Usability drives Firefox's success 17 Sep 2007
Mozilla founder Tristan Nitot says that Firefox succeeds where other open source projects have failed as a result of its focus on usability. From ITPro:
"...Mozilla is unique among open source projects, especially when it comes to usability. 'We're different from average open source projects, which tend to be made from engineers for engineers,' Nitot said. 'They're scratching their itches. They have a need, and write it for themselves.'
"'People who can make software are engineers, nerds - not ordinary people,' he said.
"Because of this, many open source projects lack easy to use interfaces and feature too many options. 'You end up with products with thousands of features and buttons everywhere,' he said. 'Power users and nerds will love having these options, but for normal people, including my mother as a computer user, too many buttons is a turn off.'
"Such options mean average users will never use the technology. 'Limited distribution means limited impact,' he said.
"But he stressed this wasn't an attack on the nerds of the world. 'I love these people,' he said of engineers and developers. 'I'm one of them. I'm part of them, I just wore a [suit] jacket to come talk to you. But we're different from 97 per cent of the population.'
"In order for Firefox to make an impact, Nitot said that 97 per cent of the population had to be considered. So Mozilla removed features in order to keep it easy to use for ordinary people."
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