Labs ideas to investigate survey results

“Wow!” is all I can say. I didn’t quite expect this level of response to the recent Labs survey about areas for investigation but I’m really thrilled to have your feedback and participation. Here’s the survey summary.

As of August 30th, we received approximately 1800 completed surveys. Here are some of the stats:

  • Almost 20% provided comments in the survey itself or as a blog comment
  • About 4.2% felt that there was nothing from the listed browsers that was interesting (or simply provided comments but didn’t check any feature)
  • In terms of browser interestingness, here’s how the browsers stacked up. Opera (80%), Safari (71%), Flock (38%), IE7 (70%). (Interesting being defined as one or more features from existing browsers was selected as “interesting”.)

For features, here is the top quartile of features ranked by percentage of total votes received:

Feature Percent
Safari:Inline PDF viewing 71.1%
IE7:Full page zoom 54.3%
Safari:Private browsing (visited pages are not cached) 40.9%
Opera:Built-in BitTorrent client 37.1%
Opera:Drag-n-drop interface customization 34.6%
IE7:Vista Protected Mode support 34.0%
IE7:RSS feeds platform (making feeds available to other apps) 32.9%
Opera:Site-specific preferences 31.2%
Flock:Online bookmark management integration 27.8%

Below is the full vote result:

Opera Survey Results

Safari Survey Results

Flock Survey Results

IE7 Survey Results

We’ll be using all your survey and blog comments to help populate the Ideas area of Labs. Stay tuned. There were many comments essentially saying that people didn’t want to see Firefox bloated with extraneous features…I think that message came loud and clear.

19 responses

  1. arielb wrote on :

    inline pdf? does that mean I don’t have to wait 5 years to load up acrobat just to see a pdf? Yes, that would be good

  2. arielb wrote on :

    The fact is that features do sell the browser but it takes the right features. If there is one feature that “did” it for the Firefox switch, it is tabs. This is something that simplifies the vast amount of information that’s out there in a clear, easy to use way.

    I think the next big feature could be clippings-the ability to bookmark part of a webpage. Clipboards in general are minimal in Windows…the Office clipboard is very good but you don’t find it in the browser and it’s certainly not integrated with bookmarks.

    I think we’re running into a major problem with extensions. Yes, a firefox without any extensions has less bloat but it’s superficial. Everyone seems to want quite a few not so esoteric features and we have a mess! UI bloat with options menus everywhere, lack of QA and major memory bloat. There are the support issues and of course you have to really look for these things. It makes for a wonderful chaotic pool of ideas but at a major cost of usability.

  3. Anonymous wrote on :

    Some of the things listed do not belong as features in the browser. Take for example IRC client. We already have Chatzilla. It works fine as a Firefox plug-in. In the long-term future it may be a separate application running on XUL-runner featuring Cross-app integration with other xulrunner apps including Firefox. (Indeed both of those apps have been mentioned in the context of xulrunner hosted apps.

    For the shorter term, it would make more sense to be an included plug-in in a “Batteries Included” download of firefox. (I.E. comes with common plug-ins and plug-ins that provide commonly requested features). The plug-ins included with that would all be well tested, and known to work properly.

  4. Sohil wrote on :

    Bloat is adding unnecessary new features not enhancing current ones. Native PDF Support, Safari Like RSS Reader (or better yet, like Flock) and Drag & Drop Functionality are something I would love to see.

    Bittorrent meh. I have Azureus.

    Site Specific Options. Yes Please.

    Web Snippets. Yes, Blogs No.

    Online Sync. Sure.

    Leave a browser as a browser

    About the Drag and Drop, You can drag something from the Menu Bar to the Status Bar. You can’t do that in Firefox. And you can put individual bookmarks anywhere you want in Opera, not in Firefox.

