Firefox/Features/UI animations

From MozillaWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Please use "Edit with form" above to edit this page.


UI animations
Stage Development
Status In progress
Release target `
Health OK
Status note `


Product manager Asa Dotzler
Directly Responsible Individual Frank Yan
Lead engineer Frank Yan
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead `
QA lead `
UX lead Alex Limi
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members `

Open issues/risks


Stage 1: Definition

1. Feature overview

This project covers the exploration and tracks the design and implementation of animations in Firefox's user interface that can benefit the browsing experience, such as:

  • Improving perceived performance
  • Drawing attention to important indicators
  • Providing visual affordances to make tasks more intuitive
  • Adding visual appeal to tasks in the browser

See #Background below for expanded explanations.

This feature falls primarily in the Experience category (from the "Discover, Experience, and Connect" vision statement.)

2. Users & use cases


3. Dependencies


4. Requirements




Stage 2: Design

5. Functional specification


6. User experience design


Stage 3: Planning

7. Implementation plan


8. Reviews

Security review


Privacy review


Localization review




Quality Assurance review


Operations review


Stage 4: Development

9. Implementation

  • bug 596954 - Tab-related animation issues and enhancements
  • bug 610545 - Arrowpanel Animation
  • bug 588317 - Move popup blocked notification to a location bar icon and animate it to draw adequate user attention.
  • Move find bar to top of content area and animate it.
  • Animate paper plane icon upon sharing, so user knows that share was successful.

Stage 5: Release

10. Landing criteria


Feature details

Priority P1
Rank 11
Theme / Goal `
Roadmap User Experience
Secondary roadmap `
Feature list Desktop
Project `
Engineering team Desktop front-end

Team status notes

  status notes
Products ` `
Engineering ` `
Security ` `
Privacy ` `
Localization ` `
Accessibility ` `
Quality assurance ` `
User experience ` `
Product marketing ` `
Operations ` `


This section was originally written by Jennifer Boriss for the Firefox 3.6 project that this supercedes.

Animation in the browser is a tool, but not a goal unto itself. Wherever animation is used, it should be with a definite and purpose and benefit to the user.

Like many web technologies, animation is a useful but easily abused tool. The early web and the dawn of the .gif format saw animation heinously overused websites, with blinking, spinning, and scrolling animations thrown in because they "looked cool." As the web stopped foaming at the mouth and begin the transition to what could be done to what should be done, animation became used more successfully as a tool. Some ways in which animation can be useful include:

  • Drawing attention: Our eyes are genetically optimized to be drawn to movement - a subtle movement means the attention of the user is diverted. If the user needs to be made aware of a change while their focus is drawn elsewhere, an animation can notify them. However, this diverts the attention of the user from the task they were engaged in, and should be used sparingly.
  • Tactile affordances/matching digital interactions to the real world: In real life, all of our physical tasks involve the manipulation of objects. The desktop and online environment often draw metaphors between real objects and digital objects in order to make the manipulation of digital objects feel more natural. For instance, desktop environments use metaphors such as dragging, dropping, opening, and closing. Similarly, the browser draws on some of our real life metaphors. Potentially, animation can draw links between the real and digital world, thus making online interactions feel more intuitive.
  • Making browsing more human/visually appealing: While a valid goal, this is a cautious one and thus last. Animation does have the ability to add fun, playfulness, and "humanness" to the browser - but going too far is very easy. Firefox, while a branded browser, stands best when it feels at home in its operating system. Since version 3, there have been separate designs of Firefox for the different operating systems so that the browser would feel more native. This is still a goal, but so is optimization of the web experience. Subtle animations can add a human touch, but also personality. The risk of personality is that a strong one can fight against the need for the browser to blend into the users' working environment.