All about Firefox usability quirks

Taking a break from my studies of the fresh new semester, I wanted to address something I recently [consciously] took notice about my habits when using Firefox. Revealed are funny details that of  an irregular, perhaps awkward user interface usability habit I frequently employ in Firefox.

Lets examine the top of our browser, i.e, Figure 1.

Firefox comes with a our standard address bar as well as a search bar in the top right of the browser.

Figure 1.

Every day, I visit my search engine of choice – Google as do most of the web.

How does one get to Google from within Firefox?

  • Search from the address bar, i.e., ‘south Indian soup recipes’
  • Type and land on the Google main page
  • Search from the top right search box that is there for you. It begs for your input.

Now of those three, I most frequently type into the address bar, and begin my searches directly from landing on the search engines main page.

Personally, I believe this is an interesting look at user usability habits as this habit of mine seems to be the most difficult, if not awkward way to search in a modern browser. Rather than employ new easier methods I am performing actions redundantly. Perhaps it’s a habit I continue to employ from the stone age of internet browsers.

In addition, to land on the address bar I use the shortcut  Ctrl-l, which invokes the minimal amount of effort required to get to the address bar. Instead of hitting tab once one more time to land into the embedded browser search box, I  invoke more keystrokes, just to begin my searching. Weird. With this habit, I am completely ignoring the intended use of the search box by employing a compltely different method to accomplish the exact same task.

Obviously there is nothing wrong with this method, as it works. That’s the beauty of the browser, there is no one way to accomplish a common task.

We all have our habits.  This makes me curious as to what other habits people have when using Firefox. What are yours?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cesar on January 16, 2009 at 10:29 am

    FYI, the shortcut for the search box is ctrl-k. Which is conveniently close to the L key.

  2. Or you can hit Ctrl-K and go straight to the search box. While in the search box, hitting Ctrl-Up/Down switches search engines. And Alt-Enter will open your search results in a new tab. Any page you land on which causes the search box favicon to have a blue background is giving you the option of adding that site’s search to the list of engines.

    Took me a while to switch from going to google’s homepage, but there’s no looking back now 🙂

  3. Posted by Aaron on January 18, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Ctrl-K! Wow!

    Thanks Chris!

  4. Posted by nadavers on January 21, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Also CRL+E works on the windows side!

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