Our User Research team just finished a field study that explored the differences in how people use browsers and apps on mobile devices (phone and tablet). The goal was to understand what value a browser should provide on mobile devices and identify opportunities for Mozilla in the mobile browser space.
One of the key findings from the study was that while generally, single purpose apps are more widely used than web browsers on mobile devices, they do not entirely replace them either. Browsers really shine when people are trying to find answers to things (searching).
So where apps answer the problem of “I need to do ____”, browsers are still the go to solution to answer “I need to know ____”. With this in mind, we’ve been working on how to improve search in mobile Firefox, by making it quicker and more useful.
Building on our Awesomebar experience (showing lists of bookmarks and history, ranked by frecency), we have added search suggestions that display simultaneously with your Awesomebar results. Once no Awesomebar results remain, users still have a multitude of searches they can jump to, and across multiple providers.
This is a work in progress, and feedback is welcome.