Firefox 3 location bar just became almighty

Or at least as mighty as it will get for final release.

So far, the most useful new feature I’ve found in Firefox 3 is the much improved location bar autocomplete that unlike Firefox 2 which only looked for web addresses in my history, this one looks on visited and bookmarked page titles and tags along with web addresses.

As expected, two more features have been added and will be available for Beta 2. The autocomplete list now shows page titles and addresses in two different lines and colors. According to studies on human cognition, it is easier for us to isolate elements on an image based on different coloring than any other attribute.

So, if the user knows she is entering part of a web address or a page title it will be easier for her to find what she’s looking for. Highlighting the match result also helps to direct the user’s attention.

Firefox 3 location bar with two lines

You may also notice that the Go button is overlaid on the location bar replacing the star button because the focus is on the location bar right now, so it is possible that the user may want to click on it. This is part of the working Firefox 3 visual refresh.

The round right cap is also gone, but I think this is temporary and in preparation for the new themes landing.

I have to mention that I don’t recall reading and hearing so much about usability and usability experimentation in previous Firefox releases development as in Firefox 3′s. It could just be me but I’d bet the change is really in the approach and the design process and I like it.

Update: For tweaks including ways to exclude bookmarks and history from the location bar, check these 9 tweaks for Firefox 3’s location bar.

463 Comments

  1. bigred September 18, 2008 10:35 pm 

    I HATE THE NEW “NOT SO AWESOME BAR”. EVERY PERSON THAT I KNOW THAT USES FIREFOX 3 HAS GONE BACK TO INTERNET EXPLORER.

  2. bigred September 18, 2008 10:54 pm 

    The designers at Firefaux don’t give a rats ass that most people think some features suck more than a barrel full of ticks. Does everyone know that now Firefox tracks every website that you visit and sends the info back to firefox. They have guys there that do nothing but spy on your browsing habits. This version is going in the TRASH where it belongs.

  3. Where’s me back button? | In usability we trust September 25, 2008 3:00 am 

    [...] a either a major bug that slipped in the new release, or maybe some clever enhancement a´la the Awesome bar. But after checking with a coworker, who’s also got the new version but still has the [...]

  4. crapbar September 27, 2008 1:28 am 

    Awesome bar sucks large donkey balls. For fuck sake get rid of this shit and give us back a normal bar that doesn’t crawl though the bookmarks.

  5. Liny October 22, 2008 12:13 am 

    The Awesome Bar has started redirecting me to yahoo search results once I updated Firefox. If I for example type in wikipedia instead of wikipedia.com, I’ll get search results from yahoo for wikipedia.

  6. FF3isPOO October 22, 2008 8:33 am 

    What is this? Seriously, what the hell is this?

    Even IE is an upgrade compared to this level of stupidity. Upgrading back to FF2 for now.

    Hopefully the retards are gonna fix this sometime.

    FF3isPOO!

  7. Joe October 27, 2008 12:23 pm 

    An EULA…. A “great” new feature that can’t easily be turned off…. browser bloat…. Firefox is so over.

  8. abhi November 16, 2008 7:08 am 

    Yes, Very stupid Address bar.
    I reinstalled FF2.
    I don’t know why FF3 has a very good rating on all websites, FF3 is just not usable with that address bar.
    Internet Explorer is a lot better than FF3.
    I hope the developers open their eyes soon, and bring the good old Address bar back.
    The new Address bar is extremely Irritating.

  9. Probando chrome | Wallpapers gratis, Fondos Gratis November 19, 2008 5:56 pm 

    [...] desde Chrome Muy pronto para juzgarle Mala noticia para los que no les gustaba la “Awesome bar” de Firefox 3, ya todos los navegadores traen algo semejante y buena para los que les gusta [...]

  10. Lucy November 26, 2008 9:23 am 

    Tried it an rolled back to FF2 the same day.

  11. Howie December 11, 2008 10:04 am 

    Tried FF3 and uninstalled it within 30 minutes upgrading back to FF2. On the 3 machines I use regularly I’ve told the annoying FF3 “upgrade” window I’ll never upgrade/install. Actually, I *might* consider it *IF* the “Awesome” (awful) Bar is changed to allow it to be completely disabled and work like FF2 *without* having to install an extension!

  12. JbRd January 2, 2009 10:01 pm 

    just updated to ff3 GET RID OF THE AWESOME BAR!

