Firefox 3 – Back Button UI Annoyance

I’m currently using Firefox 3 RC2 FireFox 3 and absolutely loving it – I love the new tags feature, the overall faster browsing experience, everything…

Well, almost. One thing that I find quite strange is the location of the control for jumping back several pages:

Firefox Back Button - actual

I remember the first time I needed to go back several pages and saw this and sort of looked at it like “hmm, seems like you can jump ahead several pages, but how do I jump back several pages?” But after clicking on the little control, it turns out that to go back several pages at once, you click on the control next to the forward link:

Firefox back button clicking on multi page control

Unintuitive indeed. Would it not make sense to have this control be next to the back button, maybe something like this?

My version of the Firefox back button

Here, the location of the control maps to our mental model of where we want to go, as in backwards.

Favicon Usability (or, please let me use them as buttons)

Over the weekend, I think, Google updated their favicon (or shortcut icon) …

New Google Favicon with lower-case g

First off, I was pretty confused when I saw this, since seeing that g out of context doesn’t remind me at all of the Google brand. The old favicon was much better:

Old Google Favicon

While that lowercase g could be pretty much anything, it’s hard to confuse this with anything other than Google. But worse, and this was the case with their previous favicons as well, they have the same favicon for several different services, such as search, maps, and news.  So why is this a big deal (or a small-big deal)?  Well, I use favicons as buttons in my bookmarks toolbar…

Example of how I use favicons as buttons

This is a great way to conserve space.  The only requirement is that the people who are designing the website are thinking about how favicons might be used.  (Ok, in addition to the requirement of having a favicon in the first place.) Maybe what I’m doing is a bit unusual – basically turning favicons into buttons by removing the text description, but it seems to make sense, no?  So, if you happen to be someone who designs favicons or has any say about it, if you’re working on a suite of services, don’t use the same favicon for all of them.  Even if users aren’t being nerdy like me, it still makes it easier to target the right app if it has distinct visual mark or brand.