Firefox Worm

Adam Kalsey doesn’t recommend Firefox because it doesn’t address the needs of users who don’t understand what a “browser” is and he jabs at the Firefox site. I’ve helped people like this and it’s a humbling experience. The IE info page is much worse, especially if you click on any of the links, but people don’t worry about it because IE is always there. Which prompts the obvious answer: a worm that transparently replaces IE with Firefox.

25 replies on “Firefox Worm”

Quite interesting…

I would rather see a tool that would allow me to distribute Firefox over an enterprise network and allow me to do updates.

I switched quite a while ago. The people who use my computer don’t have a blue ‘e’ to click on. The first time they ask where is the internet I point them to the firefox icon. They then use firefox.
I think this just calls for all us geeks to go door to door and update everyone’s windows security patches and install firefox, thunderbird (and linux?).

I just got through with one of these arguements. My generation is very web-savvy, we’re competent with technology. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to knows what a browser is, they know to press Enter, they know to use the Location Bar.

If someone were to open Firefox, I’m sure they would be able to use it; essentially, all browsers are the same.

As dumb as it may sound, many of the less computer-savvy people I know absolutely MUST click on the mail icon in Internet Explorer’s toolbar to get to their Outlook Express. Opening the program by itself is a foreign concept. I’ve tried explaining that it’s a waste of memory to open up two programs to use only one.

This is akin to the go button problem people have already brought up (here and elsewhere). Sadly, IE is the “standard” for browsing the web and thus Firefox should install looking pretty similar to it, with basic functionality (go button, mail button) already configured. They should let “the rest of us” decide to remove basic buttons like these.

Some friends of mine recently built a computer for another friend of ours, and within a short time he had completely messed it up with viruses and what not. So after they finally fixed it, they also took it upon themselves to install firefox, switch the icon with that of IE and rename the desktop shortcut to “Internet Explorer”… needless to say, he has yet to notice the difference.

My fiancee and most of my family switched to firefox as soon as I mentioned it. People just don’t know there’s other operating systems and browsers out there, which is a shame. However, as soon as you point them in the right direction, they become just as obsessed with the other OSs and browsers as us – well, maybe not THAT obsessive.

As for that guy:

“It doesn’t have a go button” – that’s just taking the whole “when you build an application, you must build it for the thickest person” to new levels. The browser itself already caters for all familiarity needs, it’d pass more HCI tests than IE, that’s for sure.

In response to the whole “what’s a” comments he made:

Regarding Micro$oft and IE:

“What’s a security hole? I don’t care I just want to surf the web and press go because i’m a complete dumbass”

*2 minutes later*

“Why has my screen gone blue, is this the internet? What’s error: 3000002830943, where do I type the address into?”

Something off the IE web site:

“Windows XP Service Pack 2 enhances your Web browsing and
e-mail experience with new security technologies designed to reduce unwanted content and downloads.”

Straight away you get slapped in the face with a random server pack. Conveniently, the critical IE updates section is way down at the bottom.

Funnily enough my mum and quite a few other members of my family aren’t computer literate at all and they all prefer Mozilla.

many of the less computer-savvy people I know absolutely MUST click on the mail icon in Internet Explorer’s toolbar to get to their Outlook Express.
That’s so true. MS doesn’t help the situation with Office. When most people launch any of the apps for Office, even on Mac, they are presented with a screen asking them which type of document did they wish to open? It makes the user second-guess themselves. “Did I really mean to open MS Word? Maybe I should be using Excel.”

I am constantly amazed by how many people are convinced that you get to URIs by typing the address into Google or Yahoo!. The concept of the address bar must not be very intuitive. :-\

A very good parallel discussion to the usability design challenges for just about anything, really. To me, the “Go” button makes sense because I deal with helping out my Mom on her computers, and “Go” is intuitive to her. That said, I can’t begin to describe the pain of teaching her to click on the “Start” button in order to shut down her computer.

IE and Moz/FF come from opposite ends of the user spectrum. Redmond wants the masses to use a simple and comfortable tool. Open-source geeks et al. want control of everything. They don’t need form…they need function. Now with Firefox trying to become more mainstream, they are seeing the challenges and feeling the bite of trying to appeal to a wider audience. No single tool can be all things to all people.

