When it comes to interface design it is important to name interface elements properly so that users of the program or service know what they are supposed to do. Mozilla has modified Firefox’s address bar information in recent time on multiple occasions.
You may remember that Mozilla engineers made the decision to remove the favicon, the little icon identifying websites that you visit in the browser, from the address bar so that it is only displayed on the tab instead. The tab is also the only location where you get to see part of the page title, unless you look at the source code of page information.
The removal of the favicon on the other hand is not the only change. Mozilla also removed the http:// protocol from the address bar and the trailing slash. Other protocols are still displayed when you load them, https or ftp come to mind for instance, but the one that is most used is no longer displayed.
Why did they do that? It appears to improve focus of the web address, which by the way is also displayed different than before. The browser is highlighting the main domain only now while everything else is displayed in lighter colors.
If you are using the latest Nightly versions of the browser you will notice another change, one that you may consider a minor one. Mozilla changed the hint in the address bar field from “Go to a website” to “Search or enter address”.
The core reason for the change is to let users know that they can not only use the address bar to load websites, but also to type in search terms to search on the Internet. I do not think that Mozilla is preparing to remove the separate search form from the browser anytime soon, which some may think it plans to do because of the new wording.
While it is definitely a good idea to remind Firefox users that they can search from the address bar, “address” may not be the most appropriate term if you consider Mozilla’s previous changes made to the taskbar. If the company thinks that many of its users need help identifying the domain name and should not be confused with protocols and trailing slashes, then why would it use address and not website. Address is certainly the appropriate technical term but since it is technical, it may not be the best to use in this context.
Oh, and if you want to change the address bar search provider, read this how to article to find out how you can do so.
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Firefox: Search or enter address now displayed in address bar – Ghacks Technology News
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