Designing IE9 Mobile: Putting sites in the spotlight

Designing IE9 Mobile: Putting sites in the spotlight

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A web browser is a must-have feature of any modern smartphone, and yet many people probably don’t give it a second thought. My job on the Windows Phone Engineering team, on the other hand, is to think about phone browsers all day long and specifically how to make surfing on a small screen a more enjoyable experience.

If you already own a Windows Phone, you’ll notice we’ve made a few major changes to the look of Internet Explorer 9 Mobile, our new browser coming in Mango. The biggest change is that we’ve moved the address bar to the bottom of the screen. When we first showed off this new look several months ago, it sparked some chatter. (I like to tell people we traded in our old browser for a convertible and took off the top).

Today I’ll give you the inside scoop on how we arrived at this new design and talk about what else is new in Internet Explorer 9 Mobile.

Internet Explorer Mobile in Windows Phone 7In the new version of Internet Explorer Mobile coming in Mango, we've moved the address bar to the bottom of the screen to make more room for web page content.

Internet Explorer Mobile in Windows Phone 7 (left), and in Windows Phone 7.5 (right)

What’s new in Mango

Before I talk about the visible changes to the browser in Mango (aka Windows Phone 7.5), let me briefly tell you about a few important under-the-hood updates that aren’t so obvious.

Probably the most important change is that the browser in Mango now shares its “engine” with Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft’s advanced PC browser. As a result, it can now tap into your phone’s built-in graphics processor to make web-based video and animation run faster and smoother. It also has a faster JavaScript engine and supports cutting-edge web standards like HTML5. (For more on standards support, check out today’s post on the Developer blog.)

It’s up to web developers to take advantage of these new standards, of course. But when they do, the results on your phone can be really cool. YouTube, for example, recently upgraded its mobile site to be HTML5 compatible. One benefit: In Mango, you’ll be able to watch videos on the site without a dedicated app. This is just the beginning of what you’ll see as more sites embrace the new standards.

This is how the mobile YouTube site looks now....And this is how the new HTML5-enabled version looks on Windows Phone 7.5.

YouTube shown on Windows Phone 7 (left), and on Windows Phone 7.5 (right)

More web, less browser

Back to the new design. When we were planning for Mango and the next version of our phone’s browser, we took a lot of inspiration from the team building Internet Explorer 9. Their design philosophy was “sites in the spotlight.” In other words, they wanted to build a faster, more minimal browser that stripped away needless visual distractions.

That mission resonated well with my team and the overall Windows Phone design philosophy of “content not chrome”. So we also decided to press forward with a simple, clean interface that provides faster access to the sites you care about and more space to view and interact with them. Bottom line: We wanted to create a browser that didn’t constrain the web.

We were really energized by this goal, yet it presented some unique challenges. On a desktop PC, there’s quite a bit of screen real estate to work with. You also have a mouse and keyboard, which allow for shortcuts and precise clicks.

A smartphone, on the other hand, has a much smaller display, and buttons need to be large enough for you to comfortably tap with your fingers while you’re on the move. We wanted to carve out more space for the web, but we also wanted to make sure you could still navigate and get to key browser features (like the address bar) quickly.

How people use the browser

We thought could achieve both of these goals. But which buttons could we safely move out of the way? To find out, we looked at the anonymous usage data that some Windows Phone owners voluntarily submit to us.

Not surprisingly, we found that people spend most of their time simply viewing and interacting with the websites they visit (reaffirming our belief that putting sites in the spotlight was the right design goal). The address bar—which doubles as a search box—was the most frequently used browser feature.

One big surprise was that that the favorites and tabs buttons were used much less frequently, even though they were front and center on the screen. Here’s a chart of the usage data that shows what I mean:


The end result

After establishing a goal, analyzing data from real users, and observing people holding their phones, we were at a crossroads. Design always involves tradeoffs. Since our primary goal in Mango was to put the focus on websites, we decided to move the address bar down into the app bar, and turn the favorites and tabs buttons into menu options.

