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Mozilla Labs Design Challenge: 5 of 5 Designs fail

Mozilla Labs just asked everyone to vote for their favorite concept of the new home tab.

This is the last step of the Mozilla Labs Design Challenge in which users where asked to illustrate their ideas of the Hometab (Read more about it).

You may have a look at the 5 results after you added your eMail-Address to register yourself for voting.

This is why I am writing about it: I am sorry to say it but in my opinion all five designs fail to show a good, easy, usable concept for the hometab. I am sure everyone who contributed spend some time on their ideas (and the video they created for it) and that is a great contribution to the community (thanks!).

But from a UX and usability point of view those designs don't show a solution. Instead they are great examples of how to clutter an interface with tons of features and loose all simplicity in this process.

At least I dont see my hometab as a dashboard of widgets that show and pull tons of information on a small space, as one contribution suggested. If you want this, make your Netvibes Page or iGoogle Page your homepage. Or add yourself a weather-widget to you operation system. Dont look at the hometab as if there where no OS, Widgets and Apps around your browser. At least not until Chrome OS rules us all.

And I dont want it to be a copy of my social networks as well. I have my Tweet-App, Newsreader and all the other good apps for that. None of those apps could be as good as the apps that are already out there for years with their own community an user base. Try using Flock „the social browser" that no one uses.

And I dont want a hometab that changes every time I visit a website. Even Microsoft got it know that formulas that try to adapt to users behavior are much less effective than a UI that reinforces habits. When I am used to seeing my facebook-link at the bottom of the list I will find it there without thinking. Dont move everything around just because I use it.

That being said I voted with one 1 and four 0 on the challenge and hope, the UI-experts at mozilla will take over from here.

Its will be interesting to see if this kind of open source design will produce any mentionable results in the future. And how this design challenge will influence the community-process.

7 Kommentare

  1. Davide 'Folletto' CasaliNo Gravatar ( 17.02.10 21:00 Direktlink

    Since I completely agree with you, I'd like to hear your feedback about my submission. I hope I wasn't in the 5 the system gave you. ;)

    You can see it here:

    Thanks. :)

  2. TJNo Gravatar ( 17.02.10 21:15 Direktlink

    Hi Davide, so the 5 submissions I see on the page are only a selection and there are more? Oh, I didnt understand that yet, thanks for pointing out. Yours wasnt one of them, but I will certainly have a look soon :).

  3. Arthur KlepchukovNo Gravatar ( 17.02.10 21:18 Direktlink

    I completely agree with you. I think this applies to most submissions, which is why I went a radically different route with something much simpler:

  4. Davide 'Folletto' CasaliNo Gravatar ( 17.02.10 21:34 Direktlink

    Yes, it's a selection of 5, I think it's done to avoid the „call all your friends yo vote" issue. :)

    The interesting part is that the brief itself says: „An explicit non-goal of this challenge is to design something like My Yahoo, iGoogle or similar start pages that let you put widgets/gadgets." ;)

  5. EugeNo Gravatar ( 17.02.10 21:57 Direktlink

    Well, I think that your point of view is a valid one. But as a participant of an old design challenge I must say that the idea of mozilla and the design challange is to have new ideas and let the people (real users) to participate with their ideas and opinions. Maybe they won't implement non of those ideas, but certainly they come from real users, who are not designers (UX, IxD related) or programmers, but they know what they want (sometimes!).
    By the other hand It would be nice to see a design that could take a little bit further the functionality of the home tab.

  6. Natanael LNo Gravatar ( 18.02.10 17:16 Direktlink

    I'd like to add that I think that there should be some „dynamicness" in the page.
    Maybe it should have „widgets", but not iGoogle style, rather in a „Firefox data & controllers" style.

    It should be „subtle", as in never trying to steal your focus.
    It could tell you how many unread emails you have, it could have a static link list, a search box, and a few more things.

    I like these ideas:

    You should be able to mark something as interesting for now when bookmarking a tab, and have it listed on your home tab.

    It should probably also have Ubiquity built in by some means, and have some suggested commands listed below the „text bar". Maybe in the search box.
    Or the adress bar could be „integrated" so that when you've got that tab open, the search bar becomes the search/Ubiquity bar that allows you to control everything in the browser, including the home tab.
    It should be obvious that the adress bar „is a part of" the home tab then.

    Maybe it should have tabs of it's own. The main page would be as clean possible. It could also indicate which other tabs that has an update. There could alos be a dynamic tab that shows updates only.

    I'm not sure on how it should look, just that I want flexibility.

  7. TamimNo Gravatar ( 20.02.10 0:12 Direktlink

    I really just jumped through the videos. Didn't liked one of them. Voted all with 1. My advice is: Please make Firefox much faster and reduce the clutter. The internet defines the browser and not the browser defines the internet. Everybody has his own habits. Don't force us into a certain direction. Ubiquity didn't really work for me. Why? I didn't need it. But you could use the idea of ubiquity inside the browser input field.

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