Announcement of new color themes for Firefox 94

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Today Firefox is launching Colorways, a new feature that allows our users to express their most authentic personalities and bring them joy while browsing the web. As we question what the browser has been, and broaden and define the vision of what the Firefox browser is and can be, part of that challenge is to ask ourselves “who is it for?” it and who can use it easily and feel included in the experience? ”

We caught up Mikal Lewis, Senior Director, Product Management for Firefox, to learn more about his vision for Firefox and the impetus for launching Colorways.


Can you tell us more about your vision for Firefox – what’s going on right now and what’s exciting about it?

Privacy has been part of our vision from day one and will always be part of what we deliver in our product. We make the connection that a safe and happy Internet is colorful, and ultimately we want to connect with the people who make the Internet a colorful place. We know Firefox users are aware that there are other browsers and tools they could use to get online, take advantage of the Internet, and get things done. But they come to rely on Firefox in many ways as their personal browser of choice, largely because of the experience our privacy features provide, but now also because of the joy we can help provide. in different ways. Our vision for Firefox is therefore to help these customers continue to have a world-class experience and get more from the Internet every day with fewer Internet-related compromises.

Why make color-based personalization a top priority for a product like a web browser?

We know we are spending more time in this digital ecosystem – not the concrete jungle, but the digital jungle. Much more of our life flows through what has always been those gray boxes. And we don’t really tolerate these types of tools that I would say are universal elsewhere in our lives. And so, it feels like a natural extension to allow people to make this tool that they use every day feel more to them, to feel fresh, to be exciting, to bring that little moment of fun to them. daytime .

We have identified that color is a way to connect with people across all divides (and we have research that people respond to it positively) – it is a universal language that transcends the boundaries of our various verbal languages. And we chose “Colorways” over “Themes” to show that we are moving out of our “browser” language to speak the language of everyday life and everyday users. It’s not just about installing a new “theme”, which really doesn’t make much sense to most people.

Why is it important to you that people who use Firefox have these customizable choices?

Using the web is fun! The web is fun, it has to be fun. The only way to access the web should not be to choose your gray box of different color. The web is a rich tapestry. Why does it only have to be one way? Why can’t you have that pleasure and that joy that you bring to the experience? And more specifically with how much we use and depend on the web every day. That’s the main story and one of the main reasons for it: because it’s fun.

What body of research guided you in developing these color-based customizations in a browser? What have you learned from the first conversations with users?

I think it was an assumption I had very early on. Coming from the fashion industry, the drop in limited editions, to those outside the industry, could really look like that grab of money where you’re like, “Make this one special…” But for people who love fashion and people who love expression, it’s so special and it has so much evocative meaning to people. You’ll hear customers talk about a shirt like, “This color is just right … If it was a slightly darker shade of blue, that would suit me” or “If that yellow was a little more subdued, I would go well with it. that. Knowing that we select our mode as well as the tools to navigate our tools, we started to speculate on how we can bring more expression into Firefox, more things to choose from among that fun. It’s the same brain for evaluating our tools, choosing an outfit, and navigating our day, so I hypothesized that people are interested in personalizing their tools and making them their own, potentially in the same way as they choose an outfit.

But what really guided this specific release is that this is exactly what we learned during our redesign in June. When we gave people the option to choose a new way to express themselves with color in their browsing experience, their engagement exploded. I mean, adoption of some themes has increased by over 200%. We asked ourselves the question, what if we really do take a look at this? What would this experience look like and what experience can we offer our customers? These all came together and formed the basis for this release, which we believe is really just the start in ensuring that the experience of using Firefox is your Firefox expression.


When we gave people the option to choose a new way to express themselves with color in their browsing experience, their engagement exploded. I mean, adoption of some themes has increased by over 200%.

Mikal Lewis on the pulse to create new Colorways for Firefox 94


What prompted you to switch from fashion and retail to a tech company, which is best known for its web browser?

Mozilla reminds me the most throughout my career of my time at Nordstrom, which is another goal-oriented company. At Nordstrom, I helped people express themselves every day. And as I think about the technology more broadly and what I wanted to do next, I felt like there was a gap in the two goal-oriented companies, but there was also a need for our tools for approaching the whole body experience of what it means to be a person. What I mean is that the tools are usable and offer functionality, but especially the ones we use every day like the browser, actually become extensions of ourselves. I felt there were some really good parallels to how the retail environment and the shopping experience is both a task and something that brings meaning. joy to people.

Tell us about your personal style.

I’ve always been very fashionable and relatively tech-savvy, and joining Nordstrom actually forced me to think a bit more about my style. I focused more on normcore, which for me focuses on quality fashion products, and more specifically on many textures. And while my wardrobe is monochrome, it actually made fashion a little more fun and almost stimulating for me, as it really has to be the right piece to really be a tool of expression, while still being monochrome. . I was told I wouldn’t survive the heat in an all-black cabinet when I moved to Texas, but she stayed.

Which fashion designers do you admire and why?

Three who caught my eye for their attention to detail and use of color are Christopher John Rogers, Vince and the arts like Felipe Pantone. You’ve seen CJR everywhere at the Met Gala, and now at a big retailer like Target, which brings runway fashion to the masses and makes it accessible to everyone. A company like Vince has caught my eye for a while because of what they do with really, really simple fashion clothes. They arouse interest in high quality fashion products which are actually very avant-garde, but at the same time stick to a relatively moderate set of constraints. Felipe Pantone is an artist, not a fashion designer, and I love his work because it feels like a collision between an analog past and a digital future. It resonates with me and others who have grown up with technology and the internet. It also has a wonderful quote that ties in very well with our Colorways update: “Color only happens because of light, and light is the only reason life happens.” Light and color are the very essence of visual art. Thanks to television, computers and modern lighting, our perception of light and colors has completely changed.

Recent work by Felipe Pantone. Courtesy: https://www.felipepantone.com/work

Is there a parallel between designing products for tech companies and those in the fashion industry? If so, what is it for you?

One thing about the Firefox experience that is the same with fashion is that our experience will always be fresh. We will never be static. And so, whether it’s Colorways or other exciting experiences that we unlock for our Firefox customers, you should expect that there is always a new way to express yourself with Firefox.

What experience do you want to create for the users?

As we expand and define the vision of what a browser is and can be and question what it used to be, part of that challenge is who it is for and who can use it easily and feel included in the experience. It’s not just for highly technical people. From a Firefox product perspective, we believe the Internet is to enrich lives, and we seek to do this in a variety of ways throughout our core product planning. One way is to seek to bring more of a visceral, felt, emotional level to the experience of the browser who feels more connected to everyone, more inclusive in general and more inclusive of real world experiences… we want to bring more of the external world felt the digital experience.

How many other themes and colors are there?

In this version there are 18 themes based on six Colorways with three experiences of each color – soft, balanced and bold. These colors are there for the next two product releases (they won’t disappear if you’ve selected them). This is a limited time version that is meant to embrace the “present moment”. We know that color trends are constantly changing to provide fun and excitement with the seasons. Thus, these will be highlighted for two release cycles in the integration of Firefox as a limited-time game to enjoy to generate more engagement and interest.

What’s next for Firefox colorways?

We’ll see. We will go where our customers take us. Colors are just the start of a dialogue about our expression of Firefox, what we believe the independent browser experience should be and could be. And we really can’t wait to hear how our customers are engaging and where they’re interested in these upcoming Colorways experiences.


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