    I filed a bug about this but it was repeatably WONTFIXED

  5. Sam Hasler wrote on :

    I assume the vast majority of the people responding were Firefox users, although there may have been some users of other browsers who keep and eye on Fx development. It would have been interesting if you had also asked what people’s primary browser was, so that you could separate the results by browser and see what features are possibly keeping people on other browsers, which features Fx users were envious of and which features were desired regardless of browser.

    Assuming there were differences you could then make decisions based on whether you wanted to add features your current userbase wants or features that users of other browsers desire and which might increase your market share. The former might make sense if you think that people are sticking to other browsers for reasons other than the lack of a specific feature in Fx and therefore pursuing the latter would not lead to growth. OTOH you might think that current users have learnt to deal with some of the inadequacies of Fx and aren’t the best indicators of where change is needed and would benefit just as much from the changes that users of other browsers prefer.

  6. theo wrote on :

    Even though I personally hate Acrobat (especially its INSANE, multi-reboot requiring auto-update feature), I’m surprised by how much dissatisfaction there is with Adobe’s bloatware: over 70% of respondents.

    If I were Mozilla, I would start discussing the bundling of alternative PDF viewers. Even if Mozilla decides not to go that route, the threat of migrating 15% of web users away from Acrobat Reader should be enough to force Adobe to focus on improving performance.

  7. Greg wrote on :

    What I can’t understand about the Drop ‘n’ Drag is why can’t I custom the status bar? If someone wants to have the address bar down there, why can’t they? It would improve customisation a great deal.

  8. Riggs wrote on :

    I just really care about two things:

    First, and a must for me: KDE integration. In Windows, Firefox is my browser of choice. In Linux, does not stand a chance against Konqueror because of its total lack of integration
    And second: Optimize it possible, it needs to feel more responsive, again, specially this is worse on Linux.

  9. Pablo Rodríguez wrote on :

    I think now Firefox needs to optimize memory and speed. But i think this features do not result in a loss of memory nor speed: The Built-in BitTorrent Client and Private Browsing

    Those pair of features are for me good ones to start. BitTorrent is an open standard who needs a little push. ¿why not this way?

    And private browsing will be fastly develped and a good tool when one person is using a shared computer.

    PDF built-in reader is the next, because this document format is very extended, and Adobe Acrobat seems to make its client bigger and slower.

  10. wupperbayer wrote on :

    To Ian and Jesse, wondering about Drag ‘n’ Drop: Have you ever right-clicked on a toolbar (except menu bar) and choosed “Customize”? Because then you see what’s Drag ‘n’ Drop: You can drag nearly any object to nearly any toolbar, just as you want. Furthermore, you can just drag links to the tab bar (creating a new page) or to your address / personal bar to create a shortcut to that link. That is possible with opened tabs and even the URL bar, too. You can also simply drag tabs outside the Opera window so they are in a window of their own instead of being inside the main window – or drag them into a second opened Opera window. As far as I know that isn’t possible in Firefox, and I miss especially the last thing – to drag tabs around between windows as I want to.

    To the AdBlock thingie: I don’t know if Mozilla is ever going to integrate AdBlock’s full functions into Firefox, because there would be serious (and legitimate) complaints from ad-driven web sites.

  11. Fafek wrote on :

    Make, for example, certification of extensions. Certificated extensions will be technically supported by Mozilla, will be fully integrated and working with browser. They could be promoted in Mozilla Firefox on Add-ons screen ie “From Internet”. Window could have a label “Optional extensions for browser available to install, recommended by Mozilla:” and link “Download more extensions contributed by users” etc.

    I want flexible browser with the most important functionality “out-of-box”, but I should have an ability to choose optional components, which could be even supported or developed by Mozilla.

    Integration with social bookmarking service is a great idea, but… I think browser should not suggest any service. Developes should cooperate with as much such service as possible and when browser will be available give user a chance to choose 5 or more services.

    If you really don’t want to implement RSS reader in 2.0 but integrate with third-party services there should be more wide choice with option to install other readers support.

  12. Ian wrote on :

    Inline PDF viewing is clearly very popular.. but the Adobe plugin sucks how it knackers Firefox till it’s loaded. Does the multi-threading patch fix this?

