discussed herein, but ought not to react to the selection. If that dashboard tab is selected from the context menu after selecting text on a page, then the dashboard tab can include selection-specific content. As for reacting to the clipboard, that should be on demand from a context menu item or the Edit menu rather than automatic on opening a new tab. The suggestion to replace the current tab’s contents with the dashboard tab, rather than requiring a new tab to access it, completes the picture nicely (View | Dashboard?).

  22. Gert-Jan wrote on :

    I just installed version 0.0.28, and am not completely convinced.

    Firstly, I didn’t see any graphics/page previews, I had to click on the star thingie at the bottom right, which caused page previews to appear on the left side of the window while all screenshots show them on the right side?

    Secondly, a question: in the list of frequently visited sites, I see an “edit” thingie when the mouse hovers over the entries; clicking on it displays a checkmark instead of the favicon and the text changes to “done”.
    I have no idea what that does/is good for: looks like some tasks/todo list concept but that just doesn’t make sense for a “frequently visited sites” list…

    Instead of displaying a search/open button on the new tab, an alternative would be for “new tab” to just initialise the address bar or search field with the content of the clipboard (putting the focus depending on where it put data), so that I can simply hit return after opening a new tab (so I second the suggestion made in another comment).

    Reopening the tab I just closed is just as easily done by control-clicking the entry in the history menu. It is seldom used, and the new tab only displays the most recently closed page instead of a list, and only immediately after closing a tab.

    By the way, I noticed that this only works when opening a new tab but not for the first tab in a new window? (^N displays a new window with an empty tab).

    All things considered, I won’t use this at work for privacy reasons. Might use it at home though.

  23. Dean wrote on :

    Thanks amau, I have been struggling for a week to get this and Tab Mix Plus working nicely together.

  24. Ghodmode wrote on ::

    This doesn’t work properly with the Tab Mix Plus extension. It’s simple to work around the problem by setting new tabs to open to chrome:abouttab/content/text.html in the Tab Mix Plus options.

    When I do it this way, though, the address bar isn’t focused when the new tab is opened. I have to wait for the page to load before I can focus the address bar with CTRL-L.

    This doesn’t seem like a problem with the Tab Mix Plus extension because that user location is designed to open a normal page and you wouldn’t want the address bar focused.

    This doesn’t happen with the “Fast Dial” extension which also shows itself in new tabs, but it does happen with the “Auto Dial” extension.

    So, I guess the question is, how is “Fast Dial” different from extensions like “Auto Dial” and “About:Tab”?

    Thank you.


    – Ghodmode

  25. dimkalinux wrote on :

    Latest version have bug with encodings in feed. Previus version show utf-8 encoded cyrilic feeds normal – latest use wrong encoding.

  26. markan wrote on :

    really nice this feature, still needs a bit improvement, but I really hope it’ll make it in ff 3.5!

  27. Jens wrote on ::

    The new tab shows excerpts for some pages from the history (recently
    updated pages? Or what?)

    Charset handling for these excerpts seems to be broken.

    E.g., I have this entry:

    9. heise online
    edit
    done
    * Configure feeds!
    * Zypries stemmt sich gegen Vertrag zu Kinderporno-Sperren
    * Europäischer Vermessungssatellit soll morgen starten
    * Ausblick auf OpenOffice 3.1

  28. Charles wrote on :

    Nice job.

    Maybe you will be inspired by http://keyboardr.com/

    thanx for your work.

  29. Daniel Luz wrote on :

    Wow. Almost every single suggestion/criticism I’ve made so far has already been addressed. I’m really impressed, not to say very pleased! :)

    Continuing on my nit-picking, I really miss the URLs appearing on the status bar, particularly for feed links. Also, I see encoding problems on the Google Reader feed. The feed seems to be fully valid UTF-8, yet the New Tab page interprets it as ISO-8859-1. Firefox’s standard feed preview shows it perfectly.

  30. Daniel Kurapov (Zarogon) wrote on :

    There is problem in new versions 0.0.27 & 0.0.28 with cyrillic texts http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/4131/newtab.jpg &
    http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/6357/newtab1.jpg

  31. Daniel Kurapov (Zarogon) wrote on :

    The new version 0.0.27 have problem with cyrillic texts like this http://img19.imageshack.us/my.php?image=newtab.jpg in previous version all was cool.

  32. amau96 wrote on :

    -Is there a way to reinitialize every thing (after edit or move up or move down a link)?
    -what about middle clic to open in a new tab?
    -what about scrolling for low screen resolution

    happy to see this extension updated every day, nice and useful

  33. earll wrote on :

    To be honest, I open a new tab (that is, CTRL-T) most often to fast-scroll to the end of my tab list (I’ve worked out a system for the fastest way to scroll through a long list of open tabs: CTRL-T to get to the end, then use the pulldown list on the right to go back to the beginning, and it’s become habit. Sorry. Usability tangent).

    Anyway, I really like the new look. Here’s what struck me from the image:

    1. This is the major one: no pulldown list in the search field. The engines listed in the upper right *absolutely* need to be there, otherwise you kill much of the gain you expect to get from fast searching. If we, say, copy something a proper noun from a website and want to search Wikipedia or a search engine other than Google, the old way of 1. open new tab 2. paste in upper right 3. hit enter will still be the fastest route. (Not to mention you’ll introduce an annoying inconsistency in having two search fields that work in different ways. From a user’s perspective: “I can search amazon for my text *there*! Why can’t I search amazon for my text *here*? They’re both search!”)

    2. Don’t go grayscale on the thumbnails. Color is a quick-identifier for websites (along with favicons, +1 for the person who mentioned that). You’ll know a website faster by looking at its color scheme than reading the text on the left.

    3. I love the automatic-copying of text idea. The browser should check if all the text in the clipboard is a valid url template, and if so slap a big “BROWSE TO _____ ” button at the top. (Disclosure: my second-most frequent use for CTRL-T is to open a new new window to browse to a copied URL. That’s got to be such a common and–or at least obvious–task, though; is it just not shown in the screenshot?)

  34. Philip Ganchev wrote on :

    Searching should be done from the Awesome Bar. Don’t complicate the situation with additional input boxes.

    (The rest of this comment is a copy of my comment on Aza’s blog.)

    “Didn’t mean to close that Foo tab? Undo!” -> “Reopen tab ‘Foo’”

    I guess that the reopen action should stay because it is more discoverable than the menu item “History” -> “Recently closed tabs”.

    I agree with Ami: a very common use case is when you want to open a tab with the same history as an existing tab. It is probably more common than searching for a word in a new tab. IE solves this problem elegantly; I think I would prefer that to the proposed design.

    As a compromise, the previous tab’s content can be one of the context items shown in the new tab, and when it is opened it can contain the history of the old tab.

    If you have context-sensitive content, it should be according to the text selected before opening the new tab, as well as the text typed in the Awesome Bar. As you type in the Awesome Bar, the results should replace the initial contents of the window. (The downside of this is when you want to see a long list of pages matching your Awesome Bar query but want a small window.) They should appear after some delay to avoid slowing down your typing.

