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Please make Firefox more user friendly

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Aug-2006 09:10

I, like many other PC users, tend to use the most adequate tool for a computer task. Sometimes may not be the best one, but if it performs well, why bother with something else?

Now, a lot of people advocate Firefox. And while it is a good looking browser, and in some respects safer than other alternatives, I don't necessarily want to use it. So I keep with Internet Explorer (by the way, I just installed Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1 and it is a slick browser). 

This week I decided to have Firefox open on my second monitor. You see, even though IE7 seems to do all I need, it still fails to work with some "web 2.0" applications and the only way I could use that was by running Firefox.

And while there, I thought, why not have it showing my server's stats? Easy, just connect to LogMeIn IT Reach (which I talked about before) and... Oh, wait... It needs to install an extension. The yellow bar came out say something like "to install extensions, click the Options button and enable this option".

The button was there. But not the option. I thought I've seen this option before, and rightly disabled it. But where is it to enable again?

Nowehere to be found. So, it took me, an IT professional, about 5 minutes to figure out there was no option anywhere in the menus on Firefox to enable this. And off to Google, where I found all about the "about:config" page.




It's like a regedit for Firefox. Hidden. Away from users. And taking my control of my experience away from me. How non-user friendly was that?

Removing an important option from the menus and burying somewhere hard to find. Security by obscurity? And why the instructions Firefox itself gives me on how to enable installation are not accurate? The yellow bar should not reference the options if it's not there.

After double-clicking the appropriate option, I was able to finally install the proper extension for LogMeIn to work.

Is this kind of little things that makes me go away from an otherwise nice piece of software.

UPDATE: on an IRC chat someone pointed to me this was an oversight, and the software is still Beta. Forgive me, but a Beta software that claims to have an important part of the browser market should not be beta, but considered production. Some people are not here to test applications, but to work with them.





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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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