New Firefox GUI - Text

Full view: Mockup 1, Mockup 2

A browser interface should be as small as possible, and give the user as much freedom as possible. Instead of pressing the menus into small buttons, I suggest to put them somewhere else and thus to give them more “space”. In my opinion, the ideal solution would be to use a newly opened tab – that appears as empty under current versions. This empty space is what I would like to use because it has enough display capacity. The fact that the tools disappear as soon as you open a website is a further advantage. This currently empty tab could become a sort of second desktop (“Fire Desktop”), where all elements are placed as widgets. This would give the user the flexibility that is often called for – he could largely decide how to use and organize the newly won space.

By clicking on “Bookmarks” in the “sub navigation panel”, the user would see the information in the whole browser window, and not only inside a small drop-down menu. In this way, it would be possible to choose better or other displaying methods than those available now. The browser history could be displayed, e.g. as a time line or as a tree structure. Furthermore, I think that Firefox should put a good RSS reader at users’ disposal from the very beginning because RSS feeds have become part and parcel of the Internet (like ‘Brief RSS reader‘).


About widgets:

As already said, each “Fire Desktop” element would be a widget. To unlock the desktop, you would have to click once on the lock icon in the lower right corner. From then on, it is possible to freely arrange the widgets on the desktop, to alter their size, to select different widget skins – large and colorful or minimalistically small, to edit widget preferences, and to remove existing ones. Many users would certainly welcome the possibility to freely choose a background picture for their desktops.


To install new widgets, one could use the Mozilla add-on page which should entail an extra sub-category “Widgets”. This would enable the user to custom design his “Fire Desktop”, adding precious extra value to Firefox.


Best regards

Paradiesstaub


PDF: Firefox GUI – An idea


One Line GUI - Mockup - EN

A task that I preform pretty often when following a link is to erase the URL additions to see the main page (link → blog post → main page). Why not create a button inside the URL bar to get there faster? It should ‘work’ after a double click so that it doesn’t disturb the user when typing a new URL.


URL-Pic1


I was inspired by two programs: GNOME – Nautilus & Google Chrome

In the GNOME file manager Nautilus, it is easy to jump to a higher folder in the hierarchy by simply clicking.


URL-Pic2


So why not having a similar feature in Firefox? Just a simple double click to get to the main page of the site. Google Chrome has some kind of highlighting elements right now in the URL bar to clarify the most important part of an URL, but does nothing special with it.


URL-Pic3


The highlighting through a bottom should be decent and should not disturb the user. The button could be hidden and only shows up when doing a mouseover.


If the user double-clicks on the button = opens main page

If the user double-clicks outside the button = marks whole URL (as it is right now)


That’s it for the moment.

Paradiesstaub


PDF: Additional suggestion to improve the URL bar

Draft-for-Ubuntu-Gate-Search-pic1Short introduction:

My idea is to improve the search and treatment of data by taking only a few, easy steps. It consists in connecting several archive files, different search functions and “open with”.












How would it work?


For quick display of the search results, it is necessary to index and order the data. A program runs all the time in the background carrying out this task, and resumes work when work load is low. It only checks certain folders and takes into account certain file endings (path, size, name and further information recorded e.g. ID3 tags, GPS information within picture) and creates mini-pictures. At the end of the search, data selection could look like this in the home directory:

odt, doc, pdf, mp3, ogg, jpg


The program shouldn’t stop at that, but should also list the address book and the emails received if the user wishes to.

It should also be possible to switch the search function from local to Internet, to have access to the browser bookmarks in the search window and to the various search engines.

The search window is there to give quick access to the data the user is looking for and to ignore the rest.



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The search function can be implemented by mouse click or key combination. I suggest using Ctrl+Alt+F as a shortcut. It should be possible to drag and drop the search results (e.g. to copy them on a USB key).

The table below illustrates the search mode per key shortcut. It shows how easy it would be, and the resulting possibilities. I use the word Start to avoid writing Ctrl+Alt+F each time. The blue color is for the Internet mode.


Keys used Resulting action
Start (empty search window) + Enter

Opens home directory.
Opens standard website (according to browser pre-settings)

Start (empty search window) + “arrow down” Displays the last 10 documents used
Displays the last 10 websites browsed

Start (empty search window) + “arrow up” Displays the 10 programs used most frequently (displays the search list from bottom to top – the bottom hit is automatically highlighted)
Displays the 10 bookmarks used most frequently (same principle as in local mode)

Start (empty search window)

+ “arrow to the right/the left”

Changes search mode from local to Internet
Changes search mode from local to Internet (in Internet mode, you can also choose the search engine by hitting the “arrow to the right”). After search completion, you alternate between search modes by pressing just one key

Start + “any text”

Search engine displays first 10 hits
Displays website selection and possible bookmarks

Start + “any text” + Enter Standard program opens marked hit (first hit is automatically highlighted)
Program processes first hit (opens selected website/bookmark)

Start + “any text” + arrow down/up Mark switches between search hits
Mark switches between search hits

Start + “any text”

+ 2 quick hits “arrow down”

Jumps to the next 10 hits
Jumps to the next 10 hits (if it works)

Start + “any text” + “arrow to the right” + Enter Secondary program opens highlighted hit (by pressing again “arrow to the right” user selects another alternative program)



The search window should “understand” the following:


– It puts the files last or often retrieved higher up in the list.


