Fast is the perfect pace for the best experience – that’s what Dominik Strohmeier, Product Manager for the new Firefox Quantum, has been working on for months. How does it feel? Pretty amazing!
Time is one of the most valuable aspects of our lives. There’s a reason time is considered the fourth dimension in space – and not just because of Einstein. Dominik Strohmeier knows how to transform time into something that feels just right for everyone, every moment – a perfectly paced experience. Rolling with the flow. As Product Manager for Firefox’s new browser, Firefox Quantum, Dominik is working with his team on the fastest browser experience out there, one that focuses on the user’s individual preferences, and a joy to use while surfing the web. The perfect pace for the best outcome. How we define “perfect pace” changes depending on how each of us uses the web. Because web time acts like real time, it can stretch or shrink.
The secret of the perfect now is part of our perception of time
Take Dominik’s own time perception: when he struggles awake and turns to his baby son, he wants the moment to never end. A still treasure in a hectic morning, when time takes on a perfect pace. Time is subjective, hard to pin down. The same amount spent in traffic or rushing to a meeting feels painfully slow and hard to bear.
These different facets of time perception are the main focus for Dominik and his team. “A browser is expected to be fast, to run smoothly and work perfectly. If something runs fast from a technical perspective, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s perceived as fast from the user’s perspective. And to be ‘fast’ can be perceived very differently in various dimensions.”
Firefox Quantum is designed to run fast in any situation
It’s Dominik’s job to explore these various dimensions of perceived time and the experiences they create, unifying them into a solution that not only enhances the technical performance of the browser but makes this optimization perceptible, palpably felt by someone using the browser. A complex task, given that our sense of time is so subjective. Think about it: if you concentrate on time, it passes by very slowly. When you’re waiting for a web page to load, for instance.
How can you be “in the flow” with time? Simple: you just need to use it wisely. Maybe it’s the job, but Dominik’s a maestro at this, both at work and at home.
Finding a balance between technical rapidity and sensible speed
Finding socks, juggling breakfast, getting the older one dressed for kindergarten and the little one snug in the sling, they finally hit the road while his wife hits the pillow. Time speeds up in the early morning hours. After dropping off his eldest at the kindergarten, Dominik and the baby come back home and together wake his wife. Dad changes into his running clothes. On his morning route to work, he slows down inside while his body speeds up. This is his time. “I run to the office. It’s four kilometers, the perfect track along the Spree river. When I arrive at the office, I drink my coffee, slow down, sweat the hectic away. I really like that moment,” he explains.
Dominik tries to translate these variations in speed to his work at Mozilla. “We need to overcome the subjective element because we want to optimize for the many. We need to find a middle path, a consensus between technical rapidity and sensible speed.”
With Firefox Quantum, also known as the Firefox Update 57, the browser becomes as fast as most people dream. For Dominik, “Quantum always loads those elements first that are important to the intention of the user. This varies according to what we do on the web: search, social media, shopping or using web apps. The browser loads what the user most urgently wants to see. In that way, you wouldn’t feel like you were waiting. Because it’s not only about page load-times alone. It’s about how one wants to interact with the web.”