    Drag + Drop – I’m with Jesse, exactly how are we lacking here? (unless it meant like IE/Office toolbars – personally, I’d prefer to not drag it around accidentally)

    Full page zoom – I’m with Jens here, the Opera way of doing this is probably better

    AdBlock – why still no mention of improving this functionality?

    Feed handling – why still nothing like Sage I have no idea. Feed viewing is really nice, but Live Bookmarks suck. Badly. At least show a tooltip for the feed snippet for crying out loud!

    Bittorrent – yes. As some Firefox dev said before, remove functionality, meaning remove unneeded UI functionality, not invisible auto-carried-out functionality. Bittorrent that “just works” like a download is something that just makes sense to add.

    You know, with stuff that is really extension material (IRC chat – lets turn back to Seamonkey eh? :)), once Firefox is installed, perhaps a built in window (seen if users tick a box or something) where users get a list of key/popular/well tested by AMO extensions, along with a brief description, then can tick the ones they want, and have them auto-installed?

  13. Fafek wrote on :

    “There were many comments essentially saying that people didn’t want to see Firefox bloated with extraneous features…I think that message came loud and clear.”

    You should add:
    “So, none of these will be implemented. Some people don’t want to see Firefox new features, so we will not bother ourselves about new functions, becuase SOME PEOPLE will not use them. It’s easier for us.”

    Fo example, so called “live bookmarks”. Maybe it made RSS feeds more popular, but who actually subscribe them in Firefox? Clicking middle button – closes all your tabs (and you can’t undo for God sake). Click left button – oh, let’s see… headlines! Nothing more. Click one headlines and we’re on a RSS’ host website. Fastest and more comfortable way is just navigate to that news site and browse the news in old-fashioned way.
    Better way is to use Thunderbird, but it is not fully-featured RSS reader.

    So when? Maybe Firefox 11? Aprox. ten years, right? Oh, no! Please, I beg to be excused! I’ve forgot about Fibonacci thing. Mozilla wants everything perfect, even version numbers. So, it’ll be… Firefox 13?

  14. Synonymous wrote on :

    > In terms of browser interestingness, here’s how the browsers stacked up.
    Considering that none of these has any significant market share (including IE7), that really is not relevant or even interesting.

  15. Jens wrote on :

    why was “Page Zoom” taken as a feature of IE7 and not as a feature from Opera?

    The Opera implementation is IMHO the better one since it tries to keep the content within the visible window, lets text reflow etc.

    IE7 instead zooms the page “as is” and forces to scroll horizontally immediately 🙁

  16. Seamus wrote on :

    Personally I would find full-page zoom a god-send for web designing. It takes out the huge headache of worrying about breaking the layout with increased text size. Plus, it improves (that I assume) accessibility.

  17. Damjan wrote on :

    About Safari features:
    – Private browsing would be a nice feature – no caching, no history, no nothing.. Firefox in a RO mode.
    – PDF preview would be ok, but only if it doesn’t stop the browser (like the Acrobat plugin in Windows .. I don’t know a single person that likes it)

    Opera feature (I’ve not used it much):
    – it’s strange that people ask for better UI cusotmization… I alredy can suit Firefox better to my needs than Opera.
    – Bittorent might be usefull, OTOH standalone clients are very rich in features, something Firefox would never be. And bittorent is not usefull for HTML pages anyway.
    – Jabber support would be interesting. Jabber provides presence and *identity* and also Pub/Sub .. if this could be well integrated with the backends … Web 3.0 :). Jabber (or should I say XMPP) also supports audio/video even whiteboarding etc..

  18. Jesse Ruderman wrote on :

    What does “Opera:Drag-n-drop interface customization” refer to? Firefox’s toolbars are already pretty customizable and the interface is drag-and-drop.

  19. Boris wrote on :

    I have to wonder…. how many of the respondents know what “Vista Protected Mode support” is and what effect it has on our security story?