Firefox: The Importance of Consistency

UX Design Thoughts

Clarity

Firefox is part of the Mozilla family and has carved out its user base over the years by relying heavily on advocating for an open source and privacy friendly internet.

Firefox is a desktop and mobile browser (at one time an up and coming mobile OS system) that educates users on how their data is handled, why data privacy is important and educates on next steps for those wanting to get involved.

Firefox is part of the Mozilla family and has carved out its user base over the years by relying heavily on advocating for an open source and privacy friendly internet.

When you are dealing with such important topics, clarity is king, and a small tweak to the current interface could go a long way in keeping users happy and their data safe.

Familiarity

Content Containers

When you used a software product over multiple devices and formats, you can expect to see a loss or increase in detail from desktop to mobile. It is increasingly popular for software such as Discord, a popular video game voice communication app, to tout their successes when it comes to parity in experience.

Firefox is on the right track but has a long way to go to achieve parity between desktop and mobile. Firefox for desktop pushes the use of a Mozilla purchased service, Pocket, to allow readers to save images, video, text and websites. The functionality is enhanced by using a desktop accessible add-on that creates a seamless experience.

The Firefox process breaks down when switching to a mobile device, as Firefox on Mobile relies on an in-app service called reader, but encourages users to download pocket as a secondary external app. This breaks the circular flow as the reader service is used on mobile and Pocket is an external process that is not integrated but fully supported on desktop.

The Firefox process breaks down when switching to a mobile device

Users need familiarity when switching between devices and having two competing features is an inefficient way to promote a product or service.

Reliability Clarity

Firefox wants to position itself as the reliable alternative to ad companies posing as tech companies, such as Google and Facebook. To further this initiative, Firefox has released a secondary mobile app for browsing the internet, called Firefox Focus, which takes the main elements of Firefox for mobile but in a stripped-down approach.

Firefox Focus does not have bookmarks or tabs, you open the app, which is always in private mode, perform a web search and when you’re finished, it closes out, removing all personal information. It has customizable levels of privacy settings for cookies, browsing history and fingerprinting.

“Firefox wants to position itself as the reliable alternative to ad companies posing as tech companies, such as Google and Facebook.”

The idea seems good in theory but has a ripple effect of users questioning why the regular Firefox for mobile experience is less than sufficient or even worse, unsafe. Firefox already has to compete with big players such as Google and Bing, and a better UX experience would be to include the Firefox Focus as a mode inside of the regular Firefox for mobile app.

This would allow Firefox to continue to market and position their mobile service in the best possible way, preventing confusion from users about which project fork to choose, allowing Firefox to provide a consistent, familiar and reliable experience across all devices.