That wasn’t all. We also heard from Windows Phone 7 owners that the refresh/stop button was difficult to tap, so we enlarged it and moved it out of the address bar. We also chose to hide the phone status info—time, signal strength, battery life indicator—to make the browser feel less "boxed in" and provide even more room for web content.

The result is quick, comfortable access to the address bar (given how most users hold their phone) and noticeably more space for web sites. You can see the striking difference in the New York Times screenshots above.

We do realize that some people love tabs and favorites (including some people on our team!) and would miss the buttons. So we decided to place them at the top of the menu for easy access. Here’s how the new menu looks:

Favorites and tabs controls are now located in the menu in Internet Explorer 9 Mobile.

We hope you enjoy the cleaner, more site-centric Internet Explorer 9 Mobile coming in Mango and would love to hear your questions and feedback in the comments below.

Amin Lakhani, Program Manager, Windows Phone

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  • Hi all - just want to jump on here and say thanks for all the feedback. While I haven't responded to your comments, several team members and I did read and discuss them. There's nothing to announce now but I encourage you to take a look at this post ( for some tips and tricks for IE9 Mobile.

    Keep the feedback and questions coming. I can't promise a response for each one, but we're definitely reading them all.


  • Also, it's a shame people whinged about the lack of any toolbars in landscape mode and you brought them back, that was a great feature.

  • I'm amazed by the stupid little things Microsoft do to ruin what could have been a great OS. It was already a dumb idea to try and make the hardware back button work in the browser as well as the OS level because it's completely broken. Task switch back to the browser from start and you've lost your ability to go back. But now I hear you've got rid of the forward menu option as well. Way to go to make life hard for your users!

    So glad I ditched my HD7 and got an Android phone.

  • Thom
    31 Posts

    There is a small tweak you could do to really make IE shine on Windows Phone that also leverages efoort people may have already done for IE in Windows Desktop.

    That is to show the hi-res favicon when a page is pinned to the start as a live tile.

    Currently you get a tile containing what ever is on the page, which i rather ugly.

    This would also match a feature iOS has called web clips.

    Thanks :)

  • Here's a piece of feedback ; site centric has gone too far. Reading on touchscreens involves not moving your eyes so much, but rather moving the text. Buttons on top adressbar on top and as minimum a loading bar on top, is not intrusive.

  • @Amin Lakhani, I, like many others, are disappointed in moving the Tabs to the menu. That said, I understand your telemetry said it's not being used as much. However, here's an implementation option that serves both sides equally well:

    By making the address bar just another menu item, you keep the exact same efficiency you have now (one click away with saved space) while allowing other useful elements to be one touch away as well.

    As for the Find on Page, it's frankly mind boggling that you would REMOVE an ALREADY IMPLEMENTED feature, but maybe it's a side effect of having shoved everything under the menu and you're left with less space for all the items. Again, the above proposal would help in that case :)


  • Diane
    8 Posts

    Forced the Mango update 2 days ago and have absolutely been blown away by the upgrade. I was a tad bit disappointed when the favorites disappeared, but after 2 days, I appreciate the bigger screen and so many of the options on WP7(.5) are accessed through the {... more} option, it didn't take long to feel comfortable with it.

    Fast and smooth.  Love it!

  • eladio
    2 Posts

    what 3rd party software? chrome, ff, opera? there is no 3rd party software, and that is also problem (i dont know it when i buy my omnia7 about that situation) i really think to sell this wp7 uselees phone and to buy something normal.. so many limitations like this wp7 is not OS, i am left with no other option. and i see many other users have the same problem- i only hope microsoft will look on that problem like a serious company and give us faster solution.. in this moment WP7 dont have user friendly browser and without other options i am in doubt to sell this useless peace of phone

  • @ eladio – Although I agree with you that the WP7 team should have provided an option to customize your buttons on IE9, I feel that it’s not a big deal to do an extra tap to access “Favorites and Tabs”.  I am not sure what the size of your phone screen is but it is nice to see a clean browser displayed on a 3.6” screen, as the one I have.  The only thing I will agree with you all is that the address bar should have some sort of auto-hide function, one that can be pulled back on on-demand.  It seems that since Mango is going to be around for a while –at least for the next 8-10 months or so, you are left with the option of hang in there with IE or search on the Marketplace for a paid third-party browser.  Sorry Charlie.

  • eladio
    2 Posts

    somebody think i am stupid? omfg.. how is it possible to remove favorites and tabs.. now i tapping tree times more, and surfing experience is tooo slow.. why atleast there is no option to personalise those buttons? or some fast autohide menu? they left adressbar like it is easyer to write then to tap link from favorites. refresh button - lol.. what now? why o why i buy wp7 phone.. is there atleast ff, chrome or opera? ofc no.. yes the browser is fast etc, but why always must be some stupid but important flaws! microsoft, please learn faster - competition will have no mercy..

  • I like the idea of having the address bar at the bottom. It also allows for the page design to stay true and not be at the mercy of the color or opacity of the browser as is often the case - especially on the Desktop PC. I have a page here which shows the Android browsers (Don't get me wrong, it's just a hobby and if Microsoft are kind enough to send me a Windows Phone in the future (a new Nokia here in Japan) I'd love to have sections for that too.)

    At the same time - I'd love to see Bing for mobile place their search field in the middle of the screen as Google does. In both mobile or desktop modes it could still look stylish but be more user friendly in my opinion. I'd like to show off bing more (see the Firefox screenshot on the above page) but the mobile version doesn't reach out at you, if has lots of small text (so I used desktop mode and zoomed in). Most people would like to just get to the search field quickly. Anyway, good stuff. I hope to get access to a Windows Phone here in Japan and start showing off the competition to my current Android device.

  • Oh, and I turn on the anonymous feedback in just about any product I use - I just hadn't used my HD7 long enough to be counted :P   (like it would have made a difference to the numbers!  <grin>)

  • I only got a HD7 a couple of weeks ago after my HD2 eventually died.  I was a big user of Opera on the HD2 and tended to open up a LOT of tabs to read whilst hopping on to a plane.  To my surprise, only 6 tabs were available in Win Phone 7.  I still use the tab functionality a lot as I tend to have a news page (such as Ars Technica, CodeProject News, etc) and then open interesting articles in new tabs.

    So this is a bit of a backwards step.  I used the favourites button to get to the site of interest and then used the tabs button to do a lot of switching.

    I'm applying the Mango update as I write this.  Could you bring back the buttons, or make it configurable?  Also, it would be REALLY great if the "Open in New tab" choice could be made to open the tab in the background.  Generally (at least I find) people want to open a new tab because they want to continue looking at the current page but follow a few links that can open in the background ready for reading when the current page is done.

    Anyway, very small complaint in the scheme of things compared to all the other wonderful things on the phone :)

  • Hi Amin,

    I haven't had a chance to grab the Mango update (or to coerce my Focus to find it...) yet.

    And while I typically spend a lot of time with dev tools, they were only handed out to people who are currently subscribed developers (few months, maybe - Windows 8, definitely, but not right now).

    Anyway, I have had a look over the actual changes and unlike most, I like that the address bar is now at the bottom.

    Along with the talks about Windows 8 tablets, I agree that something so frequently used should be reachable without repositioning your hand at all.

    Especially if you're just going to put your thumbs back down there, to type into it.



    might I suggest that one other thing that you should have taken from the "Metro Sr." approach in its application to "Metro Jr.", is the gesture-based approach?

    While in landscape-mode, there's no way the average phone is going to have a high-enough resolution to bring up system-specific functionality on the right edge...

    HOWEVER, that's a perfect place for the battery indicator, et cetera...  ...which is where they were before.

    Which you could have dropped out, and put back with a simple swipe inward/outward starting from or ending with the outer-most pixels.

    It would also then, benefit you to take the same concept with the application menus, dragging from the top or bottom.

    This could make both portrait and landscape modes completely invisible.


    Consider this:

    The people most likely to use multiple-tabs are also the ones most likely to disable anonymous usage statistics.

    Who also aren't necessarily likely to use favourites (though, perhaps, the ones that do would be likely to use WAY TOO MANY -- that was me with the Quick Launch, up until it disappeared from the taskbar -- I also didn't send stats).

    It would bear researching.

    Of course you can't.

    So the alternate idea for that is to say:

    "Okay, so address bar won...  ...and it won in a ridiculous way...  ...but what's second?

    And if we take #1 out of the equation and look at the difference between #2 and #3...  ...and so on and so forth...

    ...and normalize that data, so that we can see comparative values, not including the distorted data from #1"

    And number two would be the thing to work on next.

    Followed by #3...

    ...and from there, you could prioritize, in terms of differences in usage.

    But considering the difference between SEARCH / URI-entry...  ...and all of the other buttons... to be on equal ground... just a gigantic misstep in browsers.

    Even when I open a new tab (I usually have more than 4 on phone, and more than 15 on desktop), I immediately use the SEARCH / URI bar...

    No kidding.

    I don't do a whole lot of the "open in new tab" thing on the phone.

    The new tab is for information that I want to flip back and forth between (and why not make left and right dragging -- WAY further than just panning -- be the forward and back?  Maybe not a keeper, but worth a consideration).

  • bigjim01
    27 Posts

    On the desktop, the first thing that I do is to turn off tabbed browsing. This is singly one of the worse features that I know of that has been added to web browsers. On the phone essentially it is adding another window instead of tabs, but you can call it what you want. Hopefully the address bar will come up in Landscape mode as well. This one of the stupidest things that you cannot type a URL while in landscape mode.

  • Sogeman
    51 Posts

    No autohid of the addressbar is terrible.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts


    If by "Root Cert hack" you mean the poorly issued certificates, it was made quite clear that 7392 was to move those ceritficates to the "Untrusted" pile.  Like really clear.  Like a post pretty much said that.  I dunno what support's been saying, but the blog was clear that the phones were affected.

  • senseIT
    3 Posts

    @Amin: You say [we] "would love to hear your questions and feedback", yet, after 81 comments more or less agreeing that your changes are, in lack of a better words, moronic we have ONE official reply explaining something so trivial as getting the time displayed without exiting the browser.

    First of all, WHY does the browser warrant a completely different UX than the rest of the [native] apps? We've been taught to tap the top of the screen to get the clock, signal-strength etc displayed. What's wrong with keeping it simple (stupid) and allowing the same manouver to execute the same action everywhere in the OS? Heck, even third party developers are able to have the clock hidden but displayed by a quick tap now.

    Second, should we expect a patch for the latest root cert hack? or will it be like last time where we (as users) were promised by support that this issue did not affect WP only to have a 7392 release rolled out (quietly) a month or two later?

    Finally, what about some kind of confirmation that our concerns are taken seriously? Especially with regards to the "Find on page" debacle, but also with regards to in-browser uploads being broken since Mango B1.

  • +1 for a fullscreen mode in Landscape.  I'm going to miss that a lot. :-(

  • abm
    268 Posts

    Sometimes, we receive links to download files as a plain-text email. Supposedly, the file type is PDF or some other which launches inside the bowser via corresponding add-on, and our intent is to download the file in that scenario, we would have to wait for the file to load completely then it can be saved.

    There must be number of other scenarios as well, which may require an option to manually enter the URL in download manager. Please provide us with a "Create Download" button in download manager, so the user can enlist the download by manually entering the URL to save a file, resource or the entire webpage within the download manager.

    Also, introduce the paste shortcut Ctrl+V in download manager for a single entry and Ctrl+Shift+V for batch entries.

    P.S. The idea of batch-files download option is inferred from Free Download Manager - FDM. IMO, it would be great to integrate the complete set of basic features of a download manager in IE (perhaps some advanced features like; download categories & P2P torrent support as well).

  • I'm honestly really disappointed with those updates! and the more i realize that in case those previous comments are going to be heard it won't be soon enough, the more i get sad with the tweaks IE9 Mobile designers decided to make. really?! no autohide for the address bar in landscape mode? really?! who came up with that? this is really unacceptable. again, this is the only bad feature in Mango. too bad we won't benefit with the power of IE9 for HTML5 because personally i will be using my desktop version of IE9 untill further notice.

  • ScubaDog
    141 Posts

    Oh, good grief, @Nater, you don't know what you're talking about.  I'm convinced that you're just at troll.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    Quote:  " I'm closer to their typical user than you are."

    With such a small user base, really, they shouldn't be making changes based on these useless polls.  And we're all aware form your posts here that you're their typical user.  The type willing to bend over and take anything they give you, no matter how terrible it is.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    If Opera doesn't port their browser to WP7, I'm almost certain I'll be ditching this platform.

    These developers have no clue.  Seriously, it was suprising that most people use the Address bar more than Tabs or Favorites?  I woulda NEVER guessed!!!

    Stupid decision.  Really.  It just blows my mind.  I don't think there room for hope, I'm so crowded with disappointment.

    So, I guess if it gets reverted we'll have to wait 8 months or more to get that update?  Lol.  I'm done with this.

  • jeedel
    1 Posts

    @Simadogg. In the browser the time is easly displayed by holding the back button down, this allows for multitasking and allows users to easily jump between apps. Tap the screen again and you return to the browser and nothing has changed. So the time is always easily accessible.

    As for my 2¢ about the browser: I like the changes to portrait view and hate the changes to the landscape view.

  • i just created a new account and signed in so i can say this:

    these overall changees are a bad bad mistake! how can it be "more web, less browser" if the address bar never autohides, especially in landscape mode! please put back the tab button instead of the refresh in portait mode. and in landscape mode, put all 3 tabs, refresh and favorites buttons next to the address bar. yes you can do that, we only need a small real estate for a URL, simply because we never need to read all the address. again, this is a bad mistake! the only bad feature in Mango!

  • Geoff
    3 Posts

    I regularly use the tab and favorites buttons on my HD7. In fact, that is the main way I browse the web on my phone.

  • Napit
    4 Posts

    i seriously don't understand how that statistics came out cause i use tabs and favourites buttons all the time. come on!

  • senseIT
    3 Posts

    @BuckeyeTico: Nope - the address bar does not double as "Find on page".

    @Leigh: The thing with statistics is; it can easily be shaped to fit your needs. The "address bar" usage is obviously going to outweigh (by far) that of "tabs" or "favorites". You use the address bar each and every time you open a new page (unless launched from a link or favorites). A better indication of usage would have been "tabs", "favorites", "find on page" and "forward".

  • In this case the best solution would be to make the button next to the address bar customizable (refresh, tabs or favs)

  • Hear, hear, @Leigh, well said.

  • @ptichat, please quote me correctly.  I said I RARELY use tabs.  My point there was that not everyone uses it the way you folks do, and the status Microsoft showed appear to show, overwhelmingly, I'm closer to their typical user than you are.  Given the choice between screen and one-tap versus two-taps to get to tabs or recent, I'll take the screen, thank you very much.

    And did you not pay attention to what I said about browsers for the other platforms?  They HAVE all that stuff crowded on the screen and you have this little window of the actual website to view.  So, I'm actually MORE suited for WP7 than YOU are.  Also, I suggested you take a look at the many other browsers out in the Marketplace the approach these issues differently.  SURELY you can find a browser that works for you.

    @BuckeyTico, your point is well made.

  • Leigh
    89 Posts

    Guys, the only logical way to do this is with usage data, so what it means is, the ones who are b-tching are not in the majority.   As a matter of fact, based on the chart, FAR from it.

    A few taps more or less is not going to make or break the experience.   If you want things a different way, keep using the features, and the next round of usage data will likely cause a reverse in that decision.

    For me, an O/S this good with this many features and capabilities out of the box more than makes up for a few extra touches.

    Enjoy Windows Phone 7.5!


  • What if we try to live in peace

    By placing the tabs and favorites buttons alongside the refresh button.

