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Firefox Home Tab Concept

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:

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Sharing in Firefox

Most of us like to share things with people that we know. This is one reason that flickr, facebook, and twitter became so popular. Sharing is huge. It’s likely that if you’ve used the internet, you have shared something with someone. Many of us share different things through many different networks. This can be quite a pain. There are many add-ons that tackle this very issue. However, the browser can make sharing easier by integrating sharing into the browser. If we know what social networks you use, by what passwords you’ve saved in Firefox, it should be pretty easy to enable sharing in Firefox.

In looking at this problem I’ve come up with the following design:

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Critique Culture and Where I Failed

So, I’ve been thinking a lot of process, especially about how critique fits into process both in academia and in the workplace. In academia we are constantly pushed to have our work critiqued, which is absolutely fantastic. However, what I failed to realized, despite all my preaching about getting feedback and critique as often as possible, is that in academia critique comes to you. Often times it simply wasn’t necessary to go out and explicitly ask for critique for someone. Someone was constantly around, and usually looking over your shoulder. They would just walk up and say what they thought. This is absolutely fantastic, but it’s unlike the real world which I’ve experience here at Mozilla. While we work strongly in teams, we often perform a lot of work on our own. This work happens at our own desk on our own computers. While working at our desk, everyone at the same time, it’s very unlikely that someone is just going to come up and start talking about what you are working on at that very moment. Sure people come by your desk and talk, and once in a while it’s relevant to the stuff you were working on that particular moment. But often, it’s not. This means that the work you are performing right now is being looked at by you, and likely only you. Despite our somewhat deepest fears, our colleagues are not looking over our shoulders. No one is peeping at our computers secretly judging us and see how many times we log into twitter and facebook. It’s just not happening for the majority of us, especially in our field.

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Firefox Home Tab Concepts

As you may know, I’ve been doing a lot of researching and thinking about post Firefox 4 Home Tab during my internship here at Mozilla. I’ve taken the research I’ve conducted, my colleagues thinking, experience and ideas, along with my own experience and ideas and put together some wireframes. These sketches represent some very basic directions that we could take with the Home Tab.

It’s important to note that these concepts represent some very basic and rough ideas of what the home tab could look like in the future. These are in no way absolute directions, but rather provide some jumping off points for future work.

That being said, let’s frame these concepts a bit better.

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Design Week Open Studios

Last week AIGA in partnership with IxDA and other organizations held Design Week. The week held many events but what I found most interesting were the Open Studios. These are times in which different studios across San Francisco opened their doors to the public. Most of these studios had food and drink for patrons and gave tours talking about their own studio. While touring around these studios I took a bunch of photographs in order to really see how these studios operate, better reflect on design practices, as well as take some new ideas with me to the new IU HCID studio which is currently under construction. I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I enjoyed touring these studios. I would like to thank the following studios for hosting myself and many others during design week: IDEO, Adaptive Path (where my awesome friend Dane Petersen works), Fuse Project, Hot Studio, New Deal Design, Ammunition LLC, Lunar Design, Frog Design, Smart Design, and Astro Studios.

Below are some of my favorite photographs. You can find the entire set at: http://picasaweb.google.com/johnwaynehill/DesignWeek2010.

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