Some results from Firefox Beta usability testing

Our new release of mobile Firefox is now in Beta in the Google Play store. Time for some usability testing!

We ran 10 Android-using participants through some basic tasks. The purpose was to discover whether participants could easily perform basic tasks on their first exposure to the Firefox Mobile UI.

The good news: we found that participants could easily search, create a new bookmark, open a new tab, and find an existing tab, with few to no errors.

The open questions: typing, as expected, was a painful activity for participants: they had many typing errors. How can we help our users become faster, more accurate typers? Or, how can we help them avoid typing whenever possible? Definitely the planned inclusion of auto-complete Google searches into future versions will help a bit.

Finally, participants either ignored or were confused by the search accelerators in the Top Sites (see picture below). Instead of typing in a search term to search within Google, Amazon, Twitter, or Wikipedia, participants typed in the name of the site they wanted. For example, while searching for diamonds on Amazon, participants would type in “Ama” and then select “Amazon”, meaning that they searched Amazon for the term “Ama.” We are working with the mobile designers to figure out what this might mean and whether fixes are necessary.

Search accelerators in Firefox Mobile Top Sites

Search accelerators in Firefox Mobile Top Sites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Firefox Beta on Android in the Google Play store and let us know what you think!

4 responses

  1. Steve Fink wrote on :

    There’s got to be a way to make typing better. Typing on the iPhone is much better than on my Android (Droid X2). Is their hardware just better? I have no evidence for it, but I feel like the iPhone is doing something smarter than just creating hit regions for each key and then looking where most of the touch is (or the centroid or whatever). Maybe they look at the shape of the touch pattern, figure out which way your finger is likely to be tilting, and adjust the hit regions based on that. Or something; I’m just making stuff up.

    I just feel like Android is doing something wrong and the iPhone is doing it right. I really hope it isn’t due to patent bullsh#@t.

    Personally, I’ve switched to using Graffiti on my Android. It feels slightly slower but more predictable and accurate. (As in, I stick with it even if it feels like it may be a bit slower, because it doesn’t piss me off like the keyboard entry does. Oh, and I have a decent chance of typing accurately when not looking.)

  2. Jan wrote on :

    With respect to the search accelerators, couldn’t you first say:
    Search for “Ama”

    And underneath that, the line:
    with Google Search
    or:
    in Amazon.com, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc… .

    I would do a small test with that to see if that isn’t already sufficient enough… .

  3. Rui Ponte wrote on :

    Always keep in mind to design for small screens and reduce the “fat finger syndrome”. The design shoul be adapted to the hardware.

  4. Rui Ponte wrote on :

    Always keep in mind to design for small screens and reduce the “fat finger syndrome”. The design shoul be adapted to the hardware.