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Firefox Hometab

Quick access, personal connections, gradual engagement


Over the summer of 2010, I worked at Mozilla as a User Experience Intern. My main project was to research and design the home tab for post-Firefox 4. I was to give Firefox team a useful path to traverse and provide some ideas about the design and experience of the home tab. My design allows users quick access to important information, creates personal connections, and allows for gradual engagement. This design features a guilt-free information stream, universal search across your data, web apps, and more.

Firefox Home Tab by John Wayne Hill

Design Process

My process was spread out over 2 1/2 months. It included a competitor analysis, academic and secondary research, primary research on how people use home pages today, golden questions, ideation through sketching, prototyping, presentations, and communication, as well as leading various groups of people through mini design sessions. From this process I gleaned 3 major insights: equip people with the right tools, allow for personal connections, gradual engagement.

Final Concept

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 home tab of the future should be.

The mockups below show 10 features of home tab:

  • 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)
  • Bookmarks
  • History
  • Downloads
  • Firefox Sync


After spending a summer designing this concept, I can say that I’m very pleased with the turnout. I got to use many design tools, methods, and theories throughout my process. I was able to successfully lead design sessions with non-designers, and communicate my design to various members of Mozilla. I was also able to present my ideas to over 500 people, and conduct lots of iterations. In the end, the UX team seemed very happy with the work I performed and the design and path that I laid out before them.