  35. Rob wrote on :

    When I open a new tab, I normally intend to type a URI. Sometimes, I use a keyword search, so I might type the keyword and then paste some text, but usually, I don’t paste text to the awesome bar. Consequently, I don’t expect to make use of the dynamic clipboard contents-based actions as proposed from a new tab created with Ctrl-T.

    After selecting text, the obvious thing to do is use the context menu. If the context menu were smart enough and arranged well enough, it should provide much of what I want directly. However, a large context menu is worse than none as one spends an inordinate amount of time searching for the desired command. This concept is better in that situation because it allows arranging the information better.

    I propose that the context menu — at least one not augmented by add-ons — should be succinct and meaningful. The context menu should be customizable to permit users to reorder, add, or eliminate entries on-the-fly. (By that I mean that there can be an editor accessible from, say, the Options dialog that permits adjusting the various context menus, but that editor should be accessible from the context menu itself.) That way, a user can change the context menu the instant the fancy strikes to change it. One of the options to include in the context menu, then, is the proposed dashboard/speed-dial tab. Thus, if the context menu doesn’t offer, with a relatively small number of pertinent choices, the action desired, the dashboard tab is sure to offer it. In that case, all of the suggested functionality related to the selection has bearing.

    Thus, a new tab can reasonably contain the thumbnails and ability to search history, bookmarks, etc. as discussed herein, but ought not to react to the selection. If that dashboard tab is selected from the context menu after selecting text on a page, then the dashboard tab can include selection-specific content. The clipboard contents are a separate matter. Since I imagine myself making much more use of the context menu for a selection than directing the browser from the clipboard’s contents, I suggest that examining the clipboard be a user-directed feature.

    I liked the suggestion of allowing the user to replace the current tab’s contents with the dashboard tab, rather than requiring a new tab to access it (from http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/firefox-31-new-tab-spec).

    I guess I’m saying that the dashboard tab should be something separate from new tabs. That makes the functionality accessible to those that like blank new tabs or want their home page on new tabs. It also makes it accessible as an overlay or replacement on the current tab without the need to create a new tab and then close the current tab. Then, examining the selection only occurs when invoking the dashboard tab from the selection and examining the clipboard only occurs when directed. (There may be users that want the clipboard considered every time, so there might be an option to enable that.)

  36. Gale Weld wrote on :

    Fantastic Feature!
    Make it standard in 3.5! One thing: the header text “frequently visited sites” is to close to whit to make it easy to read.

  37. Rob wrote on :

    @TokyoJerry

    Try Tab Mix Plus: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1122

    It gives you a little down-arrow button on the tab bar that shows all tabs by title.

  38. Rob wrote on :

    As I read more comments, it seems there are a number of people who like the undo closed tab feature. I’ve had that for a long time with Tab Mix Plus, so I don’t want it on the new tab. As I mentioned before, it also doesn’t make sense to create a new tab to reopen a closed tab. Well, OK, I guess I can see the idea of, “Oops! I didn’t mean to close that tab so let me open a new tab and recover the page I was viewing.”

    I like TMP’s context menu approach better: their Closed Tabs List can appear in the normal context menu as well as the tab’s context menu. TMP doesn’t offer that on the Tools menu, but that’s a likely place, too. The idea is that you closed a tab, so you’re thinking in terms of a tab you want to recover, not a page you want to reload in a new tab.

  39. Rob wrote on :

    The right aligned text is a terrible idea. Either left align it along an imaginary vertical line, as previously suggested, or move it to the right of the thumbnails and left align it.

  40. Rob wrote on :

    Why would anyone open a new tab to click a button because they didn’t mean to close a tab? That functionality doesn’t make sense to me.

    The same applies to reopening a closed window.

    Those features are fine, but they shouldn’t be on new tabs.

  41. Craig S wrote on :

    I updated today from 0.18 (I think) to 0.21 or whatever this is (I forget), and the wonderful about:tab is now completely broken! You had it right with the smaller thumbnails down the right side with the RSS feeds… this new design with either the text list or the 4 large left-aligned thumbnails is uglier, slower, and … wacker.

    My biggest problem though, a MUST FIX NOW problem: Now when I create a new tab, “chrome://abouttab/content/tab.html” sits in the location bar with the cursor at the end of it, messing up whatever I was about to type in the AwesomeBar.

    I’m about to uninstall this, you guys can let me know when you get it fixed.

  42. maureenhanratty wrote on :

    Nitpicky comments. @Francisco is right – text updates should be aligned left for scannability (see Nielsen’s explanation of this: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/navigation-menu-alignment.html). Also, bullet point would be nice to distinguish each item. Question: what will the thumbnail image be? Good idea that it is not the entire page (too small) but what part of the page should be shown to make it most useful as a representation?

  43. cabotine wrote on :

    Hi,
    I like the new tab concept.
    The only thing is that I often target the awesome bar and I am to lazy to delete that chrome:// stuff
    Therefore it would be nice if there would be an option to have the awesome bar focussed and empty or at least the adress selected so its possible to overwrite it quickly.

    Is there a way to have the thumbnail version on the right?
    Thanks
    C.

  44. Eugene wrote on :

    Incorrect code page for site contents. For example all cyrillic sites. It was correct in the previous version.

  45. TheTester wrote on :

    Another update. :)
    This time almost everything looks better and by that I mean more readable. ;)
    Only two major things:
    1. Undo button has black font which is quite invisible on dark background. Change color of this font to something brighter.
    2. It would be great if I could specify somehow number of “Frequently Visited Sites” because right now I get 10 but I have space for 3-5 more. And I’m pretty sure with bigger resolution I get even more space.

    Also I liked the whole idea of thumbs so I miss them a little. ;)

    I’m still looking forward to another updates because in my opinion About:Tab has great potential, especially with features that I red on some blog. ;)

  46. Colin Deady wrote on :

    [quote]The only thing you are guaranteed to not want is a blank page.[/quote]

    Sorry folks, but your premise is not correct – I do want a blank page when I open a new tab, and it is horrendous of you to suggest otherwise. Too many times people assume what computer users must want (as your statement implies).

    Therefore you need to ensure that this is optional in *ALL* future versions of FF.

    The reason for my utter distaste at this suggestion is two-fold:

    a) System resources. *ALL* browsers, without exception, have always (in my experience on Mac OS X, Win XP, Vista, RHEL 4 and opensolaris) taken some time to start a new tab if anything is shown in it. I know you have stated that one of the design goals is to load “instantly” but “instant” on one machine with a particular CPU, amount of RAM and a certain HDD will be an absolute age on another with less resources. Unless you are claiming that all computers that run FF will show this instantly regardless of available system resources? And, I note that people commenting here have said it “feels a little sluggish” already.

    b) You have made the mistake of thinking all users think like you do. I like to start from an identical known point each time I commence work – when I select New in Word or Pages I like a blank page. I do not like to be presented with a list of template options. When I start a new image in Pixelmator or Photoshop I like the canvas to be blank. Personally I always start from “empty” and choose my direction from there – this is a fundamental part of my daily workflow model.

    -Colin

  47. fabio wrote on ::

    Perfect I love It

  48. amau wrote on :

    for tabmix plus there is a solution, in the config panel, in the action to open a new tab, put user location, and in the location put :

    chrome://abouttab/content/text.html

  49. amau96 wrote on :

    [quote]Another feature which would be nice is the ability to middle click on one of the links to open it in a new background tab.

    Often there are more than 1 site in the list which I would like to open[/quote]

    +1

    Most wanted feature

  50. Daniel Luz wrote on :

    Regarding v0.0.23, I have a website in my top list which requires me to authenticate (HTTP Basic). Now every time I open a new tab without having authenticated there yet it shows a modal dialog asking for username and password. This is bad not only because of the interruption, but also because it shows the browser (probably) attempts to visit it every single time I see the New Tab page. Unintended DDOS, privacy concerns, etc.

  51. Alex H wrote on :

    While I think this is a neat idea, it is not everyone’s ideal; the first thing I thought when reading “The only thing you are guaranteed to not want is a blank page” was “actually, that’s exactly what I want when I open a new tab”. If I want to search, I use Ctrl-K to put the cursor in the search box. If I want to type in a URL or quicksearch thing like “wiki firefox”, I use Ctrl-L to go to the Awesome Bar. (Or, of course, I can use the mouse to do either of these things.)

    That’s all just a matter of preference. Then there’s privacy. Along with various previous posters, I have serious concerns about a new tab opening with all kinds of information about where I’ve been and where I’m going and the like.

    Aza Raskin responds to Jesse Ruderman’s post: “@Jesse: Not in the current prototype is the ability to remove a site or rss from new tab page. That will keep your messages safe.” So I’ll have to consider, every time I visit or browse away from a site, or close a tab, whether or not I might want that to show up on the next new tab I open?

    My absolute least favorite thing about Chrome, which has some cleverness to it, was new-tab pages that opened up with my history on them. Lots of people work in cube farms, or use public computers in libraries, or are in other situations with little or no control over who walks past and looks over their shoulder. As Jesse Ruderman posted, “…people looking over my shoulder don’t need to know what I just closed.” Or what I just visited.

    I haven’t tried this yet, and I expect I’ll probably love it when using it on my home machine, but it sounds like a nightmare for work and other public situations. Based on “The only thing you are guaranteed to not want is a blank page”, I assume this will likely be popular enough to become default new-tab behavior. If that happens, I think users ought to be given a choice on install whether they want tabs to open in the traditional-style or in this ‘new’, ‘enhanced’, whatever-style.

  52. Fallenarms3 wrote on :

    Middleclick functionality would be awesome. I used the Google Toolbar new tab before, but I prefer yours. Since I also use it as my homepage, I want to be able to do a quick middleclick breezethrough of my top pages and open them all as different tabs in a flash. I know I could have all these pages load up as home pages, but that slows down the browser load for the occasions I just wanted to make a Google search, etc. Also, as the above commenter recommended, see if you can get rid of redirects. Perhaps only one thumbnail per domain?

  53. ikc666 wrote on :

    Actually, I use the Tab Mix Plus AddOn, so that my new pages are never blank but always my start page. As my start page is on igoogle, I always have the personalized info I need on my start page.

  54. Michael Lefevre wrote on ::

    Hrm… reading back, I see that I’ve written a long comment mostly giving details of issues with frecency rather than the new tab page itself.

    Aside from sorting out what appears there, for me personally the layout needs to either be somehow even less distracting (along the bottom? I don’t know really), or if it’s going to distract me anyway (as the current version does), then the thumbnails could be bigger, and they could appear across the top or in the middle or somewhere easier to see.

    As far as reaching out goes, I think making network connections is probably ok – if people don’t like it, they can presumably just turn it off completely. Actually kicking off searches for clipboard or selections or whatever could go badly wrong though – I don’t think many people would like selecting some text send it out to the internet.

    Previous comment was also very negative – I think I do like the idea of this in principle… it just needs to actually be as useful as I (and presumably you folks) think it could be.

  55. Dobrosław Żybort wrote on :

    I confirm problem with Tab Mix Plus.

    And I think that “Shortcuts” box in “New Tab King” addon is very interesting and usefull idea.

  56. Michael Lefevre wrote on ::

    Having tried this out, I’m thinking I might find an app I had before which clears the clipboard when the computer is idle for a while. :)

    Maybe some judgement could be made based on the length of text in there at least? If I have an entire document worth of text in there, I probably don’t want to search for it.

    There’s two issues with delays… first, especially on the first time, it seems to make the new tab slower to appear. Also, there is another delay before the thumbnails pop up – maybe I would get used to it if I used it for more than a couple of days, but at the moment, I’m not finding the same as you – I’m actually moving my eyes down to see what’s popped up, and then mostly moving them back to the awesomebar or bookmarks or whatever. The whole process is probably a fraction of a second, but still…

    Finally, and to a lesser extent this is an issue with frecency in the awesomebar as well, the sites that are popping up are not useful:

    One of them is a forum page that I used to visit daily or more often, but although the page still exists, there has been no new activity worth looking at for 6 months or so. Apparently the thousands of visits from a long time ago are overriding the fact that I now visit the site at most once every few weeks.

    My previews show both http://www.facebook.com/ and “Facebook | Home” (which is http://www.facebook.com/home.php – the first URL redirects to that).

    Then I have previews for both my livejournal friends page, and http://www.livejournal.com/misc/get_domain_session.bml?return=http://same URL] , which is livejournal’s cookie-juggling redirector to the same page. So not having those redirects would be better, if that’s possible.

    Then I have my home page showing up there, and finally there is gmail. So there are actually 4 pages that I do often go to. However, one is accessible from the home button, and the other 3 are all on my bookmarks bar (as well as being linked from my home page), so if I want those, I’ll use those buttons rather than opening a new tab. Maybe it might be good to exclude my home page? And maybe even bookmarks that are visible on the toolbar?

  57. Ace wrote on :

    Another feature which would be nice is the ability to middle click on one of the links to open it in a new background tab.

    Often there are more than 1 site in the list which I would like to open

  58. Victor Gnanaraj wrote on :

    The new update 0.0.19 is lot more buggy and worse than the previous version……..try putting something in new tab which does not use internet connection, cause for a slow connection its really annoying…….
    try giving a nice background which is attractive…
    make sure it doesn’t slow down the pc………cause it might be torture for a person with 256mb RAM………..

  59. RanMan wrote on :

    I think it is great this subject is being examined because getting a blank page when clicking on a new tab just isn’t logical. However, I do not believe a new method should get over complicated and it should permit user customization. That is what Firefox is all about.

    I suggest what I currently use in FF v3.0.7. I have it set up so that when I double click on the tabs bar I get my TidyFavorites page. It works identically if I use the new tab or use the double click method.

    I respectfully suggest this because the TidyFavorites page, similar to Fast Dial but better IMHO, you get a page that contains bookmarks and a search panel. It gives me access to my favorites or I can initiate a search from the search panel. I quickly get to web sites, RSS feeds or search one of the multiple search engines I have in the search panel. True the freeware version only give you three options in the search panel and if you want a bunch of them like me you have to buy the PRO version, but having three customizable search possibilities and in my cash almost 400 bookmarks quickly available to me is very convenient.

    No I do not work for TidyFavorites, I am just a loyal user and sincerely use the heck of the program. It is still categorized as “Experiment” on Firefox Addons site, but the program has been out and in use by thousands for a long time.

