This past year, I switched the default browser on all my machines–Macs and PCs–from Safari, to Google’s Chrome. Ironically, the reason was because of UX (User Experience).
::SPOILER:: It was the URL bar.
Like most browsers up to that point, Safari had two forms in the bar; one for entering a URL and one for searching the web. Google melded these two into a single URL/Search bar (reminds me of a single button mouse), thus, when I open a new page, focus is in the bar and I can just start typing a search term or a url. Brilliant!
Safari and Chrome share the same engine, WebKit, so they’re very similar in speed and general abilities, which makes this coup even more impressive. They snuck inovation in to the very top of my browser workflow! Because this is what I end up doing most in a browser, once I got a taste, I was addicted and found myself typing searches into other browser’s url bars. I became annoyed with Safari’s antiquated two-form functionality, and eventually I moved on.
The irony of course, is that Apple has a history of being pretty good at UX… and I’m excited by the idea that more companies are making UX a priority. I wouldn’t say the torch has been passed… but rather, additional torches have been distributed.