Awesome Bar Previews for Faster Surfing

Ed Lee


Our first Prospector experiment, Speak Words, helps you quickly find the websites you love. It immediately suggests the rest of the word after you type just one letter and highlights the result so you are ready to go.

Looking through the reviews and responses to Speak Words, we have noticed that people love it a lot, and it sounds like the add-on does a great job of finding the website that users are expecting. So we would like to make the experience even better by not just showing the result but also loading the website as a preview.

With Instant Preview, results that get highlighted in the Awesome Bar suggestions will automatically start loading, so by the time you confirm that the first result is the one you want, the page may be ready for you to use.

Additionally, for some pages that you only need to glance at to check up on some information, e.g., the weather, stocks, or comics, you can let the page load as a preview, and once you are done, hit <Esc> to get rid of the preview and return to where you left off.

If the first result shown in the Awesome Bar is not quite what you wanted, you can still scroll through the other suggestions as usual, but now the highlighted suggestions will also load as a preview, so you can check if it is the page you want before selecting it.

Instant Preview is best used with Speak Words, and the easiest way to get both is by installing Lab Kit on a Firefox 4 Beta. But you can also install the two individually without too much trouble as all of these add-ons do not require restarting the browser.

Please try it out and leave comments on what you think about the previews or have ideas on how to improve the experience of quickly getting back to pages that you want. If you want to follow the development or file issues, check out Prospector on GitHub.