    Just an honest and sincere suggestion because regardless of what is done with this new approach I will mostly likely retain my current method because of convenience. :)

  60. Icefreez wrote on :

    I think it would be great if the search clipboard were customizable to have multiple options like quicksearches were designed for. So say you have quicksearches set up for google, yahoo, and froogle, you would see three options no the new tab. Or perhaps a customizable option in the quicksearch bookmark, “show on new tab”

  61. Calosgheros wrote on :

    Finally a full page!
    I think that this feature is very useful but something should be changed.
    Case 1 – Contextual Actions
    When we surf the web, we encontered many types of content that we would like to learn:
    an unknown word to define, something to translate, something to search for on Google, on Wikipedia or on a specific site (such as a movie). In these cases, for now, we have 3 options: run a command on ubiquity, go to Google and search for what interests us, or use the awesome bar to make a search for keywords. I think that it’s more useful if the awesome bar is integrated into the new-tab page so that typing a command of ubiquity (logically when this project will be integrated into the bar) or a keyword to decide how to search.
    Case 2 – Quick-access bar
    Sometimes I can be interested in a specific site and I can visit it 20 times in one day but I can no longer be tomorrow! Also, when I open a new tab I might want to visit a bookmarked site, or History one, or read the feed. Finally, the logic of prefer-sites can be very confusing for users that, every time they open a new tab, they may find something different. I think the Quick-access bar could be improved by removing the prefer-sites and adding instead thumbnails grouped by category.
    For example. The first thumbnail could be a stack of feed subscribed sites. In this way, a Click on the stack expands and shows me all the sites in which i’m inscribed and any new titles for posts. For clarity, you can see this image http://www.flickr.com/photos/33718587@N03/3345985513/. Could also be added to a history sites stack and one for bookmarks one. For this idea I took inspiration from this “Bookmarking & History Concept” http://labs.mozilla.com/projects/concept-series/
    Perhaps this is an pharaonic idea but it’s what I’d like to find every time I open a new tab.
    Sorry for my horrible English
    Good work. Ciao

  62. Harlequin99 wrote on :

    It would make more sense to me to replace the ‘search for’ input to come from selected text on the opening tab, rather than the clipboard.

    Also the contextual actions could be smarter, e.g. e.g. a zipcode (localised to different country formats) would offer to map rather than search.

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  64. Jonathan wrote on :

    You said that I am not “guaranteed to want a blank page”. In fact, I do like a blank page so that I can open up Firebug and have an unobstructed view while I mess with background colors.

  65. TheTester wrote on :

    I don’t know if is this intended but last update .19 put thumbs on left side, add some bad looking border on rollover and add black background to “open closed tab” – this actually isn’t that bad but button for opening this tab has black font so it’s quite invisible. ;)

    Is there some list of changes that this update made?

  66. Clément Fossati wrote on ::

    Personaly I doesn’t use this kind of fonctionality in chrome, and when I open a new tab in firefox, It’s because I clicked with middle button on a link or a enter an address in awsome bar and press enter + alt together.

  67. Daniel Luz wrote on :

    I’m liking it so far. A few comments:

    - Showing only a single strip of frequent sites seems weird at first, but I must say I really like the idea of showing feeds. I’d vote on this as the best usage of feeds ever since the first batch of feed readers, because they’re *finally* usable by Joe average user.

    - That said, maybe slightly bigger thumbnails and two columns on wider displays could work? By wider I’m already including 1024px.

    - Ugh. Are those JPEGs? I can clearly see artifacts on certain thumbnails, mainly Reddit. Please improve their quality!

    - Judging by the time it takes for the feed items to appear, I’m guessing they’re not being cached. If that’s the case, I know this is an obvious thing that you would eventually do, I’m just saying it might be better to prioritize it. If that’s not the case, why does it take so long? I’d rather have instant listing than a needless delay-plus-fade-in drawing my attention.

  68. MMcCubbing wrote on :

    I agree wholeheartedly with dartagnan32, except for one thing, the b&w to colour transition. I think that it helps reinforce which item is selected.

  69. dartagnan32 wrote on :

    Hi guys, nice to see firefox evolving, I still think it’s the best browser there is. I don’t see the “search for” I guess it’s not in the new tab anymore.
    So far it looks good but I have a few suggestions for the “newt tab” (sorry in advance if I missed something, and these are just personal opinions, I hope it helps): first the history of closed tabs shouldn’t just display the last tab closed but the last 10 tabs closed or something like that. Also it seems that this link to “last tab closed” appears just in the next tab you open, immediately after closing one. It should remain there no matter how many things you’ve done. (And in the history => tabs recently closed, it shouldn’t keep record of the “new tabs”, empty, that are closed)
    Second,for the column of most visited websites in addition to the title there is a text that can easily go too far and this doesn’t look good. Also, we can not really customize these most visited websites. We should be able to remove some of them or to add one site that we want there. The only thing we can do so far is move by drag and drop but it doesn’t keep the new location when we close and open a new tab so this is pretty much useless.
    Some redundant links shouldn’t be used. For example I have both http://www.mysite.com and mysite.com in this list….
    I am not exactly sure about the positioning as well I understand this is closer to the “+” sign for new tabs, but limits the number of most visited sites.
    Finally but this is just a personal taste, I am not convinced by the balck and white to color transition on mouseover, I mean it doesn’t look so good in my opinion.

    thanks a lot for your work

  70. Matt wrote on :

    First, I love how New Tab opens faster than IE7′s “you’ve opened a tab for the first time! yah for you page”

    IE7 has a noticeable delay, maybe 3/4 sec on my machine before IE7 switches to it, with FF 3.1 and New Tab its almost instant.

    I am having issues with multiple password prompts when New Tab is generating thumbnails.

    I use saved passwords, with a master password. I think there is still a known issue where you will can get multiple prompts at the same time.

    However I stay logged into sites most of the time (I delete cookies when I get around to it)
    So most of the time I am not prompted to enter the Master Password, because I am already logged in.

    However if I restart firefox, then open a new tab, I am getting prompted as New Tab is generating the thumbnails. I dismiss the prompts without entering the master password, then follow one of the thumbnails to the site, and verify I am still logged in.
    After the first New Tab is generated, I can open another New Tab, and I am NOT prompted to enter my master password.

    I think users will be annoyed if a Master Password Prompt appears when they were just trying to open a new tab. However it might not be that big of a deal if it only happens when firefox is restarted.

  71. wrote on :

    Please make sure there is an option to have a blank page. When I open a new tab I DO NOT want to have anything on it.

  72. Milan Pilous wrote on :

    ok

  73. Billy Getz wrote on :

    Wow…. this is great, I really like it and hope you use it in the next update.

  74. Steve Sim wrote on :

    I think this feature would be more useful if there was a way to customize which websites and how many to show in the quick-access bar. also having in color will make it more appealing.

    but overall, a great addon.thx

  75. TheTester wrote on :

    One more thing. You wrote that there shouldn’t be any config but I think this is where you’re completely wrong – for example I don’t want any text string to be placed in “search box” – last time I copied password to log somewhere and I opened new tab for this and this password was displayed in this “search box”. I think you’re understand that this is not the best idea of using my password? ;)

  76. Christopher wrote on :

    I think if you are trying to anticipate what a user might want to do, it would be good if, in the case of a URL on the clipboard, you just populate the address bar with it rather than just the button in the main window. You could leave it selected, though, so that it would be easy to disregard if that wasn’t the intention.