    Losing another 110-120 pixels of address bar can't be any problem of its users.

    (For me, it can be only just a button to tap and show the bar to type)

    And it expands to fill the screen width, or even multiline (for advanced inputters) after they tap the bar.

    And for the chrome-less and gesture idea

    I think you can put any button/bars anywhere on the screen idea and hide them until user give a gesture to show.

    Just another little suggestion from me, but I wish you will give a glance and consider.

  • Marek
    22 Posts

    Hi, bring back "find on page" feature pls! It's useful.

  • @ ptichat – Hey man, it’s not about being on a general tech blog or on a specific Windows Phone blog to feel free to complain or discuss about anything you don’t like.  It’s about discerning between a UI design preference and an overall performance issue.  

    For example, the fact that WP7 is unable to send MMS via text is a limitation that considerably affects the user experience with the platform.  Another one is the fact that you cannot attach a video file to your emails.  But the fact that you have to do an extra tap to access your Favorites and Tabs on IE9 is not; in my opinion, a deal killer for this platform… it’s simply a preference.  There should be a balance between user experience through the UI and the features available on the platform.

    Before finishing my 4 cents for today, let me remind you that we all love this platform and truly want it to succeed.  I don’t need to go to Android to enjoy that extra tap –as you suggested, it will be delivered to right to my phone via Mango! ;o)

  • Slimak
    1 Posts

    I'm using this two button every day, in order to look at my favourite pages and when I'm waiting to page load. Please make it back.

    Secondly, can we have option to choose what is open link doing. Now it open new tab and go to it. I have to manually back to page from I use open link, or wait when page loads. I want it like IE 9.0 on computer. There when I choose open link - page is opening in new tab but I can still read "old" page.

  • ptichat
    3 Posts

    If we were on a generalist forum, it could be pointless and ridiculous to complain about an extra tap on your phone.

    Since we are on the windowsphone blog, it sounds pretty clever to comment it.

    Well, if you love extra tap, go for Android, you'll enjoy it :D

    I may sound weird but the user experience ( through the user interface ) is even more important than the feature..

    Look the Iphone 1 wasn;t able to send mms ! But the UX was so high, simple.. people didn;t care much about mms anylonger !

    That's my point, and yes I'll complain about ridiculous extra tap because I love this phone and feel like being part of his development since we are just "few" users in the world.. Sight..

  • Come on guys! Are we becoming a lazy society? We are complaining now because, with Mango, we have to do an extra tap to get to our Favorites and Tabs.  Come on guys! It’s just an extra tap! I rather do that extra tap and have the web pages better displayed on my 3.6” screen (of course, I am on Sprint).  I wonder if those who are complaining about these "little things" are the ones who have 4.3” screen phones -and their screens don't look too cluttered.  No matter what, there will always be a hair in the soup!

  • Bizatts
    4 Posts

    Also an option to show Favorites on the homescreen.

  • ptichat
    3 Posts


    As you said "you don't use favorites", so you can't understand :D

    For god sake, un click on new tab, one click on favorite.. Multitabs in 2 clicks.. Don't you get the benefits ??

    Ther is no point saying " I fit the graph above", if you want to fit what others people do, just go buy an Iphone and be part of the hype lol generation !

    It's all about simplicity, proficiency. Those words define WP7 !

    Oh and consistency also...

    I repeat myself that going on multitab should be as going on multipictures on the photos hub, pinch it !

    Easy, simple and most of it : consistency everywhere in your OS.

    That said, you can argue as much as you want :)

  • BTW, you do know there are other browsers out there for WP7, right?  Try the SurfCube out for example.  That's a dramatically different take on browsing.

