Lightspeed is an idea by Philipp Sackl and Michael Verdi of Mozilla that could make the web simpler to use without sacrificing privacy or security in the process.
I don't like simplifications. I don't like it when companies strip away features from a product or give you little to no information, and simplification seems to be a trend in current UX design.
With that said, I do understand that there are users who prefer simple over complex, who do not need to see the protocol or full address of every link, and who do not want to customize the browser interface at all.
Lightspeed exists only in form of a presentation at the moment, no line of code has been written and it is unclear if that will ever be the case.
The main idea behind it is to make things simpler for the user by improving search and doing away with settings. It is a browser for "busy people" and people who do not want to or cannot deal with browser settings and configurations.
The browser is built around search which will be improved significantly over what Firefox and other browsers are offering right now. A click on the search bar displays the search/home tab overlay on the screen displaying top sites, directory tiles, open tabs and more right in the interface.
Search results are displayed inline alongside information such as contextual links at the top and right.
A search displays results at the top highlighting bookmarked sites for greater exposure. It may also feature definitions or other information displayed on the side, similar to how search engines do it these days, results from the user's private web -- email in this case -- and suggestions.
According to the project presentation, there won't be any settings at all. The program does not need them as "everything is built-in with smart defaults".
You can download the PDF presentation from Mozilla's website or watch a YouTube video that offers additional information about it.
As I said earlier, I don't like simple. While I can see use for people who do, not being able to change search providers, customize what is being displayed to me, remove suggestions and links that I'm not interested, or install add-ons or make other modifications is far too limiting to be of any use to me.
It may make sense in a mobile context but even there I'd like to have control over the browsing experience which Lightspeed does not offer at all.
That does not mean that I won't review it here on Ghacks is a prototype is ever created by Mozilla. I'd say however that Mozilla should concentrate on Firefox and give some love to Thunderbird instead of spending time and resources on experiments that from the looks of it may not be successful after all.
Besides what I have mentioned already, publishing a second simpler browser could confuse some users who have to choose between two Mozilla browsers.
This may work as an add-on or by integrating part of the functionality into Firefox natively, but as a standalone product, it has little chance of getting traction. Then again, I may be wrong and this is what the world has been waiting for all along.
What's your take on Lightspeed?