There's a new Firefox icon coming and I'm a bit disappointed. The original is very strong but has a few flaws that I've long wanted to see improved, yet the new design hasn't addressed them. So I've taken a crack at it and hastily made a mockup of what I'd have done.
My main goals were:
- Fix the shoulder so the arm actually looks attached to the firefox's trunk
- Make it feel 3d - instead of flat drop shadows my design has shading; instead of a flat tail that's been curled it has a real tail that wraps the globe
- Explain wtf the firefox is doing - in my version, he's a curious animal looking into a glowing globe
- Ditch the splotchy non-earth planet
Click to enlarge
This isn't perfect by any means, but it gives an idea of what I tried to accomplish.
Let me know what you think.
The button in question
My usability problems with the new big button are this:
- it is, on average, less than 10 pixels wider than the normal sized back button
- it costs about 10 pixels of vertical space from the page viewport
- the gray recess around it (on the Mac) could be confusing to new users
Luckily the implications of the first two can be calculated using Fitt's Law. I calculated the difference between both buttons from the point in the exact center of the viewport as this seemed the most simple way of getting a reasonable result. Also, it takes into consideration that the larger button alters its viewport, and thus affects its own usability.
On a 1024 x 768 screen I found that the larger button would have a 7% speed advantage. This comes at the cost of about 1% the viewport's area. That's more than I expected - I had predicted a difference of less than 5%, which I would have considered insignificant.
If clicking the back button normally takes a very slow user user two seconds then the new button will take 1.86 seconds. Over time, for such a labored user, the improvement is probably noticeable. So while I will personally continue to shrink the button on my own, I will have to stop complaining about the uselessness of the bigger back button.
Instead I'll complain about the uselessness of the awkwardly-shaped recess it's in.
"An employee apparently selected the wrong field," says to me problem #1 is a confusing UI. That the interface even affords the possibility of sending an automated call to every student is second problem, and obviously in combination these issues had significant consequences. I'd love to see the UI for this program, my guess is it's not too pretty.