Well, maybe WordPress can, but no others will.

I’ve never seen a novice user press enter after typing in an address on IE.

That’s because most novice users using IE have adapted to that environment. If you’re a novice user and using IE, the chances that you’ve ever used something like Mozilla are actually quite slim. If it was reversed then the novice user would adapt to the Mozilla environment and find the “go” but on the IE bar quite redundant. From a HCI point of view I guess the “go” button is quite good, but most people these days just press enter, especially the older generation who used to use typewriters a lot.

Yes Mozilla has a few faults, but nothing compared to IE’s faults.

@Sushubh: I didn’t missed your comment. I just wanted to add, some (better) AVP catch those exploits (and catch’em regardless which browser you use). – Anyway I got your point. 🙂

thus Firefox should install looking pretty similar to it, with basic functionality (go button, mail button) already configured. They should let “the rest of us” decide to remove basic buttons like these.

What a scary scary suggestion. I understand where your coming from, but if we start catering to all IE’s flaws and UI mistakes we’ll never advance at all. The changes obviously need to be subtle at the moment, but it has to happen sometime.

I guess its a trade-off in every industry as to whether you choose to progress or remain stagnant to avoid losing users. Mr. Nielsen would probably be in the latter.

I realise I used ‘we’ there a few times, I can confirm I meant it in a community sense as opposed to “I am a secret Firefox Developer”.

I have to disagree with you Mark. The go button is far from an “IE flaw” or “UI mistake.” As one person already said, it’s actually very intuitive, especially for mouse-centric computer newcomers. Few people know you can control a computer from the keyboard; they think it’s just there to type.

Pressing a button to make something happen is anything but an IE-specific action. Look at any online form. You press a button to submit it. Many “power-users” will tab to the submit button and press enter, but you’d be hard pressed to find a novice that does the same.

When I made my suggestion of Firefox installing with an interface similar to IE’s, I did not mean it should be an IE clone. I only meant that some conventions used in a majority of software, which unfortunately IE is the major browser, should be defaults on other software as well. Firefox doesn’t need to be the little secret of a select few who know how to tailor it to their needs, it needs to be the new standard. IE isn’t cutting it at all. You have to cater to your audience, and Firefox’s audience is slowly expanding from just developers in-the-know to a mainstream product that protects users while online.

My suggestion was far from scary.

View more than one web page in a single window

You have to a serious power user to appreciate that feature. Many people only have a single window open all the time anyway. If they need another window, they close the first one.

This was a rather random comment from Adam. Most people like to be organised and absolutely HATE having lots of windows open, which is one of the reasons my fiancee moved to mozilla. It’s fast, organised and user friendly.

I don’t understand how one person, even novice users, can only usually have one single window open at any one time. I also don’t understand the logic in this, “If they need another window, they close the first one”, which really defeats the point of having “another window open”. All users of the internet like to multi-task, therefore you don’t have to be a “power user” or “uber geek” in order to understand the power of tabbed browsing.

As far as the “Go” button goes; just look at the Firefox interface. Look at how huge the location bar is. There’s no reason in Hell it shouldn’t or couldn’t stick a “Go” button in there, sacrificing a few pixels of their gigantic address bar. Although teaching everyone to just press enter also seems like a prudent mission. It’s just so much easier.

Who says power users always use they keyboard to drop text into the URL bar anyway…

For example – let’s say a url is displayed on webpage but it is not hyperlinked. To visit that link you need to copy and paste it… text on a webpage cant be copied easily with a keyboard so you (I) use a mouse. Since you had your hand on the mouse to do this action, you paste the URL into the addressbar with a right-click and paste. Then you punch the go button…

The Go button is always the first customisation I make to a new firefox install

I prefer the “Paste&Go” extension for that, saves a click..
Besides, also the “text-plain” extension should do the job.
And in that case I’m rather for the teaching approach.

There is a ‘Go’ button in Firefox! If you want it, simply go to the ‘View’ menu, click ‘Toolbars’ and then click ‘Customise’. From the window which opens, drag the ‘Go’ button to the toolbar. You can also do the same for Mail, Print, History, Cut, Copy etc. Hope this helps you ‘Go’ button/Firefox fans, like me.