  77. TheTester wrote on :

    Hello
    Great add-on although AutoDial has one advantage – there are more sites displayed and they are somehow more accurate for what I expect to get from “most visited sites”.
    I’m really looking forward to see fully operational version with thumbs and rollovers but I would like to point things that should be done too:
    1. When I rollover on thumb I should see what is address of site that thumb can get me to. ;)
    2. There really should be some way to not only move thumbs but also remove them from list.
    3. In my opinion there should be more thumbs displayed. Maybe two columns? Or one column on right and one row on bottom. I don’t think that one row that can be scroll would be good idea…but who knows? ;)

    And two things:
    1. The thing that do searching is not intuitive…for me at least. ;)
    2. I don’t get pictures in thumbs. There was only one time when one thumb generated picture…and thats all. :(

  78. Daniel wrote on :

    I just downloaded it to test it out, and none of the items on the page are that useful to me.

    I can open previously closed documents by clicking the “History” button, and open my book marks using the “Bookmarks” button.

    When ever I open a new tab, I either go to my home page, google.com, to take advantage of google’s suggestions as I type, or I open one of my bookmarks; however, there are some bookmarks that I don’t previewed every time I open a new tab… Haha.

  79. Kushal H wrote on ::

    This is even more awesome than the new tab page from Google Toolbar 5 beta! Great work!

    Oh, by the way, what was the reason behind leaving most of the screen empty? Di you not want users to feel that it was still an empty page?

    or is it so that rendering the page is faster this way?

    keep up the good work!

  80. Chris M. wrote on :

    I want the blank tabs to load. That’s why I set FireFox to load a blank page when it opens. You can change things if you want, but leave the option to open blank pages instead.

    BTW, Google Chrome’s history on new tabs is one of its features I can’t stand.

  81. max wrote on :

    is there a way to keep “open new tab” on the bookmarks toolbar as i had it before?

  82. Kyle Plummer wrote on :

    I like how clean the new tab looks, however the links fetched from the RSS feed seem too close to the header of the next website on my machine. I have a picture of the problem I am experiencing below:
    http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/8395/fontspacing.png
    (Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.1b4pre) Gecko/20090309 Shiretoko/3.1b4pre) (Ubuntu/KDE 4.2)

    Keep up the good work, look forward to the next version!

  83. DanL wrote on :

    To help ensure the privacy of users, they should be able turn off this feature or they should be able to right click the Quick Access Strip icon of a site and exclude it from ever appearing in the Quick Access Strip.

  84. Izabela wrote on :

    I would appreciate more if Mozilla would work more on Firefox’s speed which is not satisfactory. WebKits like Google Chrome and Safari are much faster than Firefox.

  85. Jerry S. wrote on :

    Greetings. I am not really a beta tester nor have I tried this new tab concept yet (until it’s more polished). But, one feature I would like to see in the upcoming new Firefox is the ability to right-click in the current active page and see a text list of all open tab titles. After opening a number of tabs (say 15 or more) it gets difficult to discern the content of each tab. The new tabs concept expressed here in this article is also very welcome design change, but the added ability to see this list of open tabs in a right-click contextual menu display I think will also be nice to have. Also, if there are tabs open from the same page, perhaps those tabs could be listed as sub-tabs to a header tabs, similar to the hierarchical concept of nested folders… folders and sub-folders. Thanks for listening to my two-cents. :-)

    TokyoJerry

  86. Serwis komputerowy wrote on ::

    The Book of Mozilla tells us it is good and just.
    Good luck

  87. arimfe wrote on :

    You have managed to streamline:
    See Text->Select->Copy->Open tab->Go to web->Paste->Execute
    To:
    See text->Select->Open tab->Execute

    This is good thinking, and will save the user a lot of time. But then, can we streamline this even further?
    Take a look at this extension:
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5595

    With this drag and drop concept, all the user would need to do is:
    See text->Select->Drag text->Drop text
    You would not even need to move the cursor all the way up to the Open Tab button, because once you selected the text, you already have the cursor next to the selection.
    This allows for incredibly fast execution. Hopefully you will consider this drag and drop concept.

    And on another note, I love the idea of having the quick-access bar in faint greyscale when the cursor is not close. Some people mentioned opacity as alternative, actually I would like to see BOTH grey scale filtering and opacity combined to make make the page more “polite” as you put it.

    Overall, these ideas are great. And the vertical quick-access bar with RSS feeds are very nice features I would love to have.

  88. Ranko wrote on :

    This looks quite good. But I think that going to gray scale with the thumbnails is not all that good, mostly because you are looking for visual clues, and the color of a site is definitely one of them.

  89. Andrew Buehler wrote on :

    Please either don’t do this, or at least make it an option which can be disabled. (It would seem intuitive to actually have it be a set of options – “new tab is blank”, “new tab is smart-tab-interface”, “new tab is same page as old tab” (IE-style, though I don’t know why anyone would want that behaviour…), “new tab is home page”.)

    Contrary to the statement in the first paragraph of the article, I *do* often want a blank page when opening a new tab. The reasons vary, but probably the simplest is as an easy means of getting a low-brightness, uncluttered screen.

    I have no reason to deny this feature to those who do want it, but please, don’t force it on me.

  90. UncleDon wrote on :

    I agree with david above. I open a new tab for two reasons: to go to a bookmark or to run a search, mostly the latter. Would be way faster to me if you just add “open in new tab” choice to search window already in my toolbar. And I already know where I want to go when I hit the “new tab” button and do not need any of this other stuff distracting me and slowing down the new tab opening. Please leave the way it is now as an option, as it is just fine like it is. It ain’t broke…

  91. Dima wrote on :

    Really not bad idea. But implement some keyboard shortcuts for this new feature, please.

  92. Elvis wrote on :

    Can’t middle-click to open in a new tab; i may want to launch 2 or 3 pages from this (in fact, i actually do, and that’s a bit of a deal-breaker for me — though i understand this is just a prototype)

  93. Dmitry Gutov wrote on :

    I’d like to see the list of the search engines on the page, too. Or maybe just the most used ones.

    Also, another vote for clipboard content-dependent actions, and for removal of RSS fetching.

    Speaking of layouts, the draft shown in the “New Tab Spec” blog post seems pretty good, with most visited pages at the bottom and a separate screen for closed tabs. Is there a reason for its scrapping? Are there any plans to make it available as an option?

  94. nicolas wrote on :

    Great idea :-)

    I think that can be improved by:

    - taking off the text to the left of the websites; it’s too busy and seems to me, most of the time, useless.(or maybe it should be more lightened)

    -being able to reopen more pages (one is not enough) ; why not the 5-10 last close tabs ?

    -being able to customize it

    when reading the other comments i see that i say nothing new, sorry!

  95. aronin wrote on :

    Great Stuff… Really Good.

    Notes:
    - Feels sluggish on load, probably due to fetching of thumbnails; it might be a good idea to store a previous version of the thumbnail and display it immediately and maybe reload it with a 1 second delay.

