I’ve been running Firefox now for about a month. It’s good. I’ve had a few issues installing Java support but two plugins make it all worthwhile (web developer and Tabbrowser Extensions). Of course most of the interface is pretty ‘standard’ so isn’t much of a leap, but it’s nicely configurable and so allows me to work they way I want.
I’ve already gotten used to working with tabs thanks to Avant Browser (a recommended IE shell) and spend 15 minutes every morning adding tab after tab dragged from various email newsletters or RSS feeds (hmmm is there an auto-bookmark plugin or some way of catching all of these and storing them in a Misc folder or something?). This allows me to then browse these sites at my leisure and whilst I’m sure this means I’m invariably missing something and I’m certain that it means I’m finding it harder and harder to remember where things came from (not a problem in the first instance but finding a site that you can’t quite remember without the help of any context is particularly hard), it does mean that I am remembering to do a lot more. A quick check of the calendar on a Monday morning, a few clicks and google searches and I’ve got listings for a fancy dress outfitter, a credit card comparison site and Amazon all loaded up and ready to go when I need them. Simple.
There is, as with everything in life – something which I’m sure you’re all painfully aware, a downside. The aforementioned Tab Preferences plugin allows you to select what action will happen when you ‘middle-click’ (wheel or button) on a tab. I’ve got mine set to close the tab. Not sure why exactly, but it just seemed natural (heaven forbid I have to move the mouse waaay over to the close button, I’m such a lazy… mouseuser-ist (?) and no I don’t want close buttons on each tab, I’ve mis-clicked them once too often for my liking!).
Thing is I’ve grown so used to it, that after 30 minutes in the company of Firefox, opening and closing tabs willy-nilly, I try and apply the same methodology to Windows and get thoroughly hacked off when middle-clicking an item on the taskbar DOESN’T close the application!
What I need is some way of defining my own actions for the entire operating system. I don’t want to have a different operating system or shell. I’ve tried those in the past and I happen to think that Microsoft aren’t any worse at UI design than anyone else. Of course when it comes to opinion, as someone else recently said “mine is the only opinion which matters – I’m sure you feel something similar about your own” (Peter, forgive the slight edit in the quote).
So, if anyone from Microsoft is reading, please bear this in mind… in fact if anyone from Apple is listening please do likewise.
Whilst I’m sure the extra 257 ‘features’ you are adding to the next versions of your operating systems are very impressive, and I’m sure I’ll find a use for some of them… I’d much rather you allowed me to have the system I want. You know. Me. The customer. Thank You.