As you may know, I’m currently working as User Experience Intern at Mozilla. I’ve been tasked with designing the next generation Firefox Home Tab. I wanted to share what work I’ve done so far and give a general update on what I plan on doing in the near future. I will be routinely updating the progress and my work on this project as the summer goes forward. So check back often to keep updated on what I’m doing.
I think it’s important to know right off the what we (the UX team) are imagining for the new home tab. We do not imagine the new home tab to be a content aggregation service, but rather we hope to fully understand and push the boundaries of what we (as a browser) can do that websites might not be able to do well. I’ve come up with some approaches that I’ve been looking at to use while designing, which I’ve listed below.
Possible Design Tools
- Golden Questions
used to understand many different perspectives
- Secondary Research
what research has been done so far by academia and other industry players?
- User Research
understand what users of home pages via surveys, possible interviews
- Data Aggregation
bring together all data points, see trends, gather insights
generate multiple ideas on what we can do as a browser
- Design Lunch
group brainstorming to get multiple view points and crazy ideas
to get ideas out of our heads
- Concepting, Ideating
to fully explore a design space
to further explore a particular design
- User Studies
to understand gaps and problems with a design or concept
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This summer (actually I already started) I will be working with Mozilla on the Firefox User Experience team. I couldn’t be more excited or happy. Firefox is a great product that has around 370 million users worldwide. This is a huge audience for which to design and will come with many challenges. I look forward to tackling these challenges head on with all that I have learned about design. I also hope to learn more than ever about designing in the real world, working with real people, on stuff that will actually be in the world and used by millions. It’s scary as hell and I love it!
Reflection Thus Far
In thinking about the past (almost) two weeks, I can already seen how things have changed for me a bit. I’ve started to understand how UX teams might work in real world companies, specifically companies that are developer centric. Furthermore, I’ve started to understand the unique challenges that come with designing open source software. There are so many people involved, so many opinions, and so very many valid use and edge cases. It’s superbly interesting and a little overwhelming. I’m starting to look through my toolset and understand what tools I have that can best be used within a community such as Firefox. My colleagues (wow, that’s awesome to say) have blogged about some of these things as well. I work with really smart and amazing people. I’m very grateful for their help and support thus far.
You might want to have a look at what Alex Faaborg, Jennifer Borris, Aza Raskin, and Alex Limi are saying. It’s awesome!
The first week here I was a sponge, running around trying to soak up as much information as possible. It also happened to be an intensive work week where we had all of our remote people in the office. It was a really great week where I learned quite a bit about how things work at Mozilla and the direction that Firefox was taking. I also got to participate in many quick design meetings where we discussed and ideated on designs. Furthermore, I was able to give my opinion on some Bike Sheding issues and I really felt welcomed.
This week (my second) I’ve started my first project and helped the team on some other stuff. Limi and I filled a bazillion bugs for the Firefox Papercuts issues (see his presentation on the topic). So now I have a great grasp on filling bugs within bugzilla. My new project involves doing a good amount of research on what the next generation “home tab” might look like for the web. I really like this project thus far as it really allows me to stretch my imagination and think about the future of the web and how it can be better designed for people.
So far, I’m having a great time. The Bay Area is fantastic. Mozilla is really great, and I love the people on the UX team. Plus I’m working for an organization that has a dino head for a logo. How cool is that!
Life is good.