  13. Russell January 7, 2009 12:21 pm 

    Piece of crap. Spent 30 minutes looking for ways to turn it off. Too much clutter. I mean how freaking hard is it to type a whole URL address? The folks at mozilla are starting to act like the fools at Microsoft thinking they know what’s best for us. At least make it easier to turn these features off if we don’t want them.

    Easy fix: http://www.pcmech.com/article/firefox-3-disable-the-smart-location-bar-sort-of/

  14. Yuirorkis Gamboa January 10, 2009 1:57 pm 

    Man, I put off upgrading to FF3 until they stopped supporting security on FF2. Now that I have to use this crap everyday I am done with using firefox. I will use IE or maybe Opera. Maybe Google is purposely making FF suck so everyone uses Chrome? Either way I am done with FF. It was cool back in the day when the Linux kernel was like 2.2 and 2.4 but it seems like FF isn’t trying to be better at usability it just seems like Yet Another Browser. Total Garbage.

  15. Trejkaz January 17, 2009 1:28 am 

    ……..lolwut.

    (1) How could Google purposely make Firefox suck?
    (2) In many ways Chrome is already better anyway. At least it doesn’t have the awesomebar, and it also doesn’t randomly freeze for 2 minutes for no reason.

  16. Link48010 January 17, 2009 1:50 am 

    “and it also doesn’t randomly freeze for 2 minutes for no reason.”

    That’s your computer, if I can use a portable version without this problem (which I do).

  17. Colin Brown January 17, 2009 8:12 am 

    Using Firefox 3 is akin to sliding down razor blades with the laughably named ‘Amwesome Bar’

  18. Trejkaz January 18, 2009 12:54 am 

    “That’s your computer”

    Nope, it doesn’t freeze my whole computer. Only firefox freezes while the other apps are working fine. I just have to drum my fingers for a couple of minutes until it gets un-stuck, and can then use it again.

  19. Botski January 28, 2009 2:59 pm 

    What is so “awesome” about having crap in the awesomebar pulldown menu even after you clear your history? Once a program starts thinking it knows better than me what I want, that program gets replaced by another one.

  20. cocciastella March 24, 2009 8:04 pm 

    does anyone know how to stop all the junk in the History bar. I changed my setting and it created 5 lines detailing every selection in the change. This piece of software is so bad, maybe not bad but stupid.

  21. Tom April 13, 2009 12:53 am 

    Frelling hate this p.o.s. bar.

  22. Nostawyn April 20, 2009 4:22 pm 

    I switched back to Firefox 2 almost immediately because, although you can tweak what the “awesome” bar does, I couldn’t get it to fix the bizarre order it puts things in. I prefer knowing exactly what’s going to pop up when I hit “w” because it saves time.

  23. tormentas April 23, 2009 3:27 pm 

    I can’t switch off the “awesome bar”, I can’t stand it! Firefox is the best, why did they do that?

  24. struppi May 18, 2009 5:55 am 

    this feature is useless and dumb. the people which used the oldbar behavior are getting crazy about the stupid results in the list and most others don’t even look at this list, not in Fx2 not now

  25. venusvegasvada May 24, 2009 8:48 am 

    I think the “awesome bar” sucks. I hate it. I don’t use Firefox anymore because of it.

  26. Ethan May 26, 2009 10:46 am 

    I will continue to use FF2 or switch to another browser rather than using FF3+ with an ‘awesome bar’.

    It completely ruins the way I use my browser; E.g. for programming work I often need to switch between a development and a production environment which usually is a small change in the url. I need to type much more to get the correct url, while FF2 almost immediately filters the list down to 3 items or so.

    For some people this might be very handy, but why, why, WHY do I need to use about:config and the help of an add-on to _somewhat_ disable this… could we please get an ‘use Awesome location bar’ yes/no checkbox in the FF options? I don’t want to switch to Chrome, Opera or IE8

  27. Abhijit May 27, 2009 11:19 am 

    @ Ethan
    90% of humans find it irritating.
    was a very stupid Idea, or at lease they should have given the option to bring back FF2 bar back.
    Now every one is stuck with FF2.
    FF3 is worse than IE, so every one will eventually throw away FF thing and go for other browsers.
    That will be the end of Firefox !

  28. Krishan June 16, 2009 2:56 am 

    Hi,

    Install this add-on if you like FF3 but prefer the old address bar in FF2.
    Old Location Bar 1.6:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7637

    Its great, especially if you despise the “Awesome Bar”. Anyway hope this helps.

  29. FLEURY February 11, 2010 12:54 pm 

    Merci de bien vouloir me télécharger une version en Français.

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