mitcho Michael 芳貴 Erlewine

Postdoctoral fellow, McGill Linguistics.

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The Ubiquity Persistence Project: exploring a persistent Ubiquity in the toolbar

It’s often hard to remember Ubiquity’s presence and keystroke without a visual reminder—even I often forget that I could use Ubiquity and end up going to a search engine or using the search bar for some quick lookup task. What if the Ubiquity input were in the toolbar and always visible? How would that affect people’s use of Ubiquity? And what could we make that look like and how would it behave? Today we’re kicking off the Ubiquity Persistence Project, a new Ubiquity initiative to explore what a persistent Ubiquity might look like in the Firefox toolbar.

persistence-small.png

In order to facilitate this discussion, we created the Persistence tool. With the Persistence tool you can quickly try out new design and interaction ideas, mocking things up with some simple jQuery-powered JavaScript and CSS and see your changes live. The Persistence tool is bundled with our latest Ubiquity beta (install link).

The Ubiquity Persistence Project: exploring a persistent Ubiquity in the toolbar from mitcho on Vimeo.

I just put together a screencast introducing the initiative, demoing the Persistence tool, as well as talking about this project’s relation to the ongoing work on Taskfox. We’ll look forward to your comments and designs! :D

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14 Responses to “The Ubiquity Persistence Project: exploring a persistent Ubiquity in the toolbar”

  1. Mathnerd314 Says:

    I think having Ubiquity in the status bar would be nice, but your screenshots are cut off and there's no button for it…

  2. mitcho Says:

    Hmm… my screenshots are cut off? I don't see that.

    Please watch the video which will explain how you can use the Persistence tool yourself.

  3. Mathnerd314 Says:

    No, not your video or anything (which I have already watched), but the mac-windows-linux browser views in the persistence experiment window, from chrome://ubiquity/skin/icons/screenshot-firefox-mac.png and similar. The image only goes down to about half of the browser, so there is no status bar visible. Since I think it might be fun to experiment with Ubiquity replacing the status bar…

  4. Mathnerd314 Says:

    No, not your video or anything (which I did watch), but the mac-windows-linux browser views in the persistence experiment window, from chrome://ubiquity/skin/icons/screenshot-firefox-mac.png and similar. The image only goes down to about half of the browser, so no status bar is shown. Since I want to try/style Ubiquity as the status bar…

    PS there seems to be some weird interaction between your blog comments and NoScript, so sorry if I'm double posting.

  5. lrbabe Says:

    It feels strange to have to edit raw JavaScript and CSS when Mozilla provide such a great tool as Bespin. I’m wondering how persistence could be integrated with this brilliant code editor…

  6. mitcho Says:

    Ah, I see what you mean. Ubiquity in the status bar could also be an interesting option… right now I just built Persistence to let you play with the URL and search bars, but maybe we'll add a status bar option as well.

    In the mean time, if you have ideas for what Ubiquity in the status bar could be, though, I invite you to blog about it, mock it up, etc. I'd love to see some of your ideas for it. :)

  7. mitcho Says:

    Yes, it'd be great to integrate this (and more of Ubiquity in general) with Bespin… Editing the code in the browser there is required for Persistence due to the security needs of accessing the active Ubiquity parser, but it would be possible to make that editor Bespin. We may look into that for future iterations of Persistence.

  8. Cool Says:

    I really like ubiquity. And I think it should totally replace the url bar and the search bar. No more keyboard shortcuts to open it. It would be nice if ubiquity launched as soon as you started typing. It would also be nice to have ubiquity extend to the desktop as well. I can imagine selecting files on my harddrive and using ubiquity to upload them to facebook or youtube or whatever. But I suppose that's wishful thinking at this point.

  9. Adam Says:

    All I can say is fantastic! I am always using the URL bar by 'mistake' any chance you can make spreadsheet wider hard to copy & paste examples.

  10. mitcho Says:

    Adam, good call. I just made the columns wider and also deleted my test submission from in the video.

  11. Mashing up some GUI with your ancient command line on Dion Almaer's Blog Says:

    […] Mitcho has put together a killer tool, The Ubiquity Persistence Project, that lets you tweak the look and feel of Ubiquity on the fly in order to prototype it: […]

  12. Yatrik Says:

    Great work with this tool, mitcho! I'll be sure to brainstorm and submit; thing is, though, in the end, a Ctrl+L is easier than using the mouse (for a keyboard/hotkey-centric workflow), but using the address bar will be less cluttered versus a popup interface (as of now). Regardless, I'll give it a shot. Aza's old mockups (i.e. Taskfox) are pretty sweet as is.

  13. Yatrik Says:

    A quick idea; Currently, tabbing through each of the options (with the awesomebar) is somewhat inefficient, and bringing the mouse in loses time. What if each awesomebar option (assuming the awesomebar and Ubiquity options are integrated) had an assigned number, á la the Google results in the Ubiquity of present. So, you hit the number, and you get the side scroll to the results (Aza demoed something like this, I think) Just throwing more ideas out there ;]

  14. coupons Says:

    Great work with this tool, mitcho! I'll be sure to brainstorm and submit; thing is, though, in the end, a Ctrl+L is easier than using the mouse

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