The user experience for opening up a new tab in Firefox is somewhat lacking: you are greeted by an intimidating, blank canvas with no hint of what to do. Could Firefox be doing something better with it? The answer is almost certainly yes, but the question is what?
Initial Ideas & Mockups
To get the ball rolling, we are highlighting two early concepts.
The first is Aza Raskin’s Contextual New-Tab Actions, which is a look at using the power of context and contextual actions to enhance the browsing experience through a smarter new tab. Its main goals are to:
- Simplify the common actions, like being on a page and needing to perform a look-up on some text. Right now you have to copy the text, open a new tab, go to a new web service, and paste it in. If the browser knows you’ve just selected an address and then opened a tab, it knows you’ll probably want to map it. Let’s give the user one-click access to mapping it.
- Streamline your habits. If you always visit TechCrunch after reading Slashdot, the browser can offer you one-click navigation from a new tab.
- Super-charge search. You often go to a new tab to start a search action: Make that front and center.
The ideas are meant to be mix-and-match, not necessarily all used together.
The second is Atul Varma’s Ambient News, an experiment into how Firefox could learn from your habits to give you the news you care about in the new tab area. Its goal are to:
- Provide the user with zero-configuration news about the sites that they visit frequently.
- Explore how to bring the benefits of RSS to a wider audience.
So what do you think about these ideas? They are not meant as static artifacts, but as a launchpad for thinking about better ways to use the new-tab workflow. There are two ways in which you can participate in the design process: