As a user experience exploration, Ubiquity has been incredibly successful. Over a million downloads have highlighted the need for the web to be connected more tightly with by the power of task-based interfaces. Due to the passion of users, the user tutorial has been translated into ten languages. Similarly, the thousands of commands written for Ubiquity illustrate a latent desire to be able to write tiny amounts of code that enhance the web in fundamental ways.
We are currently working on bringing some of that power to Firefox. See the link for the goals and non-goals for Taskfox, which is what we call the Firefox feature inspired by Ubiquity. You can see some static mockups on the mockups page of the project wiki. Static mockups only get you so far, however. To really get a sense of how something feels, you need to touch it and see it in motion.
* The main thing we haven’t prototyped is the interaction of the awesome bar results and the Taskfox commands. We know that this is a major remaining question so we’ll be prototyping that soon. We’ve more or less ignored that interaction for this prototype.
* We’ve moved all modifiers into the suggestions area. That is, you can’t type “translate Hello, World into Japanese”. Instead, you type “translate Hello, World” and select Japanese inside the preview. This simplifies the interaction in the Awesome Bar, and makes the interface a bit more discoverable and localizable, at the cost of effortlessly typing what you want to do. Fortunately, everything in the preview will be keyboard navigatable so you’ll still be able to tab-and-type without using the mouse.
* Being able to navigate results with the keyboard is lacking in Ubiquity proper. We’ve tried to solve that in TaskFox.
* We’ve made “diving into results” a fundamental part of TaskFox. Clicking the more arrow (or using the right arrow keys) slides everything over for an ultra-fast way to checkout a more detailed view of information. See the video for more detail.
* We haven’t concentrated on visual style, so forgive it.
* You can drag results and they’ll “tear off” to form their own window. In this way, any result/detailed view can become more permanent. E.g., if you want to start a youtube video playing you can pull it off and place it in a corner of your screen while you continue browsing. The torn-off window can be re-docked into your tabs.
Try it out yourself
We have a weekly public meeting every Thursday at 3:00pm PDT (10:00pm UTC). These are open to everyone, no RSVP needed. To join in, dial in to one of the following numbers:
* +1 650 903 0800 x92 Conf# 8604 (US/International)
* +1 416 848 3114 x92 Conf# 8604 (Canada)
* +1 800 707 2533 (pin 369) Conf# 8604 (US Toll Free & Skype)
You can also join #fx-team to chat about Taskfox on IRC, or discuss it on the mozilla.dev.apps.firefox newsgroup. Anyone can help out by creating your own mockups or prototypes, filing bugs, write patches, and generally giving input.
– Aza Raskin, Blair McBride, and Alex Faaborg from the TaskFox team.