12 October 2012 - 10:17Stickers for your online presense?

After suggesting an idea of how Firefox could help users share their interests online [blog.mozilla.org], I’ve been wondering if it’s similar to something people already do outside of a browser. I gave it some quick thoughts, and stickers seem like they might be a suitable comparison in that they’re something people can easily acquire and customize and then present to others without giving them away.

Showing things you like on something you own

People seem to have all sorts of stickers placed on things they carry around, e.g., laptops, binders, or notepads; or a mode of transportation, e.g., cars, skateboards, or bikes. Even though showing something could be thought as a statement, I would guess that people aren’t necessarily always looking to have a conversation by displaying their sticker. They’re just happy to show off something they support or care about.

This note about having a presence without actively socializing seems to overlap in some way to the “Visitors” group from a study on Identity and the Internet [blog.mozilla.org]. Not everyone wants to be social on the internet and actively produce content, so using these stickers to show off one’s interests seems like a comfortable step from being completely without an online identity.

Do you use stickers? If so, what are you showing, where are you placing them, and why do you use them? I’m curious! :)

3 Comments | Tags: Development, Labs, Mozilla

5 October 2012 - 10:56about:profile – interest categories vs demographics

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been checking out my about:profile page [addons.mozilla.org], and I’ve been pretty surprised at how accurate it can get even though it’s a simple proof of concept to initiate discussions on how Mozilla should be analyzing data in the Firefox [blog.mozilla.org].

Overall categorization and detailed/recent interests

It shares some ideas with what Margaret implemented for about:me [wiki.mozilla.org] such as processing the local data within Firefox and not sending data out of Firefox, except in about:profile, we’re trying to generate higher-level concepts such as an interest category as opposed to statistics of your browser behavior. We happened to go with some readily available domain data of ODP categories and Alexa siteinfo, and we selected some hundreds of top sites to package into the add-on. So while the reference data is not an exhaustive list, it seems to work for quite a few people I’ve shown the add-on to.

Our somewhat arbitrary choices of category interests and site demographics got me thinking about what we could do with this data in Firefox, and I seem to keep coming back to this distinction of category data actually shows what I’m interested in whereas demographics appears to create a label/characteristic that opens things up to preconceived judgements. I suppose in other words, the former is based on something I did vs the latter is something I am. (Although technically, the about:profile experiment is trying to guess at who you are based on what you did.)

I’m sure others will be able to better describe the differences between the two, but I wonder if because there appears to be a fundamental difference, we should go about presenting the data differently to the user. For example, perhaps users will be happy to explicitly give Firefox one’s demographic data whereas trying to have the user create a list of interested categories might be overwhelming.

I’m excited that we’ve released the add-on to get a conversation started because there’s so many different ways to analyze the data in Firefox, and each method can lead to interesting discussions such as this one about categories vs demographics.

No Comments | Tags: Add-on, Development, Labs, Mozilla

25 May 2012 - 12:54Copy Selected urls from the AwesomeBar

I happened to switch to #fx-team to see madhava asking for an easier way to copy/paste urls from the AwesomeBar into the page. So whipped together something to do just that!

Just switch to the location bar by pressing ctrl/cmd-L, start searching, highlight the result you want, and press ctrl/cmd-enter. The url will be in the clipboard and automatically pasted to wherever you left off in the page.

And of course this works with Enter Selects, so you don’t even need to press down to copy the first result. Enter Selects automatically highlights it, so you can type out the page you want, and directly hit ctrl/cmd-enter and you’re done!

Try out Copy Selected or check out the code on github. (This is neater than I expected! I just used the functionality 3 times in one post. ;))

5 Comments | Tags: Add-on, AwesomeBar, Mozilla

29 March 2012 - 9:42Enter Selects with Inline Autocomplete

Firefox will soon have inline autocomplete [blog.mozilla.com] in the AwesomeBar, so I’ve updated Enter Selects [addons.mozilla.org] to be compatible with that new functionality.

If you’ve previously used Enter Selects, the behavior will now be the same as it was before — pressing [Enter] after typing in the AwesomeBar will automatically select the first result from the list. This is different from the new inline autocomplete behavior of completing a domain or url that begins with the letters you’ve typed.

Enter automatically selects the highlighted first result.

Enter Selects’ behavior is good for you if you tend to type words that match in the title or mid-url or use multiple words where the AwesomeBar’s adaptive behavior will push these non-prefix domain matches to the top. If you do want inline autocomplete after Enter Selects highlights the first result, just press [Up] to edit or load the inline-completed url.

Just as before, Firefox’s adaptive learning behavior will push the sites that you frequently visit to the top, so quite quickly, you’ll be able to type 1 letter and press [Enter] to go to the page you want.

I’ve also revamped the code from the original Firefox 3 implementation to be restartless by using the Add-on SDK [addons.mozilla.org]. Additionally I converted the repository from hg to git for people to fork [github.com].

“what a fine add-on! Saves so much on needless keystrokes!” “Thanks a lot, this function is easy but necessary, now I can forget about chrome~” “This is the BOMB! This should be a built-in feature in Firefox, as it is with IE9. Keep up the good work!” -st3ve, yaapal, Deep Thought [addons.mozilla.org]

Try out restartless Enter Selects in Firefox! [addons.mozilla.org]

23 Comments | Tags: Add-on, AwesomeBar, Development, Mozilla