You Make My S***list
Mozilla's user experience is in fact so bad that some of the geekier Mozilla users have started to claim that the browser is not for end users, and that it's rather a fringe browser for the web elite. This is of course hard to believe, since the project's main concept is to bring standards compliance back onto the web, and a fringe browser cannot do such a thing. It's a good thing the Gecko layout engine can be used in other browser products with relative ease.
Chimera is noticeably absent from the list.
As a long time Mozilla user, and an even longer time Mac user, and well, a year now as a Mac OS X user, and, you get the picture... Anyway, I've got no problem with Mozilla's UI, ok I have problems, but they are far outweighted by the fact that I'm using the best browser out there as far as being standards compliant, open source, multi-platform, and on and on and on...
Oh, did I mention I also have experience in usabilty and design? ;)
They do make valid points but it's as if they don't really understand (or care about) the goals of Mozilla. Did they see the interface of Sendmail, or Apache, whoo! Oh, wait they don't really have interfaces, but continue to be crucial pieces of software...
notice how they use Modern in their screenshots, despite the fact that Classic is the default theme...
Yes, they used Modern, but a lot of the problems the author points out are still present with the Classic theme. I wholeheartedly agree with him: Mozilla's UI sucks. It's always felt to me like I'm not using a "real" browser; the interface bits just feel too grafted on.
Chimera, on the other hand, is getting rather good. But the fact that Mozilla still has a very hardcore "geek" sensibility about its UI is probably part (a very small part) of why it hasn't made a bigger impact.
Don't get me wrong: I /love/ Mozilla and use it as my default browser... but the UI needs to be completely overhauled.
As stated on the Mozilla 1.0 release notes page:
We make binary versions of Mozilla 1.0 available for testing purposes only! We provide no end user support.
This product has never been explicitly intended for end users. That's what NS7, Galeon etc are for. Blame them for UI problems, not necessarily the Mozilla folks (although many mozilla folks are netscape folks of course...)
I'd tend to agree with the idea that Mozilla's UI isn't the best of the UIs on OS X, mainly because they just don't feel like an Aqua experience, as the experience in Chimera does feel like a totally Aqua experience. That being said, it's easy to make the supposition that Mozilla isn't a great UI experience in OS X. The author of the article didn't write a good article, but that's not what's being debated here.
I use the Lo-Fi theme, just because its more Aqua-friendly, but that doesn't mean it conforms to the experience that I'm looking for...
I love Mozilla, but I can guarantee you this, if Chimera ever gets far enough along for me to enjoy using it, I'll drop Mozilla in a heart beat, because its not as pleasant under OS X as Chimera is/should be.
That being said, I'll use Mozilla on my Win2K box as long as I can, unless of course Apple ports Mac OS X to Intel hardware ;)
The article states:
Mozilla's user experience is in fact so bad that some of the geekier Mozilla users have started to claim that the browser is not for end users, and that it's rather a fringe browser for the web elite.
This is missing the point. Yes, Mozilla isn't for end users. It's for distributors like Netscape who make products for end users. However, that doesn't excuse poor UI. Mozilla aims to be a basis upon which distributors can build their software. Therefore it should have (and mostly does have) all the things which a good Internet client suite should have including a rendering engine, networkng library and installer. A quality user experience is no exception. Just because Mozilla isn't aimed at end users, this does not mean that it doesn't need to be usable. mozilla.org should not (and tries not to) leave usability up to distributors. People would scream blue murder if mozilla.org dropped Gecko and said, "Well, we figured that distributors could implement that bit themselves." Usability is no different.
While Chimera is a nice browser, it lacks many of the things that really makes Mozilla, well - Mozilla!
Try the Pinstripe theme for Mozilla, it's pretty Aqua-ish:
Apache and Sendmail were not designed to be configured by end users.
I am not a MacOS user (uhhh), but I use Mozilla every day as my default browser on Win2k. I don't really think that Mozilla's UI is bad; in fact, it is good enough. I know many people who are not computer gurus but they use Mozilla every day and are satisfied with it. We should distinguish between "a really good GUI" and "a MacOS- (or any other OS)-style GUI". Mozilla's GUI is good (not perfect, of course). It is OS-independent and therefore does not look exactly like your OS. But think - do you REALLY need it? You can use a MacOS version of IE which misses a LOT of Mozilla features... will the Mac-style GUI save your time in this case? I think not. If you need a productivity solution, you'll choose Mozilla; if you need smart icons and flashing menus, use IE or anything of that kind - and be happy with it.
Anyway, we should forgive Mozilla developers: they are making FREE and cross-platform browser which is feature-rich and stable, and they distribute it for free.