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Searchbar in Firefox

posted on 2009-09-14


One of the hot topics of the last years is usability. Consistency can help improving the usability, but I think Firefox 3 fails in consistency when you use the searchbar on three different operation systems: Linux, Windows and Mac OSX.

Example 1: Windows

On Windows shows the searchbar like this:

Figure 1: Firefox searchbox Windows Vista

I really like this layout. You can argue about the position of the buttons: “Next” on the right seems to make more sense, while “Next” on the left will make it easier to push it.

Example 2: Linux

Next image shows how the searchbar looks on Linux (OpenSUSE 11 with KDE3 in my case).

Figure 2: Firefox searchbox Linux (OpenSUSE 11 KDE3)

This layout is quite good. The icons are really clear what the buttons do and the position of the buttons makes sense.

Example 3: Mac OSX

On Mac OSX 10.5 the seachbar looks like this:

Figure 3: Firefox searchbox on Mac OSX 10.5

In my opinion, this layout stinks. The position of the buttons is incorrect, because the button shape makes the “Previous” button look like “Next” and vice versa.


I know there are limit on these different OS’s about what you can do with the default UI elements (for example on Mac OSX). But I think the people at Mozilla should try harder to make the user clear what the buttons do and at least change which the position of the two buttons.