Towards Mozilla 1.0
Tuesday June 26th, 2001
Gervase Markham recently posted his feelings on what a 1.0 release of Mozilla would be. Gerv has sent us the follow-up to that posting, including much of the feedback he received. To read it, click the full article link. Once you have read through it, we welcome you to post your feelings on what you think a 1.0 release would have. [As Gerv says, please don't post your favorite list of bugs, only the criteria for choosing what bugs to fix.]
#142 Polish is important in the long run
Thursday June 28th, 2001 12:26 PM
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The reviews focus on crashes and start-up time because these are the issues that are most visible when you first load up a new version. Minor interface inconsistancies don't crop up as problems immediately. But when you actually settle into regular day-to-day use, UI polish becomes a major issue.
This is why I keep giving up on Mozilla for MacOS and returning to IE5. When I hit TAB in IE5/Mac, the focus goes exactly where I expect it to. It doesn't go off into neverland or into some random pane. After loading a page I can scroll with pageup/pagedn immediately; in Mozilla it pops up an unwanted URL auto-complete menu unless I reach for the mouse and click the window, or hit TAB some arbitrary number of times. For things like keyboard-only navigation, it's not good enough if it works *most* of the time. It has to work *all* of the time. Mozilla's dozens of tiny flaws like this add up to an interface that forces the user into awkward behavior. In the long run, "minor" bugs that prevent the browser from responding as expected to user input will become the most irritating.
I use Mozilla full-time on Unix because there is no competitor with a better-polished interface. But MacOS users spoiled by working, consistent interfaces will find very painful to switch. Interface polish makes a huge difference, as IE5/Mac has shown.
I say the 1.0 feature freeze is a perfect time to focus on polishing the user experience. Make a really good interface, not just a functional one.