    Actions:
    - Search for should be more intelligent
    > if it is an address, it should display a mini-map and add a link to go to full map
    > if it is a single word, show the definition and an option to do a full fledged search
    > if it is an email id, show an option to “Mail-to”
    > if it is a chunk of text, not in the default language as the browser, show an option to translate
    > if it is a URL, show an option to open it PLUS an option to convert it to TinyUrl (or auto convert to tinyurl and show that)

    On search, maybe it would be a good idea to show the Top 3 results (helpful if the selection is something specific which has a wiki entry or is a celebrity)

    Another option is to provide ‘Search With’ and list the search engines available in the browser.

  96. Gordon P. Hemsley wrote on ::

    I recommend moving the favicons to the lower left corner of the preview thumbnails, as that seems to me to be a place that is least likely to be busy with actual page details. They should also be less transparent (if at all).

    As it stands now, in color, I had a hard time realizing the favicons were even there (as did David Naylor). The first one I saw was the Google one, and I thought it was some page rendering issue, because it overlapped the text on the page.

  97. seybernetx wrote on ::

    Why doesn’t clicking the search button open into a new tab rather than replacing the current one?

    David – FWIW, Groowe and most other search toolbars offer that as an option. I don’t even display Firefox’s internal Search field. It serves no purpose.

  98. Exe wrote on :

    There should be some way for extensions to easily add to or modify the content.

  99. Mohamed Saher wrote on :

    I really like the idea of having the feeds of a site beside its thumbnail, it allows me to know what’s updated in a glance, but it’s obvious that there is a lot of work needed in term of UI to make it more accessible, but good work guys.

    In Mozilla we trust !

  100. markus wrote on :

    Yeah, i really like this new idea, hope it makes it in ff 3.5

    But there is much place for improvements:
    The most viewed sites should be in the middle and not on the right.
    And it should be configurable because of privacy issues and for much more usability. Maybe someone doesn’t want the feature “undo close tabs”. (I personally like it).

  101. PGomes wrote on :

    Perfect! I never liked the blank tab approach, and it had bothered me since the beginning of tabs. This way makes much more sense. Actually, anything, like opening to the home page, or the last open tab, would make more sense than the nothing option.
    Thank you!

  102. GokuH wrote on :

    Hi! I really like this! its so good, almost magic hahaha, how its show u the last news via rss, and so fast, at least to me!, congrats :D

  103. Greg K Nicholson wrote on ::

    I disagree that the right edge is outside of the user’s foveal vision: once they have a few tabs open, the New Tab button appears at the far right of the strip, a mere *not-very-many* pixels above the first item.

    If we *really* want to be out of the way, we should line the *bottom* of the page. We’d have more space then, too, and could neatly expand upwards for many-itemmed feeds.

    And! If-&-when we do offer the option to remove a page, for how long will that apply?

    Can the user restore a page to being automatically chosen-or-not, or is it forever a manual decision thenceforth? (I suppose we could have a pair of black- and white-lists, but that seems cumbersome UI-wise.)

    Say the user used to visit a page frequently, but stopped doing so, so they manually removed the page from the New Tab screen. Later they start frequenting that page again, but it never reappears in the list.

    I implore faith in the frecency algorithm. The Book of Mozilla tells us it is good and just. Tweak it if it’s sub-optimal; add extra factors, e.g.:

    Step 1. It’s Monday at 09:30.
    Step 2. I *always* visit The Register on Mondays at around 09:30.
    Step 3. Include The Register if it’s Monday at around 09:30.

    Step 1. It’s Saturday at 13:00.
    Step 2. I always check the football league table on Saturdays after lunch.
    Step 3. Include that page then.

    Etc.

    I *do* like Ambient News’s transient-information–density and river-of-news approach. Is there any chance of incorporating some of the most frecent *feeds* (irrespective of how unfrecent their associated *pages* are)?

    Perhaps this display could update vidiprinter-style (ask a Brit who’s watched a Saturday-afternoon football results programme).

    Now: opacity!

    Instead of using grey for the thumbnails and text, how about lowering the opacity?

    This would accommodate unusual default page colours and dark-on-light scenarios.

    We could have the opacity drop even further if the user isn’t pointing anywhere near the thumbnails-’n’-text; or even changing smoothly with the pointer’s distance-from-the-goods.

    As an example, my customised blank.css for Ambient News:
    .feed {padding-bottom:1em;}
    ul {display:inline; padding-left:0;}
    a {color:inherit; opacity:0.66666667; text-decoration:none;}
    a:hover, a:focus {color:inherit; opacity:1.00 !important;}
    .feed-title {display:inline;}
    .feed-title a {opacity:0.33333333; font-variant:small-caps;}
    .feed-entry {display:inline;}
    .feed-entry a:visited {color:inherit; opacity:0.33333333;}

    Opacity is your friend. It told me so.

  104. Thomas Stache wrote on :

    Nice work here, so let’s get to the feedback (0.0.18):

    1) Prevent overlapping: A long undo-close-tab-box flows into the feed items for the top-most page. (seen after closing http://www.dpreview.com/)

    2) Page title detection: something is wrong with hgweb pages, it shows titles “comm” and “mozilla”

    3) You’ll probably need to have selectable feeds. Again http://www.dpreview.com/ is a good example, it has three completely different feeds, and Ambient News always picked the wrong (as in “not main content”) one.

    4) Be quicker, hitting Ctrl-T and quickly typing is interfered after a couple of characters, as focus is stolen. Same for Bookmarks sidebar, focus is stolen when I hit Ctrl-T, Ctrl-B.

    Looking forward for more!

  105. techwizrd wrote on :

    This is pretty cool and it works extremely well. However, I am noticing a slight performance dip when restoring sessions, especially when one has many tabs open.

    Also, is there anyway of removing certain sites from Places? For example: what if didn’t want ________.com loading there…

  106. Andrew Conkling wrote on ::

    I don’t know the best implementation of this, but my “daily” tag holds all the sites I visit, well, daily. Showing these on this page would be fantastic.

    These are often not my “Most Visited” sites—e.g. I clear my history, I don’t visit a site as often as I should but I still want to be reminded of it, etc.—but this is, for me, a big deal and my most important use of Firefox’s Places.

  107. Jo Hermans wrote on :

    I like the extension, but I’m still having problems with it. When I tried it at work today, it displayed me one of the websites that I visit very often, which is a gaming website. But I visit that website at home, not at work, because it’s not allowed to access that website at work.

    The result is that was redirected to an ‘forbidden’ webpage that explained the error, and I got an email too. The URL is also present in the ‘Most Visited’ list, but no screenshot is made from that, so it doesn’t trigger a web access.

    I understand why this happens ofcourse, but it got me thinking. Maybe we should allow a website to marked (tagged ?) so that it won’t appear on the new tab page at all.

  108. chris hollander wrote on ::

    @kurt: instead of building that into ‘fox, you could just… set your new tab default to one of those pages ;)

    IRT the proposed functionality… while well concieved, i’m not really sure I understand what the targeted use case is. If I intentionally open a new tab, it’s often because I want to start a new blank “thread” of browsing. the quick access bar gives me access to my most visited sites, and further gives me specific relevant data from those sites- *but chances are, I was already browsing those exact sites, and now i’m trying to do something different*. re-surfacing that information distracts me from my goal (start a new browsing thread), and instead attempts to draw me back in to my previous (or at least, most common) activities.

    this is one place, actually, where I think the IE8 new tab page does a decent job. It provides three services that match (at least my) desired use case: switching to in-private mode, direct access to “accelerators” (contextual actions), and recovery of accidently closed tabs. I think the layout of their page could use some reprioritization, but functionally, i think they’ve provided something of value.

