This summer I’ve been working at Mozilla with the Firefox UX team. My main project of the summer was to research what the hometab of the future could and should be. I was to give Firefox a useful path to traverse and provide some ideas about the design and experience of the hometab in Firefox.

In starting this project I came up with some predispositions (pre-project thoughts) on hometab, and how people use the internet. I then completed three major types of research: competitor analysis, academic research, and user research. This research led me to the following insights:

Insights

  • We need to equip people with the right tools
  • allow for personal connections
  • gradually engage people within the hometab

From these insights I sketched and iterated on many concepts. I then built a prototype concept. I used this prototype for about two weeks and had my colleagues on the UX team use it as well. I asked for feedback on desires, problems, and future thoughts. With this data I created new mockups showing what I think the hometab of the future should be. These mockups show 10 features of hometab:

Features

  • Universal Search (across the web, your history, download, contacts, etc)
  • Stream (information guilt free way of browsing things you are interested in)
  • Web Apps
  • Sessions (an opt-in approach to restore previous sessions)
  • Contacts in the browser
  • Shared Content (a place to see everything you’ve shared across the web, because it’s important to you)
  • Bookmarks
  • History
  • Downloads
  • Firefox Sync

Hometab is laid out in a way to allow gradual engagement, quick access to important information, and personal connections.

Hometab with universal search and stream view

on Hover of Stream Items, an overlay appears

upon clicking a stream item, a large overlay appears with details and features

web apps that allow for badged notifications

ability to selectively restore tabs from previous sessions

showing contacts right in the browser

clicking a contact brings up an overlay with information and a conversation stream

content that you've shared across the web all in one place for easy findability

hovering over a shared content area brings up an overlay with more information

easy to get to bookmarks with location aware frequency

hovering over a bookmark takes away the favicon overlay and shows a preview of the site

quick searchable history with an option to see your full browsing history

easy to acess searchable downloads which the browser can open when possible

easy acess to Firefox tabs on other computers

Please keep in mind that this project was to map out a general direction for the Firefox UX team and to provide ideas and thoughts on the design and experience of Firefox hometab. In no way is my concept slated for inclusion in Firefox.

In the coming weeks I hope to expand upon this concept with more details about my process and the design shown above. Stay tuned!

Please let me know your thoughts and critique, as I strongly believe in getting good critiques.