Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mozilla's Festering Gesturitis

I've worked on marketing strategy for most of the top B2C tech brands. At the end of the day, there's only one pitch that creates long term value: You radically DECREASE the complexity of your customers' lives.

As gestures lead the next round of featuritis, I challenge you to ask whether you are enabling users to live radically better or whether you are creating feature bloat.

Product Planning Gone Goofy
Yesterday, Firefox shot its first volley of gestures over Microsoft's bow.
Do you care? Do these features really make your life easier?

- Swipe Left: Go back in history (hold Cmd to open it in a tab)
- Swipe Right: Go forward in history
- Swipe Up: Go to the top of the page
- Swipe Down: Go to the end of the page
- Pinch Together: Zoom out
- Pinch Apart: Zoom in
- Twist Right: Next tab
- Twist Left: Previous tab

All major browser browser products have VERY weak elements that a good gesture interface could simplify. Two opportunities immediately come to mind: visualizing site maps and hierarchizing multiple web pages (tabs, new windows, etc.).

There is a reason why Mozilla is making life more complex for its users and developers without creating real value. Product planning has created a clear division between its feature and platform roadmaps. As with most software developers, user interfaces at Mozilla have always been an uncomfortable middle ground. While they require minimal capital investment, they require huge cultural investment.

Across the Industry, Gesturitis is Amplifying This Issue and Opportunity
The iPhone has proved that like gesture-based apps, people will pay for them, and believe these apps simplify their lives.

Simplifying your interface through gestures is an opportunity to create new platform sales benefits without the new platform cost.

Are you leaving money on the table?

Thanks to www.macrumors.com for reporting on the new product features.

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