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FireFox 4 First Impression: It Sucks

I downloaded the new version 4 of FireFox and installed it on my 1 GHz Asus Eee PC Netbook.  I have to tell you that I am extremely alarmed by what I see.  The very first thing that caught my eye was that although FireFox was describing this version as faster, it was noticeably slower on my lil’ netbook.  That does NOT bode well for me.  On top of this, I just plain hate deceitful advertising.  My web pages were loading at least 1/2 speed.

What struck me next was the new interface.  Why is it that developer’s ignore design?  Why is it that when guy does one thing another guy has to follow suit? Since when does Mozilla jump into a “Monkey see, monkey do.” attitude.  This is pure idiocy!

When Microsoft’s IE8 came out and misplaced the refresh/reload page button to the right side of the browser address bar, it was Internet Explorer’s death knell.  This was such a huge user interface navigation mistake that it helped usher in a new age where FireFox became the predominant browser of choice because so many people were absolutely frustrated with the IE8 interface that moved everything around where no one was used to them.

Guess what?  Mozilla does not want FireFox 4 to be a familar tool that works well, anymore.  They have decided to follow suit and copy IE8’s pathetic user interface by hiding all the most often used controls in plain sight.  Once again, the page reload button is relocated to the right of the browser’s URL address bar.  This gives me great pause, to realize that corporations are so secure in their knowledge of what is best for us in terms of the human interface experience.  So I wonder whether it will be Google Chrome or Opera that we migrate to?

Safari has already made the jump to a right side refresh/reload button, so I don’t think that they will ever be a factor in the browser wars until the iPhone becomes a significant web browsing platform.  And it just may, they already dominate the smartphone market.  Furthermore, I think that the impact of small device web browsing has not yet been felt.  Mobile device web browsing is, afterall, not yet in the hands of everyone.  Nor is anyone making it affordable for everyone, yet.  But once someone realizes its potential, we will all be jumping on it because it is so convenient, in order to accommodate our growing digital lifestyle.

Why is placing the refresh/reload button on the other side of the address bar such a navigation nightmare?  This practice is breaking simple user interface friendliness guidelines.   The issue is not that the button has been moved to the other side of the browser bar, the issue is that the user interface has not been moved to the other side of the browser bar with it.  The forward, back and reload buttons offer the most used rudimentary control over surfing.  To separate any of these navigation devices simply decreases their convenience.  To not understand this one aspect of the user’s navigation interface experience is quite simply shamefully stupid.

There will be those who will take issue with the last three lines in that last paragraph.  Their argument will be that all a user has to do is type a return in the browser bar.  But what they fail to realize is that not everyone is like them.  Not everyone thinks or does everything the same way and the complete failure to either understand or provide for these alternate minded people is complete insanity.

Let’s face it, we have been doing things certain ways for years.  People are accustomed to them.  They are used to clicking buttons, they are used to finding all their navigation in the same area.  It makes no matter that “Instead you can…” that is not an argument, that is an excuse.  Navigation, whether on a web page interface, or in a software interface, should never be separated.  Especially when it all performs a simple derivative of the same function (GOTO: back a page, same page or next page).

Developers are thinking logically while creative types are thinking creatively.  For an anal mind to dictate how a user interface is setup without consulting a creative mind shows true lack of vision for the big picture.  Straight out of the box, FireFox 4 not only fails to impress, it offends me.  Don’t get me wrong, I am only speaking for me.  But it does.  It fails to take into consideration any alternate view of navigation or user friendliness.  It separates the navigation buttons and discombobulates the system, completely.  I, as a designer of friendly interactive web page navigation systems myself, consider this UI a sinful, evil thing.  It amazes me that they would ever allow this interface to ship as it is.

OK, there it is, my first impression after downloading, installing and running the new version 4 of Mozilla’s FireFox.  It just plain sucks.  It looks like crap and it scares me because it makes assumptions on what I need and takes liberties with a user interface that worked.  In my view, it is less useful and extremely unfriendly as a user interface.  My web pages all load slower now, and that also ticks me off. I am not impressed.

That’s my first impression.  FireFox 4 sucks.  I hate it.  But that is only after my first impression.  Mozilla says that it is completely customizable.  That will be my next post, can we fix this piece of crap?  All it really needs is a few tweaks.  Or is it completely broken?

