Firefox/Features/New Tab Page v2

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New Tab Page v2
Stage Feature Overview
Status In progress
Release target Firefox Next
Health OK
Status note This new project seeks to improve and combine New Tab ("about:newtab" in Firefox) and Home ("about:home" in Firefox) into one integrated design on Firefox desktop, mobile, and tablet.
"Feature Overview" is not in the list (`, Draft, Feature Inbox, On hold, Definition, Design, Planning, Development, Landed, Shipped, ...) of allowed values for the "Feature stage" property.


Product manager `
Directly Responsible Individual Jennifer Morrow
Lead engineer Blake Winton
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead `
QA lead `
UX lead Jennifer Morrow
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members Bryan Clark, Joanne Nagel, Christopher Arnold

{{FeaturePageBody |Feature open issues and risks=# Thumbnails currently not loading in Firefox (they'll need to load consistently before a successful NT2)

  1. May have implications for our search relationships with partners, since involves internal pages where searches are conducted
  2. UX is resource-constrained on both research and implementation side

|Feature overview=Whenever Firefox users open a new tab, their goal is to use it to navigate somewhere.

We'd like to implement a page which displays on new tabs and helps users complete their next task. This will likely include offering options that are most likely to include the user's next task so that valuable time and steps are saved.

Such a page must meet certain requirements:

  1. Load instantly
  2. Not be so distracting as to take users mentally away from their intended task and into an unintended one
  3. Be useful without any configuration, yet can be easily configured and disabled
  4. Does not embarrass the user


1. Make users more powerful

  • Utilizes usage data Firefox already has. Creates value from what Firefox knows about the people who use it, building a richer experience over time without compromising privacy or security
  • Make users efficient. Has a high likelihood of predicting what the user’s next action is and saving them time in the process. Allows users to easily navigate different locations and contexts
  • Recognize context. Understands that how users browse changes based on their situation, state, and tasks. Does require users to compromise privacy among people in their life.
  • Be the user’s agent and advocate. Welcomes users to their browsing session while being helpful, not overpowering.
  • Non-goal: Work well with a user’s current and future tools. Firefox cannot be all tools to all users, and a successful design will integrate with users’ current workflows and tools Firefox and a user’s tools should be more powerful together: Firefox should not work around or despite a user’s tools.

2. Offer a seamless experience across devices and users

  • Be user-centric, not device-centric. When a Firefox user begins a browsing session, they should always feel they are continuing a web experience with a browser built for them, not having to re-intro duce themselves
  • Feel Firefoxy on any platform. While Firefox is designed differently for different form factors, NT2 will look, feel, and act in accordance with our brand tone and style

3. Successfully Integrate New Tab and Home Tab into one Page

  • Use what we’ve learned and are learning. Integrate and change based on what we learn from research and testing about what users do, how they browser, and how they respond to changes
  • Don’t leave current users in the lurch. While the features NT2 presents will change and some will move, users will not be left unable to find functionality they need
  • Non-goal: Combine all the features of Home Tab and New Tab into one page. Currently, these two pages offer users different options, but a successful design for v2 will curate content strategically in the way that produces the best user experience. Any item present on the page must have a rationale to be displayed other than historical design.


Design spec


Questions to Answer via Research

a. What info I’m looking for
b. What hypothesis I’d like to test
c. What different numbers would indicate

1. How often do users click on thumbnails and launch targets (these) about:newtab?

a. What percent of time in which they see about:newtab do they interact with it? Do they interact with a range of thumbnails and launch targets or just a few? How many thumbnails are displaying for users on average, do they click on the thumbnails that are displaying?
b. As long as thumbnails are displaying, a non-trivial amount of users do click on them. Probably very few users use the launch targets.
c. If thumbnails are basically ignored or used, assuming they are displaying correctly. If launch targets are basically ignored or used

2. How often do users search from about:home?

a. What percent of the time that users see about:home will they do a search from it? How many users press the Home button before doing a search on about:home?
b. Very few users r.ely on about:home for searching, but some small amount of users may rely on it primarily for searching
c. If thumbnails are basically ignored or used, assuming they are displaying correctly. If not enough thumb nails are displaying for users to make this question answerable right now, so be it.

3. How often do users press the “Home” button?

a. Are there users that press the about:home button? If so, what actions are they most likely to take once they see about:home? This one in particular may be skewed by the Test Pilot audience
b. Very few users rely on about:home for searching, but some users rely on it primarily for searching
c. If the number of users who rely on the Home button is small or large, and if there are users who rely on it only or primarily for searching

4. How many users have changed their homepage to be a custom page, blank page, or “show windows from last time?” Also, how many “restore session” on about:home once it starts?

a. An idea of how many users have customized their about:home and how many use session restore
b. Very few users have changed their about:home, while a non-trivial amount restore their session after a crash
c. If the number of users who change about:home is small or largeIf possible, what URLs they replace their about:home with.

Team status notes

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


Blog posts


From the 2011 Test Pilot A/B and Multivariate Studies


Sketches, iterations, and visual ideas can be found here now!