Places:History Use Cases

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This page is not for general user discussion and feedback. Please do not add your personal use cases. Perhaps we should have another page for that, or you can add it to the discussion.

Example users

Using the method of Alan Cooper, we should identify concrete examples of some of the types of users that want to use history, what their experience level is, what their goals are, how they encounter history, etc.


Mike is a Mozilla developer that knows a lot about Firefox.

Task: He wants to go back to the bug he was working on the previous afternoon, but doesn't remember the bug number and wasn't assigned to it, so he can't find it in his bug list.

As the bug was entered by Dude (below), the title has nothing to do with the bug and looks like many similar bugs in Mike's browsing history. He remembers or can quickly figure out all the features of the history system, but doesn't have much time to spend looking for his site.

Other goals: He wants something he can talk about to sell people on using his project (Firefox). He wants interesting things he can point people at to make them want to try Firefox.


Brittany is a 14 year old who likes to browse YouTube, MySpace and other social sites. She has grown up with computers and uses hers for socializing, entertainment and homework. She doesn't care about experimenting with more advanced things, but likes her browsing experience to look cool and unique (she likes changing skins/themes).

Task: She was talking to her best friend yesterday and her friend mentioned a cool blog site but now she's forgotten what it was called, and it's too late to talk to her friend. She knows her friend has visited it a lot lately, and that it's hot at the moment. But she won't bother unless she can find the site easily.

Task 2: She's visiting a new site and it looks interesting but slightly weird and is wondering how popular it is and if any of her friends have seen it.

Other goals: Wants to feel fashionable and hip whatever she's doing.


Dude is a 16 year old who has grown up with computers. He pushes all the buttons, but doesn't necessarily know what he's doing. He learns quickly and will remember the most efficient way to do something if he stumbles across it.

Task: He is trying to find a Warez site he visited the previous weekend so he can download more Warez. Because of the nature of the site, he can't find it on Google. He remembers a lot of details about the site. For example, he remembers he visited it last Sunday evening because that was the last time he was downloading warez. He also vaguely remembers the edgy black layout and some contents of the page describing some leet-speekized version of "Adobe Photoshop" which he doesn't remember exactly. He doesn't remember the URL (because it was an IP address), or the title (because it was some random words designed to sound cool, like most of the other sites he visits).

Other goals: He wants to feel cool doing whatever he's doing. He wants to feel superior to all the regular people using IE, and feel like he's doing something that normal people can't.


Henrietta is a 55 year old who isn't very good with computers, but is comfortable browsing the internet, using search engines, and typing in URLs. She has a vague idea about things like bookmarks, but doesn't use them.

She is not very curious about the browser and won't generally try something unless somebody or something tells her how to do it. She vaguely remembers her son Mike (the Mozilla developer above) telling her something about "History" and finding old sites. She doesn't know really what that is, but notices the menu with the same label. She might try one or two things that look promising, but will give up quickly if she doesn't understand what is going on or doesn't find what she's looking for.

Task: Her goal is to revisit an interesting literature site she saw sometime last week to show a visiting friend. She was unable to find it with a quick Google search. She does not remember any part of the URL or the title, but would probably recognise the title if she saw it.

Other goals: She wants to spend as little time learning to use the stupid computer as possible, and doesn't care about other things.


History should be discoverable by relative novices. I'm not sure such a person would associate "History" with pages they've previously seen. Perhaps we should rename these menu items "Search pages viewed..." or something else. The toplevel "History" menu is fine.

When Henrietta gets to the places tab, it needs to be immediately obvious what things to and how she can navigate. Currently, the search box is not clear enough for her even if she knew keywords to search for. The history navigation UI model doesn't work. She should be able to see how she can navigate.