Previously, I wrote about GUI—when to copy it and when to design it. When your competition has something better, I recommended you design, to leapfrog your competitor. Here’s an example of two competing web browsers:
At first glance, the new Internet Explorer 8 address bar looks like a copy of Firefox’s existing awesome bar, but click the image for an enlarged view. You’ll see that:
- The on-the-fly suggestions are grouped as History and Favourites.
- Each group lists only five items, by default.
- To remove an item (think stale links and mistyped URLs), highlight the item and then click the × that appears.
Compared to Internet Explorer 7, Firefox had a better address bar. And just as clearly, the additional features of the Internet Explorer 8 address bar are an attempt to leapfrog Firefox. After the public has used IE8 for three months, it’ll be interesting to hear whether users think Microsoft succeeded.
Read the related post, GUI: Copy it or design it.