Share to… Firefox?

Anthony Lam
May 8, 2015 · 4 min read

You may remember this from such share intents as “Add to Firefox”

Perhaps an awkward concept to consider at first, but I think it’s definitely worth it. It’s important to give users a meaningful way to continue their Firefox experience, even if they’re not in Firefox.

(Doesn’t that sound familiar?)

Here’s a breakdown of this feature.

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Initial iteration of the user interface

So, we made our share intent better and created this “Add to Firefox” feature. Simply put, it allows you to add/share almost anything to your Firefox. From that point onwards, you have the ability to do just a bit more, if you so fancy.

The share intent

Allowing users to share something through conventional means in the Android ecosystem is to be expected. Tab queues touched on this as well.

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Material design “bottom sheet”

The main focus here is the “the connected experience”. For Firefox users, we offer much more than simply opening the content. They also have the ability to bookmark it, add it to Reading List, or even send it to other devices.

We wanted to provide a service to our users by giving them a reliable choice. Yes, they could get to the same content with the “built-in” browser (that some applications have nowadays) but what if they wanted to revisit that very same content somewhere down the road?

It might seem like a lot of hope to pin on a simple share intent, but I feel a simple point of access (like this) gives this feature just the right amount of reach.

Don’t lose context

It could be a map, store hours, or even just an article worth reading, but there’s (almost) always context behind it. Part of “the connected experience” is about recalling this information/context.

This is what we tried to preserve when we designed this user interface/experience.

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“Add to Firefox” user interface

A challenge we tried to tackle was creating a suitable new user experience that both exuded our design values, but also worked well with other applications.

We faced similar issues with our work on Tab queues but this was a little bit different because we had so much more functionality. Since this was a share intent, we knew that the user would be switching over from another app each time. With Tab queues, we tried to avoid that transition until the user said they were ready, so we didn’t have to really worry about it.

A lot of the visual elements here are inspired by our work on the updated First run user experience, and the UI updates to our “door hangers”. Of course the type, color, and iconography all take from our current style guides as well. Keeping consistent through all these little user facing components of our UI really helps establish the “look and feel” of Firefox on Android.

Send to other devices

This might be my favourite one of the four. Having the ability to actively send something to your other devices is pretty powerful. Especially for users who are looking to take a more “proactive” approach to their browsing experience. Meanwhile, the “passive” alternative to this is our unsung hero, the “Synced Tabs” panel — another one of my favourites.

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Firefox Account connected devices will be able to receive tabs as well

After you’ve signed into your Firefox Account, you’ll have the ability to send and receive tabs through our service. Choose from a list of devices connected to your Firefox Account and we’ll send that tab over.

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Confirmation interface after success

I feel like there’s still opportunity for improving the user experience during and after something is “sent” and/or received. So, we’re working on those feedback aspects of this feature right now (care to contribute?).

We feel this gives users just a little more control over their content and hopefully, even some feeling of security.

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