'Houston Chronicle' Raves About Easy, Fun, Fast, Safe, Free Mozilla Firefox

Saturday March 13th, 2004

The Houston Chronicle has an article about Mozilla Firefox, describing the browser as "easy, fun, fast, safe, free". The report highlights Firefox's popup blocking, tabbed browsing, integrated Google search, extensions, download manager, speed and privacy options. Thanks to tityre for telling us about this article.

#49 Re: Finding Preferences in Opera is very easy

by jgraham

Monday March 15th, 2004 4:28 PM

You are replying to this message

Sorry, you're saying it has the /same/ option in /two/ places on the menu? Have I misunderstood? Does the "also" apply to the position of the menu item or is it just joining the two halves of the sentence together? I assume it's the latter, in which case I'm glad to see that Opera are trying to improve their UI.

Please note that I haven't said Opera is a bad browser, just that it has a poor default interface.

I don't understand the point of your link... that seems to be a bunch of Opera fans trying to pick holes in Firefox marketing documents. However, most of the points they make support my position rather well, for example:

"Might be true, but if you talk about customization you can get much more space using Opera."

But nmormal users don't customise. That's why the document specifically talks about the defaults, because that's what people use. I'm sure that with customisations of both Opera and Firefox one can free up more screen space, but most users won't know how to do that. The difference is Firefox is uncluttered by default.

"Sure, Firefox might be clean and easy to use by default. But by default it doesn't really have any compelling features. So it is unusable for serious browsing. "

But normal users don't use "serious browsing" features. Advanced users do (almost by definition). So clean and easy to use by default is /better/ because advanced users are the same people who can deal with a cluttered, unusable interface (and believe me, I've seen screenshots of people's FF setup that look nightmarish to me. The difference is that they are advanced enough to choose a complex setup, with Opera you have to be an advanced user to get a simple setup).

The problem with all the people on that page is that they have poweruseritis. They want a bunch of complex features that optimise for complex tasks. The majority of people aren't like that; they just want simple features that do simple things. The symptom of powerfeatureitis is that you don't recognise this and so advocate adding all the advanced features to the interface at the expense of obscuring the simple features. I'm quite sure that there are people who would jump at the option to have a dialog pop up every time they loaded a page asking if the page should be cached (there really are feature requests about that silly for Seamonkey). Sure, it might help in some edge cases, but to 99% of the population, even a simple checkbox to turn the feature on would make finding the checkbox they did need a little harder, so making their browser experience less pleasant. Someone on the page you linked complains that in order to get advanced features in FF, you must neccesarily clutter the interface. They seem to feel that this is a point in favour of the Opera everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach, but I strongly disagree, even though I do recognise some of the problems with the FF approach (see <http://www.mozillazine.or…back.html?article=4350#18> for example). There is a necessary tradeoff between interface complexity and functionality. The Firefox model allows simplicity for those who would suffer from complexity and features at the expense of some complexity for those who will use the features. The Opera model offers complexity for everyone.

I'm quite happy to have a discussion on the relative merits of Opera and Firefox but only if we can avoid mindless advocacy. It is quite apparent in the Opera forum, and sadly afflicts the Mozillazine forums too. It's quite embarassing when people get so insecure about their choice of software.