Archive | Usability

The Downfall of Personas

Now, Firefox’s new Personas feature has seem taken off really well.  Each time I visit the Personas web site, there are more and more backgrounds to use for Firefox.  So with such a good start, what will be the downfall of the Personas?

It all comes down to quantity over quality.  Some of these backgrounds just are not any good.  The same could be said for many Firefox themes too, but with Personas – there are a few simple things that could go a long way before you submit it for the public, that would be so easy to check into.

For example, look at this:

Can You Read This?

I am not going to use a Persona where I can’t read anything inside of the browser. 

Other annoyances would be having text in the background, having the background be too busy, and general “why the heck did you think that would make a good background” questions of designing competence.

So you tell me, what makes for a better Firefox Persona or have you been turned off my many of the ugly background out there? Post your feedback and thoughts in the comments.

Create and Store a More Dynamic Signature

Better E-mail Signatures Want to be able to create a much more dynamic signature for your webmail accounts and more, the will show off your instant messenger names, social network links and more details about yourself?  WiseStamp is a pretty awesome addition to Firefox, that will let you do that and so much more, in a very stylish way.

Once installed, you get your own WYSIWYG editor to create and edit your own signature collection.  You can add links via RSS, instant messenger service or social profiles from around the Web too.

Still need more information?  Check out this awesome video tutorial demonstrating what all you can do with this amazing add-on for Firefox.

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How to Add or Remove Firefox Personas

Personas Guide! Firefox Personas, the lightweight themes for the Firefox browser, are still pretty new to the Mozilla user base our there.

With that in mind, I thought it might be handy to guide you through the process when it comes to adding a new Persona theme to your browser, removing a Persona theme from your browser, and how to chance through Persona themes – once you have several saved to your system.

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Search Suggestions from Amazon in Firefox

Amazon Search Suggest in Firefox Do you like how Google’s suggest feature works in the Firefox search box?  I do.  I just wish my favorite online realtor, Amazon.com, provided the same functionality for it’s own search.  You too?  Well, you are in luck – because I just tracked down the tool for the job – Amazon Search Suggestions.

This is the best way to add Amazon search suggestions to the search box in your browser.  Having the suggestions in hand, you will really be able to speed up your shopping.  This is much better than the default Amazon search, for one obvious reason – the suggestions you get.  Not only does this provide you with a quicker way to search.  It also helps with catching spelling mistakes and saving keystrokes.

You can pick up this addition to the Firefox browser over at the Firefox Add-ons web site

Use Gmail as Your Default Mail Application (Quick Tip)

Change Your Default Mail Handler

There are a lot of Firefox features that don’t get much press, or are quickly forgotten about.  For example, did you know that you could switch to using Gmail or Yahoo! Mail as your default mail client (to handle those mailto links)?

To chance your settings, go to Tools, Options and then click on the Applications tab.  From there, type “mail” into the text box to go to the default mail handler settings.  From the drop down box, you should get several choices, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail being two of them.  Choose the webmail application of your choice, hit the button labeled, “OK” and you are all set.

Now you are ready to use the webmail provider of your choice as your default e-mail application, as far as Firefox knows.

Do You Still Use Bookmarks? (Open Thread)

Are Bookmarks Apart of Your Browsing?

How often do you still use bookmarks? 

Generally speaking, I find there are two types of browsing people.  You have those who still bookmark everything they find interesting, and then those who only bookmark what they need, and Google everything else.  A lot of the time, typing something into the search box might be a faster way to launch a web page, rather than searching through a bucket-full of saved links.

Take a stand, and leave you thoughts in the comments.  Are you pro-bookmark, anti-bookmark, or somewhere in between the two?

Jetpack Gallery

Gallery of Jetpack Add-ons

Do you remember Jetpack?

It is the Mozilla Labs project that makes the add-on building process easier, mixing elements of HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  Mozilla has released an awesome Jetpack Gallery, which serves as a community for Jetpack developers and add-on users.

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Grab and Drag Scrolling

Do you like being able to virtually grab a page and scroll up or down it in your browser?  Now, some other programs have this ability (such as most PDF readers out there) however the web browser does not, until now.  The Grab and Drag add-on for Firefox will enable grab and drag scrolling, flick gestures, and momentum scrolling in Firefox.

This comes in really handy for tablet PCs, where your pen is taking the place of your mouse.  You can though use it with your mouse too, as it comes ready for 1, 2, or 3 button mouse support.

Grab and Drag gives Firefox a new way to browse, and also has plenty of options to tweak till you get it just the way you want it.  You can pick it up on the Firefox Add-ons site or MozDev.org.