  109. Rob Campbell wrote on ::

    I like!

    One thing I noticed is that when you open New Tab and then navigate away using the location bar or a bookmark, the New Tab stays in your history and the Back button is available. This feels weird to me, even though there’s some precedent in other browsers. I think the New Tab page should be a transient thing and not persistent in history.

    I like the overall layout, and am interested in seeing the RSS feed.

    Maybe future versions could include a list of selectable “widgets” like in various WordPress themes or even Dashboard-like things. Clocks, calendars and calculators. I feel like I want to interact with these elements and some canvassy tools would be fun.

  110. Jia Shen wrote on :

    Great idea, although I really don’t like the quick access bar on the top right of the screen I find it annoying. I believe a better idea would be to keep the “didn’t mean to close that….” Just in include it with the website thumbnails.

    I would really like to see the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen without the cutoffs in the website, I’m not sure if is the addon or the computer but the icons I have part of the right side cutoff. And also include the sites descriptions/title under them. Then use the free space for some sort of search or maybe integrated Ubiquity.

    I also think it would be nice if users had some sort of control over the thumbnails

    Overall I think it’s a great idea, though it needs more development.

  111. Dan wrote on :

    It’s too slow to open a new tab with this. I need a new tab to be instantaneous. Also, my most common reason for opening a new tab is to start a search, so a search box would be good.

  112. julian cellini wrote on :

    Comments:
    1) my previous Home page (Google reader) don´t show in the list (maybe I never type the address?) I think that can be considered… I change the home page to “new tab”, now I lost a quick way to access Google Reader (I dont use bookmarks)

    2)have a couple sites that load via a redirect or something alike (the loading gmail page, for example)… the screenshot shows the “prepage”

    3)The RSS links overlaps the title of the next tab

    Great Job.

  113. Thomas wrote on :

    I’ve just discovered New Tab King : http://www.newtabking.com/

    It’s a great extension but it could be better with thumbnails of most visited sites :)

  114. absorbb wrote on :

    nice idea.

    bug: middle button clipboard selection in X window systems ignored by Contextual Action.

    And too much empty space now. I think “Contextual Actions” never fill all this space, and more space should be given to Quick-access Bar. And maybe 1/4 of page can be leaved for extensions. E.g for Gmail manager output or most interesting flickr photo.

  115. Jesse Andrews wrote on ::

    I’m sad I missed the original posts months ago. I posted an article about how new tab might be a good place to allow users to interact with extensions.

    http://overstimulate.com/articles/firefox-new-tab-addons

  116. Francisco wrote on ::

    hi,

    text to the left of the tabs is not easily scannable. It would be better if it were aligned with respect to a vertical line to the left of the tabs.

    Furthermore, I would like the area where are the tabs would scroll vertically.

  117. Scott wrote on :

    Installed about:tab 0.18, restarted, opened a new tab and got a blank page. When I typed about:tab in the address bar I got the new tab page.

    I’m using tab mix plus and had it set to open new tabs as blank. I suspect this is overriding about:tab.

    Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X 10.4; en-US; rv:1.9.2a1pre) Gecko/20090305 Minefield/3.2a1pre – Build ID: 20090305020302

  118. David Naylor wrote on ::

    Oh, now I see the favicons are already there. Great. I guess they will be more visible when the miniatures are greyscale. Beautiful.

  119. Galt wrote on :

    Lessee…streamlined, not distracting, instant load….

    What you’re talking about is having a new tab always open a local home page where you put exactly what you want to be able to do on a new tab: key links and any key search boxes that you can’t cover with customized keyword searches in the location bar.

    A page that tries to out-think you and load up thumbnails of stuff from all over the Web meets none of those criteria. No configuration?? Friends, configuration is the whole purpose of a computer.

  120. antistress wrote on ::

    Excellent

    Except that the text “Didn’t mean to close that” seems unclear and to long
    Why talking of what the user didn’t want ? talk of what he does want.

    Besides, i’d like to be able to re-open more than one page (why not the 5 last close tabs ?)

  121. Matt wrote on ::

    Aza – Firstly, I am really excited about your work on the New Tab page. I have hoped for this feature in Firefox for a long time. Right now I use the Fast Dial extension, which I love. But the work you are doing and the ideas you have put forth are much more exciting and innovative to me.

    Secondly, I think you should take your time on this and in true Mozilla fashion get it right before you get it done quick.

    So my feedback is as follows:
    -I like the idea of having the web sites positioned on the right side of the screen – that’s nice.

    -You should have a bit more content on the left. Maybe integrate some more ubiquity stuff there.

    -Try to get some feedback and polling data on what people do when they open a new tab. For instance if a ton of people simply open a new tab and they search for an address with Google Maps, they look at Flickr, Twitter, or Facebook – maybe have those options there ready to go.

    -I don’t like the little text that pops up to the left of the websites. It’s wayy to busy.

    -Make the new tab screen really clean for the final version but also add some nice typography and some big lettering. I like seeing some aesthetics. Make it Mozilla pretty.

    -Keep releasing these prototypes. I love seeing what you’re coming up with. Good work.

    -Matt

  122. Bjorn wrote on :

    About the RSS feeds. They are working. I didn’t realise one had to first visit the page. No thumbnails still though…

  123. David wrote on :

    “People open a new tab to do a search” This is what needs to be fixed. The search box is always available in the browser UI. Why doesn’t clicking the search button open into a new tab rather than replacing the current one? This should at least be an option under the “tabs” setup area.

  124. eyal wrote on :

    selection ignores hebrew characters

  125. eyal wrote on :

    doesn’t work with “tab clicking options” add-on when double-clicking on the tab bar

  126. Martin Tassara wrote on :

    Great!
    The home page should be an option inside the new page. I know I have the home button, but sometime I just forget about it.. And it seem you have some real state to spare!

  127. Michael wrote on :

    I really think Opera’s Quick Dial is the best implementation by far as an option for new tabs. The main reason being you can use a shortcut key for each of the 9 items. Safari’s implementation is far too flashy in my opinion, and Chrome’s without short keys to my knowledge is just slightly better than useless. That may be a bit harsh, but there’s no pattern to the order of items until a prolonged period of usage isn’t there? Honestly I only used Chrome once and was disappointed with it, so maybe it’s changed since then. Anyway think I’d stick to the speed dial plugin I use for Firefox.

  128. Ivanonymous wrote on :

    The more you reach out, the more magical the effect, so long as it doesn’t slow things down.

    On the evidence of Ubiquity, I trust y’all to be usefully clever, not “clever” like Clippy. If you can show me what I want without making me ask, I’ll love you for it.

  129. Loretta wrote on :

    US URL link is dead.

  130. Bjorn wrote on :

    Are the thumbnails and RSS feeds supposed to work in the latest nightlies of 3.2 (Minefield). I’m only getting some grey placeholders. In addition only one site, Google Reader, seems to be able to pull feeds.

