Bad UI – the kind of shit that drives me crazy

Bad UI decisions drive me nuts. Especially when I have to deal with them repeatedly.

Recent example: Firefox 3 / Mac. It used to be, and still is in Safari and MSIE, that when one entered a partial URL, like this:

and hit "return", then the browser would helpfully guess and send you to the most obvious page:

 I can't tell you how much I used this exact feature over the past few years. So easy. Makes so much sense.

And THEN, Firefox 3 comes out and this feature is GONE and there's no obvious way to make it come back.

Someone on the dev team at Firefox made a decision to shunt partial url entries to some intermediary search site.

This:

Now brings me to this:

 
This is a search engine and is NOT what I am looking for.  And the red text on the page, "Did you mean netflix.com?"  Is the part that makes me grumble. Yes, Firefox, I meant Netflix.com.

Now, this OpenDNS website offers the helpful step of recording your shortcuts.  I can make N-enter take me to Netflix. But the problem here is that I still have to log into their service before the short cuts will work. Which means, of course, that even if I have set up my short cuts, that whenever I put in a partial URL after turning on my computer, I am going to have to deal with this website at some point.

This is what UI designers call Interactive Friction.   If you are surfing along and you suddenly have to think about navigation and the process of surfing, that's usually a bad thing. Your brain should be focused on content, never on the user interface. 

But even that is not why I find this irritating. It's because there's no way to toggle it back.

Let me be very clear: The reason this is a BAD USER INTERFACE DECISION is because there is no easy, obvious way to make go back to the way it was before.

Firefox 3 designers: please fix this.

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