Netscape's Plans for M14 and Beyond

Monday February 7th, 2000

Cmad writes, "Want to know more about Netscape's release plan? Another interesting article has been posted on that matter by Jim A. Roskind in the SeaMonkey newsgroup."

If the link above doesn't work for you, try this link.

Jim goes into detail about what Netscape is expecting to do with M14 - it could turn into an alpha Netscape product, a beta product, or, worst case, they might end up holding off to M15 for a branded version. They're expecting that M16 will be feature complete (presumably the skin-switching code and security module will be in by that time, too).

Beyond the obvious performance issues, I think Netscape should really try to address the usability issues with the current skin if they are looking to push out a beta product. For example, the toolbar buttons should be labeled, and the buttons themselves should not extend over the grey space below the main toolbar -- it looks like an unintended effect (or defect).

What do you think? Post your thoughts and ideas in the forum for this news item, but since this has been a contentious issue in the past, I'm asking that you please keep your post civil.


#21 Re: Why the current widget set won't work for Macs

by Maroney

Monday February 7th, 2000 4:26 PM

You are replying to this message

I agree, Waldo, and while the scroll bar is the most obvious and egregious example, other widgets are almost as badly hosed.

Neither check boxes nor radio buttons look anything like the platform standard, and in both cases they have the serious interaction problem that you can't click on the text label, which is many times as large as the tiny square or circle. They do not implement the correct mouse behavior, which is that clicking is "undoable" by moving outside the clickable region while the mouse is down. And they have this peculiar dotted-outline state the meaning of which is completely opaque to me.

Buttons do not look at all like platform buttons either in their frame or their font, but at least they do implement "click undo". They are also not placed according to the platform standards for dialog buttons.

The level of UI decision-making on the Mozilla project seems to be on a Windows 3.1 level, where ugliness is considered acceptable and the basic importance of UI standards -- which Microsoft figured out five years ago -- is still not grasped. It's hard for me to believe there are professional graphic artists or interaction designers on the project at all, unless they are simply being ignored.

In any case, the taste of the market (on both platforms) has evolved, and this level of nonstandard look and feel and outright unattractiveness is bound to be a serious barrier to adoption. If any user tests or focus groups have been done, then the team must already be aware of that -- but I suspect they have not been done.