  • And, see, I completely disagree with all of you except on the issue of the "find on page" option being gone.  I have the Beta 2 of Mango and I've not found a way to use the address/search bar to actually search on the page---it always goes into a normal search, albeit you can pivot between Web, Local, Images.  I fit the graph above.  I want screen real estate and don't mind at all going through the ellipsis to access recent, tabs, favorites.  I rarely use favorites, to be quite frank and, truth be told, I access the web via other apps that link to websites rather than typing in addresses myself.  I just did a search on what has been rated the most useful browsers in Android.  THEY ALL SUCK.  Look at every last one of them.  They chew up the screen with buttons, icons, etc.  And their pop-up keyboard is not better or different.  I just don't see that there's a way to please every one.  So, as vehemently as some of you are in insisting the browser go back to the way it was, I'm am just as vehemently opposed to doing so.

  • csmikle
    14 Posts

    One more thing: Your chart above didn't have 'Refresh' on it so answer me this.. Do people really use Refresh a lot more than tabs or favorites? How often do people really need to reload a web page? I refuse to believe more people F5 than try to use tabs, history or favorites, until you show me the data. You could have put refresh in the menu below.

    And like a previous commenter said, gestures would have worked just fine if you had to keep the buttons out.

  • csmikle
    14 Posts

    You're telling me this:

    Even when you rotate the phone to landscape and you have such a wide bar to use, you couldn't squeeze a tabs button on there? I'm of the opinion that you could fit one on the bar even in portrait.. I mean the address box doesn't need to take up the entire width until the moment you start typing in there. No-one thought of making the address box a little narrower, and expand it once you tap in it?

    Of course people are going to use the address bar a lot. It's unfortunate that you don't take a broad view when interpreting telemetry, and realize that maybe you have shortcomings that need to be improved. Change user habits!

    Secondly... If you care so much about being chromeless, don't you realize how much vertical space you lose in landscape with the address bar? I understand people asked for it, so that's why you add a toggle in settings. You really can't figure out autohide?

    IE9 makes it harder for me to browse. Like IE9 on the desktop, the address bar isn't as good at finding me sites while I type, as say, Firefox with a search plugin installed. It's even more difficult than the previous mobile IE to back out of the browser instead of going back through history. Whereas before I could create a new tab and then hit back, now I have NO recourse and the only thing I can do is hit Start. There is no 'forward' button at all.

    IE9 disappoints.

  • ptichat
    3 Posts


    The whole point of having a blog and leave comments is not about congratulate MS. I buy their product when they do good job.

    Comments here are about giving a feedback, the more  "negative" they are, the more MS know what to do to make us happy again.

    @MS : Don't loose yourself while adding features to WP7. It's all about simplicity and "one click feature". I choose WindowPhone  because it is beautiful, fresh and elegant and on top of everything SIMPLE.

    Finding your favorites and switching from a tab to another one as to be as fast as a blink !

    An idea for fast switch between tabs could be like while browsing pictures, a pinch which makes the current tab small and let appears the others one.

    A WP lover :)

  • @Suge Knight, did you NOT see that Favorites and Tabs are still both there?  All you have to do is hit the ellipsis and you can select either of those.  They didn't do away with them.  They just gave us screen real estate back.  I applaud that.

  • Just imagine what the world would b like if people spent as much energy on helping each other as we do on nitpicking! Compared to all the real problems in this world, where the bar & buttons are on our phones, really not so important. Please don't think im trying to offend anyone, but instead of complaining about the things that aren't that important, we would be thankful that we can afford to have a cell phone, thankful that we have family & friends to talk to & the freedom to voice our respectful opinion. Microsoft has given us a pretty sweet phone all around & it seems we should b thanking them instead of always complaining. I'm really sorry if I've upset some people, but all the negativity makes me really sad.

  • Guys, guys! Please read carefully what Amin wrote “The address bar—which doubles as a search box—was the most frequently used browser feature.”  If I am right, the new address bar/search box option will replace the Find on Page feature most of you are talking about.

    Now, what we need here is a confirmation from Amin or from any of you guys already using the Mango Beta version.

    I kind of like the look and functionality of the Mango version for IE.  I agree with one of you that said “Favorites and Tabs are just ONE tap away”.

  • Also,

    I think most people didn't fully read the article. It sounds like some think the Tabs and Favorite options are gone. People they are just moved to the menu. I know that won't please everyone but that may settle some down.

