Recently, Mozilla Firefox has been challenged on my desktop as the default browser. I keep flip-flopping between Google Chrome and Firefox 3.5. I was really excited to see Aza Raskin taking the UX reigns at Firefox to see what someone with creative mojo could do with such a powerful program. At first, the ideas were flowing out like a raging river, but there has been a strange outcome. Firefox 3.5 is about to come out and I see virtually zero new UX features from 3.0.
Sure, the HTML and JS rendering is faster with TraceMonkey and they support new elements with HTML like <video>, but I was really hoping that the tabs would be different or Ubiquity would come standard. In Firefox 3.5, they still don’t have the Brady bunch squares or something comparable. I saw a plugin for Jetpack, but honestly, I don’t know what it’s for and it says jQuery all over it. Am I missing something?
I am really drawn to Chrome for a couple of reasons. First, the tabs design is brilliant. The use of space is just awesome, not to mention the great interaction of dragging the tabs around or creating new windows. Secondly, the speed is noticeable. It launches faster and everything seems peppier. What I hate, hate, hate about chrome are the developer tools. Element Inspector is just enormously painful to use. (I can’t find a homepage for it anywhere)
I love Firefox’s mojo. I love that they are non-profit and are up against much bigger and better resourced competitors like Google, Apple and Microsoft. How do they do that? They deserve my loyalty for sure. I also love the plugins, especially Firebug and the Web Dev Toolbar. The thing that they need to step up is the innovation. I feel like they got leap-frogged by Webkit.
I want to be loyal to Firefox because they share my values, but I am tempted to switch browsers because I love new shiny stuff. Oh, the dilemma!
In case Aza Raskin reads this, I have an idea: Try auto-hide on the top menu. Let it collapse away when I don’t need it. If I need to hit the back button, I would move my mouse up to the top and the menus would slide over the content. (Don’t resize the content)