– If the user writes for instance “Musician’s name” and “Music” in the search window, the results should be mostly music files.


If the user selects a music title and presses the Enter key, and a music program has already started, the new title should appear in the play list.


– The search engine should be able to carry out simple instructions, as long as there is no other file with the same name (“new mail”, “odt new”, “start gimp”, etc.)


It should be possible to choose index terms for certain folders like “m” for Music….


– Depending on the data displayed, the search should deliver differing information (e.g. with a big difference between a picture file and an address entry).


– The search system should cope to a certain extent with spelling mistakes!


– If the user selects “Archive file” for the second time (when an archive file is already open), the program will ask him whether to put the file into the existing archive.


– When surfing the Internet, user should be able to drag & drop all possible Internet search engines into the Ubuntu search window to add them to the search engine list.


If there is no entry in the search index, the program suggests a “complete standard search” for the term requested.



Possible search configurations


A right mouse click in the search bar gives access to the options. The user can then configure the folders/data and the order in which they appear (you could explicitly exclude folders/data – possibly directly through the “standard folder option” as well). Among other things, it should be possible to select whether to have “mini preview images” and whether the Internet search engine is allowed to submit suggestions for search.

It would be wise to encrypt files because the internal archiving and the structured treatment of personal data may disclose many details about the computer’s owner. Access to the encrypted search index should be possible only with root rights.



Conclusion


It is clear to me that it will probably be impossible to develop all the functionalities I am suggesting, yet I find it necessary to think about them and describe them as well. They may feed other people’s inventiveness and help us tread new paths together. The search method I have described would be a very powerful tool functioning on a rather intuitive basis. Computer use would become faster and more efficient. It could certainly be used in cell phones as well.

To make it short, I would be delighted to run my computer and other devices with the help of such a search window. I truly hope that some developer will be as enthusiastic about it as I am, and that he will turn this wonderful idea into reality.



Addition – Further ideas


Actually, I feel that two buttons should be added to the archiving program – “downsize pictures” and “email archive”. The last one would open a new email and attach the corresponding archive file.

The first one would offer the option to alter certain (previously selected) pictures. In a second step, the user could alter picture size and compression level to save disc space.


Several options should be available:

high/average/low compression/downsizing

– the selected pictures could be downsized in such a way that all the archive data do not exceed a certain data size (this function would make it much easier to send pictures via email, as there would be no more manual downsizinge.g. > 4 MB).


A picture preview would be very handy, too – to check picture quality after downsizing.


Dear readers, thank you for your interest. I hope that you will carry my ideas further into the world.


Greetings – to you and the world!

Paradiesstaub


Ubuntu Brainstorm – Vote for this idea now!

Draft for Ubuntu-Gate-Search – PDF

Ubuntu.com


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Ideas for a quantum leap towards more transparency in public life


A lot of information cascades down on us ahead of each election – pictures, posters, TV debates, etc. But what do politicians do the rest of the time? I could certainly try to collect information by reading the press and watching TV reports every day – probably all day long – yet I’m not that interested in politics (the news and a few websites usually cover my needs). The idea I’m presenting here would create more transparency and help people with an interest in politics to find the information they are looking for more easily.


– All the public debates in the House of Representatives should be filmed (ogg format) and be easily available in digital form to interested citizens (e.g. on an extra sub-website, archives, one for each debate) – free of charge.


– Each speech held (speaker’s reference at the bottom of each video film) should also be freely available in PDF format.


– The same applies to the list of all the representatives attending the debates.


– Another list should give the speech duration for all speakers (name/party: …. speech: 1:34 p.m. – 2:12 p.m.)


– All the documents used or referred to (government reports, etc.) should also be posted on these websites (no links to external contents because they could be deleted or altered).


– It should be possible to download all the information pertaining to a meeting/session (all the contents, video film and texts) in one package (zip file).


– I believe that the nation is entitled to having access to this information and that it should be broadly disseminated – this is why I suggest putting it under a Creative Commons License (CC License).


All this is certainly feasible and would bring far more transparency to public life. For instance, I can quickly check on-line a politician I don’t know. With such a system, it would be easier to track the course taken by parties/politicians and to form one’s own views, far away from the mainstream media. In Europe, this information system would also be a major improvement regarding the European Parliament, as very little of the debates filters through to the general public.


Ideas for a quantum leap towards more transparency in public life – PDF