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CodeCanvas .Net Vijay shankar ganesh on everything (well, almost) tech

After working on net for almost 5 years, I think the key to success of any browser is based on the usability features and improvements done for making them comfortable to users. After thinking over what I have liked in the browsers I have used so far, below is the top 10 key features I would prefer to have in a single browser. Most notably I think these would be a preferred feature for any internet browser user, do let me know your list through feedback

10. Developer tools {Developer’s developer’s developer’s…}
Preferred browser for the feature: Internet Explorer with Developer Toolbar / FireFox with WebDeveloper extension

A developer tool is one thing that's missing greatly from the browser guys. Yea sure there are lot of third party plug ins, but wouldn't it be great if it came directly form them who know the browser better? I appreciate the release of Developer Toolbar for internet explorer and Fiddler by Microsoft; it is a good direction to move on.

9. Look and Feel {Mood simple or not-simple ;)}
Preferred browser for the feature: Firefox

Common guys, we are not in the same mood always. We would need a light-weight skin which is tremendously responsive with least features during the time of work and development. But would need a skin which extends the browser functionality as and when we are in a 'experimenting/exploring' mood. Something like selecting a option like 'Keep it simple' or 'Make it cool' ;)

8. Browsing Session Resume
Preferred browser for the feature: Opera

My regards goes to Opera guys for coming up with the idea / or at least listening to users feedback and implementing it in the product. Resuming a browsing session which consists of more than one window is really a handy feature. Think about this situation; you are at the end of the day and you have opened some pages which are related to what you are hunting and as of yet you don't know which is the exact page that contains the information you need. Now you have to shutdown the system due to some compulsion. What would have been the solution if you don't have session resume? you can either jot down the url's in a text file or make them a bookmark which you need to erase off after verifying, now enter Opera's session resume option where you just close the browser and shut down the system, when you have again started working you can just open the Opera browser and you get an option to resume your previous session! Voila! You get all the sites open for you at the very same page you left them!

7. TLD filling through shortcut {Shift, Ctrl, Enter}
Preferred browser for the feature: Firefox

This is really a necessity now with the amount of browsing anybody is doing on a daily basis. Nobody would be willing to type the mundane "http://" and ".com"or".net" or whatever TLD for browsing these days. Internet explorer introduced this nifty shortcut where you use the Ctrl+Enter to fill in on the needed stuff for ".com" domains, Firefox went ahead and introduced extended shortcuts for some more (Ctrl+Enter -> .com, Shift+Enter -> .net, Shift+Ctrl+Enter -> .org)

6. Disabling Images / Multimedia Items {Movies on advertisement??? sheeez}
Preferred browser for the feature: Netscape

My most hated stuff while browsing is some site using up your bandwidth for unwanted ads! When you are browsing a site text ads are fine, image ads.... well, that is fine unless it hinders with the purpose of visit, flash ads with movies in them?? Common people, this is not going to suit me and that's the main reason I select to disable images, java applets and other multimedia plug-ins until unless I need them. This feature is kind of half implemented in the current browsers. The main problem in mentioning that images are not to be loaded is fine, but there are some sites for which images are required. For viewing images on those sites the only option with the current browsers is to enable images at browser level, which is not convenient. I love Netscape on this matter that they allow you to set the images / JavaScript’s to be enabled and disabled on the fly when visiting a site.

5. Smart Pop-up blocking and download management
Preferred browser for the feature: Firefox

Pop-up blocking is almost a standard feature in all the current version of the browsers; even then there is some area for improvement. I have come across sites which have effectively bypassed the blockers and have opened pop-ups and pop-under [I forgot the link, will post them. I think it was a movie review site, which I reached through Google search]. And the current pop-up blocking mechanism in Netscape is bit old fashioned, wherein you don't have any option to open a blocked window, and moreover if you are browsing your hotmail junk folder (in IE Rendering Mode) with Netscape it blocks the "Empty" commands pop-up screen (I also tried with Ctrl, Shift keys pressed down).

4. Paste and Go {Well, you paste something on the address bar to actually go there!!}
Preferred browser for the feature: Opera

This feature is so obvious in its level of usage; I wonder why most of the browsers have not implemented it yet. Well, consider this; you paste something in the address bar of a browser to actually visit that address right? Then why don't they give an option (KB shortcut or right-click menu item) to actually paste and go the address in one command? This feature is one of those usability gems from Opera.

3. Tabbed Browsing
Preferred browser for the feature: Mostly all browsers have opted in on this feature

Even though most of the browsers have opted in on this feature there is still some area for improvement on most of them. For example there is tab functionality that is available on Netscape that are not available with Firefox and Opera (double click closing).

2. Multi-level form information storing / submiting {Not another login screen}
Preferred browser for the feature: Netscape

More or less all browsers support automatic form filling either as built-in feature or through extensions. But where Netscape stands out is the amount of flexibility it gives you in form information saving. The user can choose to just save the information or save the information and auto-fill it whenever we come to the form on the web site or if it’s a login screen you can ask it to automatically fill the form and then submit the form too. And this kind of information saving is done through two level of visibility, either for a particular web site or for a default profile which will be available for all the websites. But even Netscape lacks one functionality, you can save only one set of login information for any website, so if you have different email ids for personal and professional use with the same email service provider, then you will have determine which one you are going to save in the browser for auto-login.

The main reason this feature has come up on the ladder is because how easy it makes you to use various online service with minimum typing :)

1. Response and True Status {Click ... click ... hmmmm .. i think its connecting...!!??}
Preferred browser for the feature: Opera (kind of)

This is one area where most browsers have to work extra. As far as I know still there are some glitches in the existing browsers where you get into response issues, I understand it may be associated with scripts running on a page or any other resource hog up. But at the end of it this is the one feature which will either create a smile or a frown on a users face.

As such I use/experience IE, Firefox, Opera and Netscape one daily basis for my development and testing, so my opinions are based on the experience I have gained out of these browsers. There maybe better alternatives which the users like me may not be aware of, in such cases please do let me know about them through the feedback section.

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2005 7:06 PM Self References , Review | Back to top

Comments on this post: Top 10 usability features I would like in a browser

# re: Top 10 usability features I would like in a browser
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Nice analysis ..
> make a shorter summary next time .. too techy to read full .
> Start from point 1 . I tend to sleep by last point .. must be important one to miss.

More soon.

Left by Gaurav on Sep 23, 2005 3:58 PM

# re: Top 10 usability features I would like in a browser
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How can we add AdSense ads in here.. would you please let me know?
Left by aboos on Sep 30, 2005 8:18 PM

# re: Top 10 usability features I would like in a browser
Requesting Gravatar...
Hi Aboos, i guess you have already figured a way to do it by looking at your blog.

Hi Gaurav, Thanks for the feedback. Keep em coming.
Left by CodeCanvas on Oct 01, 2005 1:32 PM

# re: Top 10 usability features I would like in a browser
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Good article!

Implementation of these features and incorporating in one integrated browser may not be possible, because of various incompatible browser standard features. It may take few more years to establish generic web standards(HTML,DOM,Javasript).

Nobody wants to give up their proprietory browsers(IE, Fox, Opera). But still it is good to bolster and recommend these features.

Veeresh D.
Left by Veeresh on May 16, 2008 12:33 AM

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