Firefox Awesome Bar is Awesome

One of the main reasons I continue to use Firefox over Chromium/Chrome is the address bar.  Unlike Chromium, Firefox does not use tie in the address bar with Google search, but instead uses the browsing history and the bookmarks to suggest URL’s.  The address suggestions are made using a combination of frequency of access of URL’s as well as how recent they were accessed. Also, the algorithm gets better with usage.  For example, I had recently read an article about something called the Zing JVM by a company called Azul, but when I wanted to refer to it later,  I could not recall the word “Zing” or “Azul”, so I started typing in “Java Performance” in the address bar and Firefox started pulling out the relevant URL’s and I could soon find what I wanted.

Firefox Awesome Bar
Firefox Awesome Bar

Combining search engine suggestions for URL auto completion as in Chrome, is confusing and does not do a great job of leveraging your own browsing patterns and history. Search suggestions are of course incredibly useful too and therefore separating them out allows the best of both approach.  The Mozilla support site has a very good article on using the address bar.   This feature however works well if there is a rich browsing history present.  There may be a need to ahem, not include certain URL’s in the search suggestions.  The straightforward way is to not allow these URLs to be recorded in the browsing history in the first place – this can be done using Private Browsing.

Delicious New Bookmark

I have been using delicious (the bookmarking website) off and on for quite a while.  I used the Firefox plug in which had a nice big button on the toolbar to create a new bookmark. Now I was using Firefox which didn’t have the delicious plug in installed and I wanted to save a bookmark, so I had to use the website.  For the life of me, I couldn’t find the new bookmark link anywhere. Finally I found it – hidden away in the top-right (just below the search box). What the fuck ?  For a bookmarking website, the add new bookmark button should be the biggest, most conspicuous button on the page – screaming for attention! I dont get it at all – I mean who okays these usability decisions ?

Where is it, goddamit ?
Dammit, where is the submit new bookmark button ?

Too easy unsubscription ?

I hate it when websites and corporations send you email but don’t offer an easy way to unsubscribe from the shit-loads of unsolicited junk. Sometimes the unsubscribe link is buried away in size 0.1 font somewhere at the bottom of the email, sometimes they don’t’ work, sometimes they seemingly work only for you to horribly realize later that you’re getting even more email. Understandably people make it intentionally harder to unsubscribe because well getting people to read your mail in the first place is tough. All I ask is make sure you have an unsubscription process that is relatively accessible and painless.  So I was shocked when I got this email from a mailing list that I was on.

Too easy unsubscribe
Oh, we just thought you might not want us...

It’s like the folks at Notre Dame MBA did all the hard work in getting my email address – either interested me enough to sign up for their email or got it from a database.  (Both of which Im sure cost them in some way).  Then they decide to send me an email saying that oh well we’ve been sending you mail and newsletters about our program  but here’s an email which we have specially sent you so that you can undo all we’ve done so far in a single click. Thanks!

I clicked the link and was unsubscribed instantaneously.

Why would any seller of products/services want to do this ? It beats me.   The irony of it is that this comes from an MBA program.