Building on Firefox Home

Since I started here in April, I’ve been working on the UI for a little web app called Firefox Home.

Some of you may know Firefox Home as the iPhone app that lets you bring your desktop Firefox’s open tabs, bookmarks and awesomebar content with you on your iPhone:

We wanted to take this idea and build on it. Our goal was to create a web app that still makes finding your content quick and easy on mobile devices, but also lends itself to sitting back in a chair and letting your web entertain you with very little typing and searching on your end. A visualization of your corner of the web.

Revisiting the UI

Touchability and visual interest were big driving influences of this design, a tile-based UI that pulls in data from your browsing behaviour, and displays it back to you using website thumbnails, icons, headlines, pictures, and content from other apps. The order in which content gets displayed is a combination of how recently and how frequently a site is visited.

Currently, our team is building a prototype that displays website thumbnails and icons. I’ve been playing with it, and I must say that browsing your web like this is quite enjoyable. Search results also use this view, and manages to find cool sites I forgot I ever visited. I for one spend so much time on the internet that I forget 99% of what I see, and Firefox Home seems to have a magical ability to remind me about all those great things.

Adding Features

Soon we’ll start adding more interesting content, like headlines  and pictures from sites you visit regularly, content from apps like Gmail and Flickr and Rdio and whatever else you’re using.

Down the road we hope to add pinning, and we’re exploring ways of displaying your apps and open tabs as a separate list.

If you’re interested in seeing some of the design explorations that led up to this UI, check out this Flickr set.

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