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March 25, 2011 - Posted by | Brands, Computing, Devices, Graphic Design, User Interface eXperience, Web Design & Development | , , , , , , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. most of what you are talking about is over my head… but… what isn’t over my head is the fact that FF4 sucks!

    it is the little things… tabs at top of screen which makes me have to do more work to get to them and looking at the toolbars. Why do I need to scan my eyes over all that visual noise when I just need to change from one tab to another.

    Home! it is on the left now! reload is is next to the URL box (which I keep hitting that Star) and back/forward is still on the upper right? does this make sense? no. Scatter me all over the page.

    If I click on “Y”ahoo it takes me to India! India!!!!! huh? India?

    I just hate this layout. How come no one ever asks us?

    Yes, I too hate FF4! I asked them how I uninstall it and go back to the previous revision… I can’t! even if I could I would have to pay someone to do it for me!

    I get sewing, I don’t get computers.

    Comment by greenaprons | April 6, 2011 | Reply

    • The user interface (UI) is the perfect example of piss-poor usabilty (user navigation friendliness).

      Did some idiot come from Microsoft to take over the FireFox project? Because this version 4 smacks of MS stupidity.

      Comment by domainating | April 6, 2011 | Reply

  2. I have to agree with the 1st poster. It SUCKS!
    I had just finished a fresh XP system reinstall and went to reinstall Firefox from Mozilla. The offered Firefox 4 so I installed it. Like previously said, the interface is pathetic. I spent an hour trying to figure out how to set it up like older Firefox versions. You can’t. The worst part, as also previously stated, it’s filthy slooooow. For a while I thought something was wrong with my computer. Frustrated, I uninstalled FF4 and reinstalled FF3.6.17. That great FF interface is back and so is the fast surfing speeds I’m used to. Mozilla got it 100% wrong with FF4. What a shame!

    Comment by MikeH | May 2, 2011 | Reply

  3. Agree. I hate the new interface. What is a good alternative?

    Comment by Mark | May 7, 2011 | Reply

    • One guy in our group has mentioned that we should write our own browser, indicating that it isn’t that difficult. Then, if we could get enough support we could at least have some sort of input on the web standards.

      I think the place to do this, is in the mobile phone/device/tablet market where browsing kind of sucks already.

      Comment by domainating | May 15, 2011 | Reply

      • You can make your own browser. You can start with the firefox 3.6 codebase(which is open source) and continue on from there. Its called a fork, and it happens all the time in open source circles.

        I hate the new cache system and yes, the fact that they feel the need to “look and feel” like IE. Firefox was the trend setter! it brought tabbed browsing into the norm, as well as popup blocking. Now it appears to be trying to play catchup with a failed browser!

        Comment by Tim | June 20, 2011

  4. It sucks, and it sucks hard.

    The problem for me wasn’t the interface itself, which if you’re already used to customizing ff – isn’t a hardship.

    The biggest problem by FAR is: It’s handling of almost anything is 1/4 the speed of 3.6. 4.0 has TERRIBLE packagecontainer.exe handling, which pretty much leaves anything flash based off the table as far as usability. This isn’t all that big of an issue if you never go to social networking sites, and your entire time on the web is looking at plain text. html pages, but the reality is we no longer live in that world. Try playing Farmville or any similar web based flash game which requires packets sent to / from your client. When it’s not going into 3 – 5 minute lock ups and freezes, it’s just siting there unresponsive, trying to figure out what to do. 3.6 was instant… this is a nightmare. “It’s a known problem” is a terrible excuse, as they had plenty of time in beta to work these issues out. They never should have released this, it’s just absolute untested, loosely coded shite. ff4.0 has security loopholes a mile wide and they left out the critical redirect security fixes right out of the gate. How could this have possibly been missed?

    I doubt I can trust these clowns any longer – to make a viable browser that works efficiently and has security covered. Sad.

    Comment by e+C | May 15, 2011 | Reply

    • Actually, the lack of usability in the UI that I speak of can’t be fixed without adding an extra toolbar, and I honestly think that all add-on toolbars suck.

      FF4 had been in beta for quite a while, which is why I am so amazed that they would allow such glaring errors to slip through (unless someone in charge is deliberately sabotaging the project).

      I can’t find any write-ups on the security issues, though. Got any links?

      Comment by domainating | May 15, 2011 | Reply

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