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Siracusa on OmniWeb 5

John Siracusa reviews OmniWeb 5.0b1 at arstechnica. I don't have a whole lot to say other than to throw out another of my "OW Dislikes":

Ahem. Anyway, you can see the small "show/hide drawer" widget and the little spinny status indicator in the OmniWeb toolbar screenshot above. These are two items that are not necessary in Safari's toolbar since there is no drawer and page loading progress is indicated by essentially turning the address field into a big progress bar. Safari's progress indicator is definitely weird, but I do appreciate the compactness of the approach.

In addition to occupying a spot on the toolbar, the status indicator in OmniWeb 5 only conveys one message: "busy." I'd also like some information about the progress. How much is left to do? Has the browser done anything at all in the past few seconds? Progress bars in web browsers are notoriously unreliable (I'm looking at you, Windows IE), but I still think a best-effort should be made. I frequently use Safari's progress bar to decide whether a page is "stuck" while loading or if it's just very large, but downloading steadily.

As damn confusing as Safari is sometimes with the progress indicator, at least it's big. OmniWeb's current progress indicator is way too small and subtle. The answer to the question "Is it going?" should be loud and clear, not small and subtle.

Here's an idea: "badge" a big freakin' spinning gear progress indicator over the whole page while it's loading. Why not? You can still let people scroll, click, select, and other things, but I can't think of anything "louder" or "clearer" while still maintaining usability.

Of course, that does nothing to address the issue of progress. Why then not a red line that fills up "underneath" the location field. I'm thinking of iMovie here and the red line it uses when rendering effects, transitions, etc.

Two good ideas, and Omni Group is currently using one that, well, sucks.

2 Responses to "Siracusa on OmniWeb 5"

  1. Nice spinning gear idea. I have a half-written webkit web browser I tried it on, and it's really weird, and really nice. I may use it. Problem is, the traditional gear icon doesn't scale, it's not a vector thing, so you'd need a custom control for it not to look really ugly.

  2. ehhh...a solution is needed but I'm not a fan of this solution. The human eye is powerfully drawn to motion (darwinian stuff and such) so the indicator would inhibit other cognitive processes.

    Whatever happened to having a status bar in the lower left-hand corner? The motion makes you notice it, but it's in the least obtrusive place it could be. I'm thrown every time I load a page in Safari and the indicator is in the URL field.