A few days ago, I upgraded to Firefox 3 and almost immediately regretted it. I don’t know what kind of usability testing folks at Mozilla do, but assuming they did some, I must be in the minority of Web users.
So what was so bad about Firefox 3? First, let’s take a look at the navigation in Firefox 3:
and in Firefox 2:
Why was it necessary to create the elaborate multi-colored control instead of tried and true Back and Forward buttons, each with its own list of pages visited?
More importantly, why is the “smart” (in reality, incredibly annoying) location bar necessary? In Firefox 2, having visited yahoo.com once, I could type “yah” into the location bar, hit a down arrow and Enter, and be taken to yahoo.com. In Firefox 3, the same sequence of actions yields an unpredictable outcome based on which Yahoo! service (mail.yahoo.com, answers.yahoo.com, whatever.yahoo.com) or site that has “yah” anywhere in its domain name or title tag (!) I visited last and/or most often.
Another small, but annoying “innovation” is the download window, which for whatever reason no longer has the Open control. So you downloaded an image and want to look at it? Sure, just open Windows Explorer and navigate to your download location… (Just because Firefox downloads to desktop by default doesn’t mean nobody ever changes this setting; I know I did, but then again, I might be in the minority…)
A small, but also annoying inconsistency: most alert messages in Firefox 3 are pop-ups, just as they were in Firefox 2, but the “Do you want Firefox to remember this password” alert somehow became a nearly invisible toolbar-like thing.
The end result of this acquaintance: I am back to running Firefox 2.0.16. Speaking of which, there was a very minor issue in the downgrade process that you normally don’t experience in an upgrade. Bookmarks, browsing history, etc. were preserved, but some of the settings weren’t. For example, the “You are requesting an encrypted page” and “You are leaving an encrypted page” dialogs, both of which I had turned off long ago, were shown after the downgrade even though they wouldn’t normally appear after upgrade.