At the tender age of 18, I learned how to code and designed Xtravo Browser for Windows OS. The product is now available on GitHub.
I designed a web browser out of my personal need. Browsers back in the days did not focus on speed and unnecessarily cluttered until Chrome presented a hassle free layout.
Design a user-friendly browser with minimalistic features and light-weight application to reduce unwanted heavy and sneaky third-party installation on desktops.
Reviewed the top three browsers for at the time for which I conducted 30 interviews with casual users (daily web-browsing for at least an hour or more), in order to decipher the user-friendliness.The overall feedback clarified the need of a cleaner UI, simpler features for navigation, settings under one option and larger browsing view.Based on the feedback received, browser installation was a bizarre experience mostly.
The interviews validated the problems I was facing a user which enabled me to jot down user requirements:
- Simple User Interface
- Robust browsing experience
- Light-weight application
- Make settings experience straight-forward
- No add-ons feature
- No third-party tool needed
User Browsing Experience Flow
For enhance user's experience, I took the storyboarding tool to focus on one feature which was robust browsing. When building a MVP and with limited resources, based on my feedback fast browsing one of the most important feature that couldn't be ignored.After understanding based on the user feedback I realized that most users visit top websites in their region and when they open the browser again then they visit the last 10 visited websites based on their last browsing history. Preloading the top websites when they first install the browser would delight user's experience and make them come back to use the browser again. So I had to make sure that the next time they open the browser, their top 10 last visited sites should be preloaded to make their browsing experience faster.First UX after installing the appNth time UX
Simple UI was primarily the main goal. To achieve this, wider viewing area was a requirement to enable visibility of the websites while the toolbar not be the main focus.Fig 2.0 was the final concept design since it accomplished wider viewing area and simple UI than Fig 1.0 which had a separate control-menu at the top of the toolbar.
Once the visual design initiated, there were few things were felt missing the concept design which was not shared by the users but was indeed a need (New Tab and Tab Control) for them. Once the design was completed, development was pretty much the next phase of the product which took me 9 months to code using C# and open source libraries.
Final ProductThe final product had soft-launch on Nov 12th, 2008. During the first few months, it received raving reviews from multiple news agencies.