When you open a new tab in the Firefox browser you end up with a blank page starring back at you.
Other browsers like Opera or Google Chrome display popular sites or bookmarks on the new tab page to provide users with quick access to often used web services and features.
A recent Mozillawiki entry highlights plans to integrate a redesigned new tab page in the Firefox 9 web browser.
The aim of the new tab page is to "help users complete their next task". The team has identified several requirements which the new tab page has to meet. This includes to load the information instantly, to offer configuration options and to "not embarrass the user".
For the simplest version, the team has the following requirements:
- Show a grid of top 9-16 sites when opening a new tab
- Responsiveness of new tab shouldn't appreciably decrease
- It should be possible to remove sites that show up in the list
- It should be possible to rearrange the list
- It should be possible to manually add a new site to the list
- When opening a new tab using keyboard shortcuts, we should visually de-emphasize the grid. (Current direction: desaturate colors to black & white, fade in colors if mouse is being used)
The latest design dates back to May 2011. It features a search form, web apps, top sites, Firefox quick links, weather and news.
Update I picked the wrong new tab page design. Below is the correct image. You can get more information here on this page:
Part of the layout looks very similar to how Google had implemented the new tab page before. The question is this: Does it make sense to display that many information on the new tab page? The answer depends on the customization options of the page. It would not really matter if users can remove features that they do not want to use. At least some of the elements of the mockup come with an X icon to remove or hide the feature from the page layout.
Mozilla has actually been working on a new tab concept for quite some time. Aza Raskin for instance posted a new tab specification for Firefox 3.1 or a prototype add-on that was released by Mozilla around the same time.
It might make sense from a development perspective to look at those add-ons to see what is high in demand and what is not. The most important aspect for me is the ability to keep a blank tab page if I want it that way. (via)
What's your take on this upcoming feature?
Update: The new tab page looks like the following in recent versions of the Firefox browser (used Firefox 39 to take the screenshot).
It features a search at the top and a selection of sites represented by thumbnails below that. It is possible to remove sites from the
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