I've been exploring some interesting concepts with how you start a web application. When you want to start a traditional application you use either the "Start Menu" in Windows or the "Dock" in OSX, Ubuntu also has a start menu approach.
When you want to start a web-application, you first launch the web-browser-application, then you launch the actual web application that you want. Gmail, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc.
There are two itneresting projects going on at Firefox that relate to this.
- The first is called Prism. This will allow web-application to live in traditional launch points on the desktop.
- The second is called Places. This is a redesign of basic bookmarking functionality.
According to the Firefox page about 39% of website visits are to previous pages. This means that people keep going back to the same things over and over.I took a look at the current Places design for Firefox and I thought that it doesn't address this problem. The current Places design has a menu that allows users to quickly get access to sub-menus of recent places or frequent places. While this design addresses some of the problems it causes users to menu surf. It also creates a stronger seperation between starting a web-application and starting a traditional application.
My proposal is to begin to bring these two worlds together and make launching a web-site more like launching a traditional application. Using this approach will tie nicely into the Prism world allowing applications to be "Pinned" as a promoted desktop application.
The current places design is shown first followed by my start menu concept: