August 23, 2010

UI Candy or Visual Feedback?

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fissionI am a software junkie and try out lots and lots of software and utilities to see what works for me. It gives me a chance to discover new software which help make my life easy. I alternate between multiple browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari. My main browser currently is Firefox while I use IE and Chrome for testing my blog and ASP.NET apps I tinker with. One feature that I really liked about Safari is that its progress bar which is displayed as part of the address bar itself.

Visual Feedback

Wait, its not a UI candy thing but a very sensible feature. When we type a URL, our eyes are looking at the AddressBar and after hitting ENTER they do not automatically shift to the status bar to see the progress bar. In fact, they continue to gaze at the AddressBar and waiting for the page to load. So what Safari has done is put the feedback about the progress right in front of our eyes.


Here is a screenshot of Safari loading a page with visual indication of the progress.


Meet Fission, a Firefox add-on which not only mimics Safari in displaying progress bar inside AddressBar but goes one step further showing “Connection Status” of  Waiting, Connecting, Transferring too.


Check out the image above (click on it to enlarge if you like) and you can see that a yellow bar is indicating overall progress while on the right side of the AddressBar shows the current stage of “Connected”.

Needless to say, you can configure the colour of the progress bar and decide if you want to see connection status on the right side of the AddressBar or not.


The last option is interesting one too… When you move the mouse over links in a page, it does not obstruct your view by popping up the link url as a tooltip, rather, quietly changes the URL in the AddressBar temporarily.


Sometimes, User Experience is not about nice images and smooth fonts but about understand how users interact and providing visual feedback in the most natural way like Fission does.

Happy Browsing Smile


  1. One needs to take into account the time you spend trying out new software vis-a-vis the benefit it brings, which is subjective and thus cannot be quantified. Unless, of course, the end is just to try new software for the intellectual delight thereof and to critique it. I mean, there is this entire school of thought that says that our lives aren't any more efficient today than say 50 years ago when the typewriter ruled.

  2. Sir, You seem to have used all the FF add-ons that existed on earth! :)

    Nice and Interesting article, however :)

  3. Well Maxim, look at it this way.. I spend the time trying out new software and you get the benefit by picking up the best of the lot. What say? :)

  4. Jayesh, as I mentioned, I am a software junkie and try a lot of stuff. I do try a lot of FF add-ons too and keep the one which make sense or make life easier, like Fission, GreaseMonkey, ReadItLater..

  5. That's true, Sir! And thank you very much! :)