Tag: interface

Two annoying issues with Firefox 4 (and their solutions)

The Mozilla Foundation updated Firefox to its version 4 last month and it has lots of interesting features. So I upgraded and although I initially criticized the new interface (when looking at screenshot from beta releases), I now quite like it: it gives more space to the actual content (web pages) to keep the “container” (the Firefox GUI in itself) to a minimum.

But … (because there always is a “but”). But I found 2 annoying issues with the new version …

  1. the “open in new Tab” option is now second in the pop-up menu when you right-click on a link;
  2. Firefox will not save all your open tabs when you close it.

In version 3, when you right-click on a link, the pop-up menu shows you options to open in new window or in new tab in this order:

  1. Open Link in New Window
  2. Open Link in New Tab

Now in version 4, when you right-click on a link, the pop-up menu shows you these options in the following (inverted) order:

  1. Open Link in New Tab
  2. Open Link in New Window

So if you are used to click on the second option to open the link in a new tab (in version 3), you automatically do this in the new version. But you open a new window. That’s annoying! And that’s a known bug/feature.

There are three solutions to this issue:

  1. use Ctrl + (left) click to open a link in a new tab.
  2. use the Menu Editor add-on to re-organise the pop-up menu order as you wish.
  3. use this tweak proposed in a Mozilla forum.
  4. (I know, a fourth solution) just get used to it because I’ll also find it annoying if Firefox developers suddenly change the order of the menu items back in version 5.

My other issue with this new version of Firefox is that it doesn’t warn you that you will close it but not save the tabs you are currently browsing. In Firefox 3, there was a warning dialog box telling you something like: “you are about to close Firefox but there are still tabs open. Would you like to save them, quit anyway (and lose them) or stay in Firefox”. In Firefox 4, no warning, it closes and doesn’t save your tabs.

Initially you think you made a mistake, there was no tab when you closed Firefox. Or maybe you didn’t pay attention to the dialog box and closed Firefox, telling it not to save. At the third occurrence, you are sure there is an issue! And there is one indeed! The Firefox development team apparently decided not to show this box anymore. It sounds ok if you think that this roadblock-dialog-box isn’t in the user’s way when he/she decides to quit. But then save the tabs to users used to this features don’t lose their tabs. This evening, I lost at least 20 tabs containing things not so important (so not in bookmarks) but I wanted to read tonight. Grrr …

Fortunately, as usual, there is a solution:

In the address/url bar enter: about:config
In the filter box enter: quit
set browser.showQuitWarning to ‘true’

Again, this is a feature or an explicit decision: see bugs 592822 and 593421 for instance.

From my point of view, the gold standard is: don’t change the UI and user experience ; or do it but tell the user you did it the first few times the old behaviour isn’t occurring.

Alt+e, g, a

This is the “shortcut” sequence of keys in order to get the list of changes in a text document in OpenOffice.org. It works very nicely with MS-Word documents, a useful feature when you are obliged to exchange work with colleagues, mentors, etc. who only use the proprietary word processor.

Part of screenshot of the track list in OOoIMHO, the only problem is the way the list of changes is shown to the end-user in OpenOffice.org: as in other word processor software, changes are underlined in a different color for each contributor and a small hint tells you what happened to the hovered block of text, who did it and when; unlike other word processors, you can’t accept/refuse any change by right-clicking on it (you have to do it from the separate window). I do not find this intuitive and, sometimes, annoying …

Although I really appreciate the list of all the changes (notably for bulk acceptance/refusal), I think the end-user should also have the opportunity to accept/reject a change, once at a time, with a right-click of the mouse or any other means (keyboard shortcut e.g.). This is, I think, especially important when you are not reviewing the last version of a document, when a reviewer ask questions in the text (you can’t neither accept neither reject, you have to manually edit the text) or when you still do some modifications to modified text.

Talking about modifications of modified text, OpenOffice.org doesn’t update the list of changes when you modify your text while this list is open. You have to close the list and then re-open it to see your new changes.

My “dream functionality” would be that, next to the actual list of changes, the end-user would be able to:

  • either right-click to obtain a pop-up menu showing the accept and reject options
  • either use two keyboard shortcuts: one for acceptance of the modification under the cursor

I already looked for such add-on on the web, without success. If anyone finds something interesting, let me know …