On-demand categories and tab assist

It’s barely been one week since releasing AwesomeBar HD, and since then there’s been a lot of great feedback through the forums and user testing. We’re now on version 5, and there definitely will be more in the future to adjust the look as well as provide features like customization.

Early on, many users pointed out that the categories took up too much space in the location bar and would prefer more of the url to show. Since then, we’ve gotten rid of the “go to a website” link, hidden the url protocol (e.g., http://), and made sure the url path used up as much empty space as possible.

But the biggest gain in space for the url comes from not showing the categories by default (in addition to removal of the separate search bar). Now the categories only appear when a user starts navigating such as opening a new tab or clicking the location bar.

Secure website identity with full domain

There was also some concerns about phishing early on when short urls were being shown. AwesomeBar HD always made sure to display the full domain, but now the add-on emphasizes that fact by differently coloring the domain from the rest of the url. This combined with the identity block for sites using https should help users feel safer on the web.

Tab assist

Pressing tab in the location bar switches through the categories in either direction, but some users would never think of doing that and would be forced to always use the mouse to first pick a category. For now we’re trying out a little bubble that hopefully helps the user find out about this feature.

Keyword completion reminder

The bubble informs what’s coming up next so that users don’t need to look too far right and then all the way back left to see where they are going. Additionally it’ll highlight differently if the user types out the beginning of a keyword as a hint that no more typing is necessary.

If you’ve previously tried out AwesomeBar HD on Firefox 4, please let us know on the forums if the new changes are better or not for you. You can also take a look at a list of changes in each of the previous versions and submit issues or suggestions on GitHub.

Ed Lee on behalf of the Prospector team
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