Let’s have fun with this one…
If your browser could do anything—no limits—what would you want it to do?
Could be features that positively impact entertainment, social, work, personal, family, education, shopping OR any scenario where you wish Firefox could help make an experience better OR even create a new experience/develop a brand new product.
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Let’s keep this thread focused on the 'blue sky ideas' theme. If you have additional product feedback or ideas unrelated to the discussion topic, create a new post.
Thanks so much and looking forward to hearing all of your amazing ideas 🙌
Resist the economic exploitation of big tech
This is a discussion I have already raised, but unfortunately it is not well supported. I have also suggested, as a related discussion, increasing performance per resource. Specifically, there is a need to work comfortably with a 64-bit dual-core or so CPU. This would require the courage to give up on meeting all web standards.
PS: Web browsers should be expected to be used simultaneously with other applications. It is not comfortable for the browser to use up hardware resources.
I looked for existing ideas that embodied my ideals. These already have a lot of support and should proceed to the development stage.
To avoid wasting user resources, it is also necessary to isolate features that can be implemented with extensions. Also, since not everyone has a large display, the display area is one of the resources.
Kind of like taking a freeze frame of an existing tab.
But in comparison to a screenshot a user can still interact with the page content.
That would also be a cool alternativ to a fully discarded tab, which needs a full page reload. This suspended (frozen) tab would kind of be a middle ground between an active and a fully discarded tab. Oh, and of course a user should be able to unfreeze the tab again, when he wants.
I would love to have a browser UI that is stable and under my control.
Right now every browser update is very stressful, because I have to worry that it's going to jumble things around, or remove accessibility features that I rely on, or insert new ads and distractions that I need to waste time getting rid of.
It would be nice to have a browser that I can set up based on my needs, and then be confident that it isn't going to forcibly change itself behind my back.
Yes. I would like Firefox to remember the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Sometimes the updates change things around and the UI and/or behavior of Firefox becomes different than what long-time users are used to. Then we have to dig around and find out how to change the setting back to how it used to be using about:config settings. The fairly recent update having to do with Windows DPI settings was one of the worst. However, there have been others in the past. If Firefox wants to "improve" something, they should not change the default settings for current users. Instead, they could change the defaults for new users, if they think it's truly easier to use for newbies. For current users, those settings could just be treated as user options (the same as the settings we have previously manually changed). Firefox can put information in the release notes telling us how to make the changes if we want to try out the so-called "new and improved" version. They should also add more of these settings to the settings menu, instead of forcing users to use about:config, which many users are not comfortable changing.
Thanks. I actually haven't had any trouble finding the release notes. My point is that when you make changes which affect the normal historical behavior/appearance of FF, you need to keep our default settings as user-preferred settings, but just alert us and let us switch to the new default if WE think it is an improvement. The update a few months ago which tied the zoom level to the Windows DPI settings was a nightmare for many users, and we actually had to ADD a setting in about:config to undo the change!
Editing and integration of features such as Pocket, Reading List and Reader View in favour of the user. Actually, this idea seems non-bluesky, but I feel it is bluesky as it doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon.
Hey, blue sky is anything you think will most improve your browsing or overall internet experience...so thank you for sharing and adding the direct links to your favorite ideas! This thread will be shared with the appropriate product teams, so hopefully we'll have some more info soon 😃
Please work on making Profiles a first-class feature. I love the philosophy behind Firefox, and I love to use it, but Firefox implements the UX for Profiles in such a crude manner that it becomes impossible for me (and probably many others) to use it. This feature has so much potential, but the poor UX choices make it very hard to use.
There are a few more pain points, but solving these two issues would make using Firefox so much more convenient for me.
1. Give me back the larger icons on the new tab shortcuts, release 94 (I think) changed them to tiny icons in big buttons. We used to be able to get them back with browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.newNewtabExperience.enabled = false but that went away as well. I really liked the aesthetic of the larger icons. Make it easy, when clicking the gear icon to customize the new tab, right below the # of rows of shortcuts, please give me the option for large or small icons in the shortcuts.
2. Limit each tab's ability to HOG system resources. It's really annoying when I am researching "how to do X" and the whole browser is slowed down because 1 of the 5 tabs open is on a page with a resource abusing script.
3. I really want the "do not autoplay ANY audio/video/stream" god button. Yes, sites have the right to put up ads to generate revenue, but that stops at the point where they are burning through my monthly data allowance consuming it with their auto-play ads. Clicking the X to kill the floating media player window works for about 10 seconds and then another starts right up. It's annoying trying to watch a video I started on "How to do X" in one tab and the audio is getting stepped on by an auto-play streaming ad from another tab. They are consuming my resources (bandwidth/data allowance) without my consent, much the same way a telemarketer is illegally consuming my minutes allowance when calling my cell phone.
Thanks for hearing me out.
All great points, thanks! And there are some similar ideas already trending here in the community:
To me Firefox (Developer Edition) is best or among the best in performance and the best for full customization. In my experience Edge's performance is somewhat close, but I should note that I have disabled some Firefox preferences (in about:config) like accessibility services I don't use and have Auto Tab Discard to discard after 3-6 tabs loaded and 10-15 minutes of inactivity, so that they don't consume much CPU or RAM resources. On the customization side Vivaldi has some UI settings for this as well the possibility of limited CSS customization but its performance is noticeably terrible on older machines with a fraction of the tabs of the other browsers.
Still, I think it could be made better if it offered a "sessions" mechanism and session organization feature. The benefit of it is that it would improve user organization and workflow. In fact, under my profile you can find replies (pick one - they are similar but with different analogies) related to tab management that elaborate these in detail and if modified a bit they could fit this session mechanism well. Existing addons don't quite offer this because they are lacking in robustness by losing user's session data. Pre-quantum(or pre-XUL?) addons(session managers, panorama, tab groups) were more robust in that respect, in my experience. Also, having different profiles wouldn't be a solution, as it is cumbersome for the user because (s)he has to go through the work of configuring browser preferences, installing addons and configuring them and all other customizations including userchrome CSS and JS, yet again. This session stuff would therefore be advantageous if implemented and integrated natively. Probably will post an idea related to this somewhat later, when having the time to elaborate on the complete thing or someone else could take on this meanwhile.
"Idea" number 2, would be burndown and time chart(s) of tabs related to a particular scenario. This could be useful if someone only wants to spend a certain time on such scenario and/or to have a vision of the progress on the numbers of tabs (increase, decrease numbers, percentage and estimated time to complete or reach a certain marked point based on past data) on a more permanent scenario like a project of any kind. This could be achieved by addons not necessarily be native.
Another "idea" would be for example a reader view that summarized a page's text and a section for stats related to reading time for the day, week, months(s) and with option for grouping stats per site/domain. Going even further, what if it was possible to have articles on a site filtered by their content, like some RSS readers do(by word filtering on title and body) but on a different (an additional level) by using techniques from the field of natural language(I'm not quite acquainted with this). For example, having paragraphs to be reorganized (to be closer) by their similarity or intersection of concepts - which could make texts more intelligible by having fundamental concepts in their proper order before more advanced concepts that rely on these more fundamental definitions or a (fiction) narrative arc that is all over the place and one would like to read a character's story or events sequentially. Or having generated graphs that would identify cause and effect between subjects and objects via actions/verbs, their properties via adjectives and state modification - (kicking a black rugby ball would create an entity or node named ball with tuple state (rugby, black, kicked) - since modified subjects or objects (the effects) would be of more interest than the causes because from a learner's perspective state modification(effects) is more interesting than events(that caused it or not). This, if possible, would enable automatic content curation and filtering by user relevant and supplied concepts, subjects, objects, categories or topics (I'm not sure of the correct terminology). And the learner would more rapidly build their rules/policies for quicker decision making and knowledge building while going through more signal than noise. I guess that this would be an ontology graph (or knowledge graph?) that enabled filtering (for example being applied on a generalist news site - but not exclusive to this kind of site).
Expanding on the last paragraph, one could have highlighted a few top articles of the month ranked by their quality by proxy metrics such as cohesiveness and original order of paragraphs (and paragraphs with no mention of salient concepts would contribute to noise in the calculation). Such metrics could be the ratio of depth of content (judged by level of dependent/mentioned relations between concepts and/or number of concepts) to length of text or number of sentences thus measuring quality density and conciseness. Articles which are overly descriptive and with excessive prose or adjectives and more about events than facts would be ranked lower by default.
This is great...and a ton of really valuable info! Sessions/session organization is really interesting—plus a popular topic in this community. We'll take a look at that along with your replies in other threads related to tab management. Will follow up with questions to learn more. Thanks!
Remarking on "blue sky ideas", I understand that among these ideas, can be some for longer term roadmap consideration and that on other hand smaller features and options, when added together can make a great product.
However, as a Firefox user, I wouldn't like if it at some point is headed the same path of Vivaldi. Vivaldi has added features natively like mail, notes and RSS support that shouldn't be part of a browsers core function. For that there addons, and even better standalone dedicated applications or even websites.
Among those added "features" or bloat, as well as extensive settings and UI customization and JS libraries and frameworks, there may be the culprit(s) to its abysmal performance and playback and windows responsiveness when opened with similar number of tabs.
There still could be some level of inter application protocol communication/addon integration if that would be advantageous to do or even some browser API endpoints accessible by applications - apart from extensions remote communication with apps there is also devtools protocol for Chrome and marionette/gecko (projects available on github) for Firefox.
