Firefox Context Menu – User Experience Research (UXR)

A few months ago I began a UX project focused on the context menu in Firefox. If you’re wondering what that is, you’re not alone. The context menu is the menu you use all the time but don’t think about it much. Any time you right click (or control click) you trigger this menu with many options based off of where your mouse is.

context menu research - research

The context menu presented an interesting research challenge: there is no direct way to see how users interact with it because it lives as part in a set of user interactions. For example, if you want to save an image, you will often use the context menu but you would not trigger the menu without that, dare I say, context. As such, several research methods were used.

This is the first UX project to focus specifically on the context menu. I have completed the research phase of the project and presented my findings to the UX team at Mozilla. It has been a fantastic experience being mentored by Yuan Wang throughout the project. I look forward to the next phase, the design phase.

context menu research - metaphor

A metaphor arose during the research synthesis, the context menu as “a bridge from where I am to what I want to do.” This will guide the upcoming design phase along with the user needs (below) found during the research.

  1. Know what I need/want/use
  2. Make sense of workflow
  3. Don’t lose my spot
  4. Share it / pass it along
  5. Intelligently recognize content

This led to three common principles:

  1. Know me
  2. Work with others
  3. Help me navigate

View the full presentation by clicking here or the cover image below. Other resources: browser comparison, user research field guide, Steve Portigal’s Interviewing Users and Add-ons research.

context menu research - cover

Thank you to everyone who played a role in making this project possible!

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