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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reviewing the Google Chrome

Google has invested a huge quantity of money and marketing for its Chrome browser. Sometimes people install it then use it without knowing that they changed their browser, by having only followed the link in the top right.


People install Chrome by clicking the link in Google page.

Many computer engineers know that this navigator has many advantages and technological power as being the fastest browser (for its Javascript interpreter/PseudoCompiler, and also from a usability PoV), the use of the best html/CSS engine (webkit), the SKIA library for showing graphics (few people know about this library now being called/integrated as chromium, firefox itself use cairo for rendering).

So, after all of this, is it only a bunch of technology assembled in disorder ?
From my point of view, and after having some human computer interaction courses, I started to view things in a different ways. And I have detected these points :


  • The application of Fitts Law

Tabs are placed in the top of the screen, so the virtual growth of buttons are bigger, and we can switch tabs a lot easier than the traditional way.
(Apple use the same law from ages having always the menu in the top of the screen)

  • Reducing human errors
People can make errors easily when trying to switch from one tab to another, when the width of the tab is too small, the probability of making the mistake of closing the tab rather than switching to it.
Google removes the close button when the tabs width is too small.

  • Better feedback

I really enjoyed the search function, when I search Google tries to indicate the word positions inside the document but also in the right and exactly in the sliding bar. Every small yellow line indicates the word position.

  • Better use of the screen

In Chrome, all the screen is used, no status bars, when there is a need to show something, it is shown using the needed place.

  • Better interaction :


When closing a tab, the next close button comes to the current mouse cursor to facilitate closing others. (closing tab is contagious ?)
The tabs are redrawn only when you move your mouse outside the tabs.



Being different form Firefox, Chrome have only one place to enter urls, text search and every things.
The browser is intelligent enough to know what the user wants.

  • Better usability :

In Chrome, every text input is resizable. When it is not wide as you need, just make it bigger.



Many other details exist (I speak about "Chrome only" features) and needs to be cited here, but these are the most important one.
This doesn't mean that Chrome is perfect. It has some problems dealing with RTL texts like Arabic sites that aren't shown correctly.
And the recovering of a crashed/closed browser (it exists but I feel it very bad). Some times I can't see the recovering button but in Firefox it is always present after a crash.



6 comments:

Marouan OMEZZINE said...

Love it!.Great Article reviewing some IHM / User experience features of Google Chrome.

Serenity said...

If it wasn't for my addiction to Firefox's extensions I would have long switched to Chrome, even just for its speed (both in navigation and in tab closing ;)

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Anonymous said...

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Aymen's Blog said...

Very nice review. ikbel... I share your point of view about HCI analysis... And i want to know how can i make interfaces like that for my future applications ?

boulabiar said...

Thanks :)

@Aymen, I am doing some research about applied Gestalt Theory, I will define the meaning of good designs and how to do it.