I think that some user requested features are a bit lazy because there addons or apps that do such things capably and the performance or other benefits of having those integrated natively are dubious or marginal while adding to the maintenance, bloat size/attack surface, time and integration costs.
Regarding "blue sky ideas" vs incremental improvements, consider this: PWA support.
Maybe the reason PWA support is not currently widely available is its lower priority and/or implementation complexity.
I'm making a suggestion for an alternative to PWA support, while the latter is not implemented, that could make user's workflow a bit closer.
What I understand of PWA's, is that to have PWA support, a site must implement some number of things. What if, instead, opening a site from a phone's or desktop (home)screen (not installed PWA but added) would make it available on a dedicated window(separate from the user's sessions or profiles windows) making a "fake" PWA without need for install - a technique that would work for all sites regardless of PWA support. For one time use tools/calculators/(web)apps or reference sites without need to browse other sites, this would be useful and even more advantageous than pinned tabs without the need to load a main session with lots of tabs and dragging performance down unnecessarily. This solution would be like having bookmarks to sites on the desktop/phone's (home) screen that open in individual windows. On the desktop it would be more useful because multiple "PWA" that are needed for the same task could be tiled side by side while also(the desktop form factor) allowing more screen for multitasking.
On the implementation side, some considerations about security and storage efficiency would presumably need to be thought of, so that said solution would scale well with number of "fake" installed PWAs and respective resource usage, namely storage and compute (CPU/RAM/GPU) because a user could have the need for several PWA's opened and loaded.
Those mentioned scenarios remind me of a digital personal assistant that would surface with relevant(interactive) notifications, a use case that I'm not particularly aware of (its details) or found usefulness right now. However, I'm mentioning this in case other people would find this feature valuable to them or as a starting point for others.
One other idea thing:
Let's imagine users have ranked their favorited resources in a list (e.g reference sites they trust or products) for each of a number of distinct scenarios. Would it be possible, given the ranking data for all users and for each particular user and user list, make recommendations if an item has been popular overall in rankings but is missing on this particular list and ranks higher than some number of items present in this user's list. The goal of recommendations would be to improve user's lists and choices over time by not only expanding choices but making alternatives visible. Items could optionally have user generated tags and/or values/properties for establishing better why an item was chosen for that ranking and why it places better than other options. These could also be visible to all users who then could find ordered tags/properties by their popularity when tagging their own items. Lists would also need to be in the proper categories for them to be "compared" properly? All of this would be desirable while maintaining maximum privacy for user's list ranked collections and transmitting the least amount of info for gathering stats and leaking minimum data. On the technical side, I guess it would be sort of a distributed ranking system. Does it make sense?
I would just like Firefox to put the default input somewhere that works when you open a second window. Typing just does nothing. You have to manually select the url input area to type there. Almost as bad as a text input area in the middle of the screen that by design does not accept text. Instead, placing it on the URL bar.
What do you have set as your home page? My home page is Yahoo, and when I opened a new window just now, the cursor was already inside the Yahoo search box. But my new tab page is the default Firefox page and the cursor is inside the url box; the search box is in the middle of the page but when I type there it moves the text back up to the url line - I would like to keep it inside the search box. My "new private window" also opens up the default Firefox page, and the cursor is still in the url line, ready for me to type a website name.
1. I wish FF would stop doing funky things with Facebook after the buffer fills up. The current problem (listed on here as well as on Bugzilla, I think) with the auto scroll jumping down several posts has been going on for several months and is still not fixed, either by FF or by Facebook. Prior to that, I had an issue with FB not loading pictures after I had been scrolling for a length of time; I had to close FF and restart it to clear it out. However, that issue did not happen as often as the scrolling jumps. Now I have another issue with FB; some of the buttons stop working, usually when I am trying to view individual pictures from a post with multiple picture. FB will not scroll through the pics, other buttons on FB stop working, and when I close out of the pics I am directed to some random page instead of back to the news feed where I was. My dream would be for FF to work smoothly with Facebook!
2. I would like to be able to stop the videos from news sites and other pages to stop dropping down to the corner of my screen when I try to scroll past them. They are annoying and distracting, and they sometimes cover up the text I am trying to read. Sometimes I even have to zoom out on my browser before I can X out of the videos. Let us have the option to move the video to the corner, but let us turn off the setting which does this by default.
3. This is a minor issue, but when I go to a new, blank tab which has the box in the middle of the screen saying "search with Google or enter address," I wish FF would keep the text I type inside the box intead of moving it to the address bar. I like being able to search on the fly using the address bar, but when I go to this new tab and start a search, I would like the text to stay inside the box just like it does when I search from Yahoo, Google, Duck Duck Go, or any other search engine. It's not a big deal, but I find it a bit annoying...LOL