  131. Alejandro Moreno wrote on :

    I haven’t tried the New Tab, but I think the command “New Tab” should be synonymous with “open Ubiquity”, except it would show visited pages on the right (I really liked that bit).

    I use FF all day, and I use keyboard shortcuts all the time. I also have Ubiquity, but I rarely use it. I’m much too used to select something, then Ctl-c, Ctl-t, Ctl-k, Ctl-v, Enter, when Ubiquity would be much faster. If Ubiquity (or something very similar) would take over at my Ctl-t, it would be a very pleasant experience, I think.

  132. Kabir wrote on :

    I am enraptured with a tab “full of blank”, myself. But it would be probably a good idea to give options: say, “featured” layout in Chrome style by default (with huge thumbnails for moms), polite layout to be chosen in Settings (with clean design for experienced users)—and, of course, old New Tab (really blank—for those who are worried about privacy).

  133. David Naylor wrote on ::

    I’m convinced it would be a good idea to add favicons to the mix (at original, 16 px size).

    People aren’t yet used to identify their favourite sites in the form of miniatures.

    Adding the favicons close to the page titles (aligned right or left of the titles, or above) would speed up the “glance-target-click” process.

  134. Aza Raskin wrote on ::

    @Jesse: Not in the current prototype is the ability to remove a site or rss from new tab page. That will keep your messages safe.

    @Johnathan: We’ve already implemented your open idea for when URLs are selected. All we have to do is update the XPI now :)

    @Axel: We can absolutely decouple RSS fetches from open the new tab.

  135. Kurt wrote on :

    How about making everything optional and customizeable like igoogle or my.yahoo.com?

  136. Rémy Rakic wrote on ::

    Interesting.

    I’m wondering whether the “undo tab close” could be expanded to more than one tab.

    With either a couple more links to recently closed tabs (as Chrome does), or a link/button that adds the entries shown by the History/”recently closed tabs” menu directly as links, inline inside this new tab page.

    Besides RSS, the quick access could also show the most frecent searches done eg. on google, google blog search and twitter search (as in the mockup), either from the places DB (but i guess that would probably require site specific searches – could be considered ok if it adds sufficient value) or only for the search engines that are available in the search box next to the awesome bar.

    Maybe the thumbnails in the quick access strip could get their colors back when you mouse over them, and the rss/info would get more contrast, both fading in.

    As for actions, i wanted to know what you meant by “selected”. The vast majority of my use is either paste some text to search, or a URL to get to, but this content could come from another application. That’s why I hope “selected” here means that it the action from the clipboard and not only from a firefox selection. From inside firefox, I select some text and right click to get a search *in* a new tab in one click, i wouldn’t copy text from a tab, open another tab, paste it into the search box, and then search.

    PS: i kinda wish the RSS area in the mockup were a bit wider, then everyone could have seen Sebastiaan’s (Cocoia) entire tweet, that would have been fun :)

  137. Ustice wrote on ::

    Great ideas. One thing that I would suggest is that this page be loaded any time that the address bar has its value changed by the user. Should the user change focus without actually signaling to change sites, then the original site should pop back. Maybe even keep the original site as a thumbnail on the new location page.

    For instance, say I am on Google News, and I decide to check out Homestarrunner.com, assuming that I am done with Google News, I just go up to the address bad (which highlights the text), and as soon as I type h, the page changes to the new site page with all relevant pages that start with H, and continues until either I finish the address, or click on one of the links. Should I decide to cancel the action either by hitting escape, Cmd/Ctrl+Z, or clicking a “Go back” link, the original URL is returned, and the page is restored.

  138. Jesse Ruderman wrote on ::

    I’m worried about the “over-the-shoulder privacy” implications of my new-tab page showing my latest emails. Can Firefox detect that my email feed is private and not include it in this ambient feed discovery process?

    Same with “recently closed tabs”: people looking over my shoulder don’t need to know what I just closed.

  139. Johnathan Nightingale wrote on ::

    Looking good – felt a little sluggish the first load (albeit during a session restore) – possibly while fetching thumbnails?

    I like putting things along the right hand side, as I said to beltzner, an earlier version that had them along the bottom (and on a gray background) made them feel less like part of the page, and more as a tool for navigating the white portion of the page.

    Pulling the RSS data is a really sharp idea – the list looked cluttered until I figured out what it was doing – maybe a couple points larger text for the titles so they stand out more?

    Having a URL in my clipboard when I opened it the first time, the button said “Search for http://…” where I would have expected “Go to http://…” or even just “http://…”. I *think* the consistent position and button styling should be enough to entice people to click, without needing to keep the “search for…” text constant – but maybe this was just a bug?

    The undo close tab segment is also a good idea, but the styling (and length of the text) makes it look like a blurb, not an actionable thing and so I ignored it at first. Could we make that more obviously action-capable, maybe using the standard “undo” glyph to reinforce the text?

    In my case, the recently closed tab’s title ended with a question mark, so the text scanned sort of oddly:

    “Didn’t mean to close that meandering wildly » Deep Packet Inspection Considered Harmful? tab?”

    Is there a way we can keep the tone, which I like, while putting more textual separation between the prompt and the page title, to prevent confusion, e.g.:

    [*] Deep Packet Inspection Considered Harmful? – Did you close this tab accidentally? _Bring it back!_

    Overall though, it’s nice to see some smarts emerging here. I think frecency+RSS is going to be the big win here since it has the potential to give users who have no idea what RSS is a way to nevertheless end up “subscribed” to favourite sites, which is something I think they would do if they knew they could. The search and undo close tab buttons are a very natural fit too, of course, but the frecent rss is where we can really provide meaningful content.

    Also, do you think it would be profoundly ugly to have the thumbnails use rounded corners like the other boxes on the page?

  140. Axel Hecht wrote on ::

    I don’t remember commenting before, so my use case for new-tab is usually getting the focus to the awesomebar. I actually find myself typing apple-n, apple-t, as apple-n puts the focus into the google search homepage (which I apparently don’t use anymore).

    On to the actual question, I have doubts on the reaching out to rss feeds. I don’t exactly know the inner workings, but it’d be not good if the loading of the feeds actually told the sites something about the user behaviour. If you’d load the feeds when the new tab opens, you could make educated guesses on the server side on how often your site is getting a ‘click through’ on the new tab page. Sounds involved and not precise, but you could probably get a ball park number.

    I’d make that optional, if at all, off by default. And if it’s on, I’d try to load the feeds in the background, and not on load of about:tab, to disguise the user’s behaviour.

  141. Thomas wrote on :

    Great work !

    My thoughts:
    The “search for ” is not a good idea. In my case the result is strange because right now I have an email in the clipboard.

    It’s full of … blank :) “Most visited sites” is too small and on the right! In the middle and in the bottom there is nothing!!!

    In my opinion Chrome and Safari 4 have the best solution: shortcuts to most visited / preferred websites must be the feature n°1 for a new tab.

    My mother is not a power user at all (last December she discovered … tabs!) but after she asks me how to display Google (the home page) when opening a new tab. It’s a kind of Top Sites restricted to the most visited.

  142. David wrote on :

    Simply put i love it, Fast, Simple and effective, please make this a standard feature in 3.5