Firefox UI improvements

Asa of the Mozilla Foundation has revealed some very interesting screenshots of new enhancements that will appear in future Mozilla Firefox versions.

The first one is of the Firefox secure site notification UI. Right now, if you visit a secure site in Firefox (or for that matter, any web browser that I can think of), a small lock appears in the bottom corner of your browser window, which 99% of web users probably never notice nor care about.

So going with the theme that Firefox is a 1000x more secure and reliable then public enemy #1, this is the new improved secure site notification UI:

As you can tell, the security lock now appears right on the address bar instead of stuffed in the bottom corner of the screen.

Few comments on this: wondefully done. Very noticable, not in your way, and easy to fgure out. The only concern I have is that with Javascript the address bar could be turned off. That is, it can be turned off at the moment. I have a feeling that in the near future Firefox will prevent certain toolbars like the address bar from being turned off by web sites.

Next screenshot of a UI change: the bookmarks manager.

Looks like bookmarks are going to be much much easier to organize. Without actually using it (right now, all I have seen is this screenshot) and relying on what Asa says, it sounds like a small but great improvement in bookmark management.

I might have to ditch this 0.9 release and upgrade to a nightly build. I love these changes.

5 replies on “Firefox UI improvements”

  1. The way I look at it is this. Almost every web site on the web is insecure. That is just the way it works. Makes no sense to devote resources to make sure that your visit to CNN.com is 256-bit encrypted.

    The only time you really see secure sites is when dealing with financial stuff or some e-mail providers offer a secure login. When in those situations, you would want to make sure that the information you are typing is encrypted and secure. So to have a visible notification that you are on a secure site is importnt.

    You do bring up an interesting point. However, when you consider that just about every web site on the web that doesn’t deal with financial stuff is insecure, it is pretty pointless to make a bigger deal about insecure sites then secure sites.

  2. I agree that the security icon is very noticable. But I don’t get why the browser should make such a fuss about a secure site. Wouldn’t it make more sense to show a noticable icon when the user visits an insecure site?

  3. you would want to make sure that the information you are typing is encrypted and secure. So to have a visible notification that you are on a secure site is important.

    I agree that the icon should be visible. But if the user explicitly looks for the icon, it doesn’t matter whether it is highly noticable or not, as long as it is there.

    The new UI makes a fuss when everything is fine, so the user should only be worried about the absence of such fuss. This is similar to parents worrying when they can not hear noise from the children’s room.

    But I admit that the new UI may help users become more aware of whether the connection is secure or not, so it may be a good thing afterall.

    I wonder if it would be possible to detect whether a page is dealing with financial stuff (e.g. look for an expiry date input field) and only then alert the user about an insecure connection.

  4. Good idea!

    Just for the record, I am not really arguing that the security icon should only be displayed on insecure pages. I just don’t like the idea of displaying a big icon and yellow background in the URL field when everything is fine and not displaying anything when there might be a problem.

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