Response to Ubiquity in Firefox: Round 1

(1) Don’t force new work flows.

I agree with those who say that Ubiquity-like features shouldn't be integrated with the location bar + awesome bar. The location bar tells the user where they are and where they can go - it's all about location. Ubiquity includes location-based functionality but I think its biggest value is how it allows the user to quickly interact with content without having to start a new thread. I think the feature closest to this that exists in Firefox is in-page-find.

If bringing Ubiquity-like features to all Firefox users is a goal then I think the feature needs to be invoked by the system once in a while so that novice users can be exposed to it. How about automatically displaying an ignorable prompt that asks the user if they want to map an address if one is selected? Users are already selecting address text right now before they copy it so it will be a good way to inject the feature into the workflow.

Flow Autosuggest

Here is how someone might post a message to Twitter. All inputs can be made with just the keyboard if that is what the user prefers.

Flow Post Twitter

Different commands require different sets of parameters. Because this design forces input to occur from left to right, the right side of the bar can be updated depending on the value inputted on the left. Also, note that the results are displayed in the center of the window to give them first-class treatment. Here are some examples.

Command Examples

(2) It must be localizable.

With this design, there is no requirement to create different logic for each locale. The only requirement is string translation which is expected with any new feature.

It's valuable to teach the users the keywords - eg: the values in the dropdowns - from the start because they will still be applicable when locale-specific logic is implemented and the command input becomes more freeformed.

Locale Example

(3) Should feel like Firefox

Both the bar and the panel are temporary elements that get displayed/hidden so applying the styled used for the bookmark panel might be a good fit. Applying the style used for the find bar might be an option too.

Style Example

Return to Ubiquity in Firefox: Round 1 at Aza's Thoughts.

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