[Meta] Bookmarks (formerly Favourites) #90
Favourite != bookmark and won't provide bookmark management
Update Feb 22: We've agreed that we revert back to using Favourites as bookmarks.
As a user, I want to be able to bookmark a site, view it, remove it, share it, and sync it with my other devices, so I can save time finding information I need, stay organized, and have a seamless experience switching between my devices.
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@bbinto I'm trying to get some clarification for myself, my team and some members of leadership who have asked me about bookmarks and bookmark syncing.
Would it be possible to get details on how favorites and bookmarks are different? User stories and or success criteria would be nice here if possible.
It is my hope to help you achieve your goals here.
For reference, here are some questions I've been asked:
Thanks in advance for looking into this.
@bbinto Would love to hear more about this. It's very difficult to argue that favourites do not equal bookmarks when bookmarks are called favourites in Internet Explorer. I wholly support Fenix doing something different with the interface to present and manage bookmarks, but creating a datatype outside of the ecosystem without a clear plan is a form of cannibalization.
Finally replying here (although I've already caught up with Alex offline)
Yes, for MVP
Yes, ideally for MVP
@shorlander should add more color here as he will be providing more details on that, however overall, we want to treat them similar than bookmarks from the data structure / syncing aspect. They might be shown different UI, i.e. in a flat structure
Unless there is a really strong case from UX (I would need to be convinced with data :)
@bbinto This is very confusing to picture, I read this a couple of times, and the most I was initially able to make out is that "favorites" is like "Top Sites" in Fennec and Firefox Desktop, except that they might be presented as a list instead of tiles -- and that they would be saved in bookmarks somehow (and so would appear on synced devices, unlike top sites).
This is worrisome though, since it sounds as if "Favorites" replace bookmarks somehow (flattening them?) and so I don't quite understand how that reaches feature parity with Fennec, since:
On Fennec, while users cannot choose where to create bookmarks initially (bookmarks always save to the root "Mobile Bookmarks" directory by default), they are able to move them anywhere, like a folder within "Mobile Bookmarks", or even into "Desktop Bookmarks" folders.
This is available in either the bookmarks list or in the edit UI that appears after a user clicks "options" in the snackbar that appears after they bookmark an item.
I have seen comments where users are confused as to why there is such a strict separation between Mobile and Desktop bookmarks, example:
I launched Chrome and realized why. While Chrome defaults users to "Mobile Bookmarks" like Fennec, unlike Fennec, it remembers the last place the user created a bookmark and saves it there, without the dance of "options > edit > move".
So users can actually ignore the root "Mobile Bookmarks" directory on Chrome entirely, saving to a folder within it, or when Sync is enabled, saving directly into "desktop" bookmark folders.
It feels very intuitive and I think it belongs in Fenix.
Bookmark discovery in Chrome is worse than in Fennec though - it is hidden behind a hamburger menu, whereas about:home has a nice tab for it. What is handy though, is that the bookmarks UI in Chrome remembers the last place you were, which would be another nice improvement to bring to about:home in Fenix (is that planned?) so that users don't need to drill into desktop bookmarks if they are defaulting their bookmark creation to a non root Mobile Bookmarks folder.
I took a screen recording of the process to create bookmarks in non default (and flat) hierarchies in Fennec - it isn't very convenient, but it is possible (it is nicer in Chrome).
I agree. Bookmarks are one of the most important features of any browser, especially on a smartphone where typing URLs is such an annoying thing. And because bookmarks are so important, the ability to organize them is important, too. With only five bookmarks you won't need folders. But with many bookmarks it's not easy to find your bookmarks if you don't have any structure. In my opinion a flat hierarchy is really not sufficient for bookmarks.
The bookmarks management in Fennec is not perfect. But it's good enough for a first version. To lose this feature would be a huge regression IMO.
I'll try to shed some light here.
Ultimately, Fenix will have bookmarks and they will sync to desktop and other devices. The Application Services team has already been working on the Rust component for Bookmark storage and syncing. The component will be designed to provide Fenix with bookmark management that will be at parity with desktop. (i.e. full management with ability to create folders, rename, etc) It will just be a matter of surfacing UI to do it.
Everything can be summarized by the answers of these two questions:
In terms of UI/UX changes... @bbinto said:
This all being said, the initial post in this issue is inaccurate now based on Barbara's most recent comment (and my offline conversation with her):
As a side note, bookmarks have a concept of labels which aren't widely used by users but are in the data model. In the future, we can explore and experiment with a new UI or various ways of sorting bookmarks. This should allow us to explore the types of experiences that Barbara initially had in mind while maintaining compatibility with other browsers.
Engineering - please review the items on this spreadsheet - this is a punchlist showing fit and finish issues blocking feature completeness.