[Epiphany] Re: [Usability]Epiphany default toolbar layout

On Sat, 2003-04-19 at 04:42, Marco Pesenti Gritti wrote:
> For the usability list ...
> Epiphany is a web browser based on gecko. You can get more info at
> http://epiphany.mozdev.org
> So we need to a make a call about our default toolbar layout. Dave
> submitted a bug about problems of current default and proposed a
> different one. I'll try to summarize his points, you can see the whole
> post at:
> http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=105983
> Problems with current layout
> ----------------------------
> (http://gnomedesktop.org/scr/epiphany2.png)
> 1 The Toolbar and Address Bar being welded together, leaving no room for
> any buttons besides the standard four (Back, Forward, Stop, and Reload)
> 2 Even for advanced users, the toolbar layout is annoying. The shortened
> address field doesnt show as much of a URI, and the auto-completion menu
> doesnt show as much of an auto-completion title, as it does in competing
> browsers.

In my 9 years of Web development (at nationalgeographic.com  and
timelife.com) I can confidently say the average user does not need a
large address bar.  Most users, after years of experience, do not know
how a URL is constructed, what a protocol is, or how to make a long
path.  How many advanced users can construct, or make meaning of, a URL
for a dynamic Web site they didn't construct?  How much of a very long
URL (implying a dynamic site) does anyone need to see?  I have observed
that most users only use the status bar to check the domain that a link
points to, nothing more.  Within the usability list, there have been
many debates about how to hide the URLs from users because they are not

All users can type the host and domain, and most can type the top level
directory in the path.  I believe the address bar only needs to
accommodate that.  More sophisticated users may use a 'view page
information' option to see meta and statistical data about a page when
the rare need arises.

The status bar, while, important, isn't very usable.  I have even turned
it off on Epiphany and Galeon at work while I develop.  All the
information in it needs to be conveyed better--what is secure, what is
loading, where is the page?  In fact all three pieces of information
can, or are conveyed, else where in the chrome.  If we need a symbol to
label something secure, then maybe we should hide the protocol in the
address bar  As there is no way to effectively measure how much will be
downloaded before a page is complete, let's just use the spinner instead
of the pseudo progress bar.  My four year old daughter is using Safari,
and I must say that using the background of the address bar to show
progress of the URL is very usable, she knows what it means--BUT IT IS
STILL WRONG.  Many pages that contain script and objects are not loaded
when that progress bar says it is.  The Spinner in the tool bar is not
usable when using tabs, it should be hidden in that circumstance.  Click
on the tab spinner or tool bar spinner could show page information for
users who want to know more.  As for the status bar showing URLs, well
that can be done with a tooltip, and that puts the information closer to
where the user's eye is. (As I web developer, I would prefer that you
show the title attribute of the link when it is thoughtfully included in
the markup.)

I use history, but I haven't seen any other user use it.  I think it
should have more prominence because I see many frustrated users trying
the recreate the URL and guessing incorrectly when a dozen options are
presented in the address bar auto complete.  Epiphany's
bookmarks/keywords really do make URLs easier to find.  I've seen many
users who always a bookmark side bar open--it is their homepage.  A
bookmark tool bar would make a lot of users happier, if only to remind
them of their options while browsing.

On a side note, they dialogs that explain forms and security to new
users do not work.  They are well intentioned, but they do more to scare
and confuse users than anything else about the browser.  I don't know
what should replace them, but I'd like to see that discussed.

PS.  Epiphany is a great browser Marco.  While I do use Galeon's fast
setting changes as a developer, I, as a user, prefer Epiphany.  I never
need to worry if I broke a setting in the configuration, or if I need to
change something--it just works.

> Proposed layout
> ---------------
> (http://www.msu.edu/~bordoley/screenshot.png)
> Toolbar 1:
> Back Forward Stop Reload | Home History Bookmarks | Find Print Spinner
> Toolbar 2:
> Favicon   Location(address) entry     Go
> - Clear seperation of location information from tasks
> - Works better with the various different style of toolbar layouts, for
> example icon/text. The location(address) bar becomes very small with the
> current layout.
> - Similar Layout to IE and nautilus
> Marco doubts ;)
> ---------------
> I'm unsure about this change ...
> >From my very limited experience (I'm sure someone on the usability list
> could be a lot more helpful on this) commonly used toolbar items are:
> - Back, Forward, Reload, Location (grouped with the Go button).
> I'll add two open questions:
> - Is the Home button used/useful ? I have not seen many person to use
> it.
> - Is the Spinner necessary ? I tried to browse without it for some weeks
> now, the page loading feedback in the statusbar would appear to be
> enough.
> Assuming I'm right and these are the commonly used actions we should
> have in the toolbar, is it worth to reduce screen realestate for the web
> page, to add some not so often used actions ?
> In general I think in a web browser is quite important to keep the
> "rumor" around the web page minimal.
> I see the advantages of Dave proposal though.
> I hope you can help us making a good call :)
> Thanks
> Marco
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