    MS, please clarify this because they are about to go nutz!

  • Necroman
    18 Posts

    It feels like using IE6 again, not IE9. I just hope for changes in IE behavior in Tango or later, because ignoring power users wanting tabs and favorite button in favor of "regular users" is not a good idea in my opinion - because if power users are not happy with browser, they might not be happy with the platform as well and leaving the platform means less great apps made by those power users/developers ... and less apps means less regular users at the end :(

  • I hope that the complaints are from those who have spent time using the new browser. If not then let's stop bitching about it and wait and see how it works. You never know it may work better for you.

    Let's revisit this argument sometime after Mango is released, at which that time  Amin will comeback and ask us If we have any problems.

  • nchmel
    2 Posts

    Who was in the usability studies??! I don't think I've used refresh or address bar in IE at all. Prefer to search for a page using search button or a bookmark/favorite for my most visited pages.I also open articles/news items in different tabs - so tab button is one of the most used ones!

    These changes significantly retard usability and streamlined experience of Windows Phone. I thought the whole idea was to escape from endless menus!

  • lhgluke
    1 Posts

    Please put the tab button back on the task bar, or at least give us the option to put it there. I constantly have 6 tabs open at once and spend more time jumping between them more than I would in one tab. Having to tap three times just to change tab once is archaic and frustrating.

    Also forward and find on page need to come back,they are extremely useful.

    Otherwise it looks great.

  • uhm, please bring back at least the "Tabs"-Button, like other mobile Browsers. I'm using it really much (mostly to close all the tabs opened  by other apps). Maybe there is another alternative to switch between tabs much faster (any gesture? swipe to browse tabs or shake device to close tabs)...

    And I have the same question like MadpigPOW: Will there be any possibility to change the searchprovider back to bing, if the service provider has personalized it? Maybe with a future upgrade of Windows Phone?

  • abm
    268 Posts

    Most people are missing tabs and favorites features which are present under the menu (just one tap away!).

    IMO, the only issue in this approach is dropping the "Find on page" feature all together!

  • Janis91
    5 Posts

    I don't know but I used tabs, favorites and the address bar all equally and I think I'll miss the quick tab access.

  • Gentlemen from Microsoft, can I ask why you have destroyed the ergonomics of Nodo browser to make it become as chaotic as that of Mango?

    It's like Android, going on in the menu to make any thing.

    The main argument and the strength of WP7 is simplicity and purification. This was well respected in IE7, it is not the case at all in IE9.

    You are trying to convince us that people prefer to type web addresses directly rather than using the favorites? That people do not use the tabs ?

    One need only read the various opinions on the forums to realize that you have it all wrong!

    Why having to open a menu to access the favorites?

    Why having to open the menu to access the Tabs?

    How will this is better to have the address bar at the bottom of the screen rather than at the top ?

    How will this is best not to hide the address bar in landscape mode?

    I would much rather rotate my phone to get the address bar than have this adress bar permanently in landscape mode and I'm not alone!

    Have you really worked on the ergonomics of the interface ?

    I am a big fan of Windows Phone but I can only express my disapproval about the browser that is a real step backwards.

    We hope you find the spirit of simplicity that characterizes Windows Phone.

  • Quppa
    12 Posts

    I also miss the tabs button (I probably switch tabs more often than I refresh a page), and to a lesser extent, 'find on page' and 'forward'.

  • OMG... what did you guys do? The "find on page" function was very useful. I don't see any reason to remove it! And also the favorites button!

    that's a huge drawback...

  • jabtano
    4 Posts

    Good god bring back the tab button so we get a refresh button no tab no favorite... that is just dumb!! put them back

  • JariS
    1 Posts

    I'm also disappointed if the tab and favorites buttons are hidden as the menu options, since those two buttons (plus the Refresh button) are the buttons which I use the most. I constantly have 2-3 browser pages open to the sites I want to visit regulary and I want to access those pages quickly with tab button.

    Just wondering the results of your usage data and if the users that use mostly address bar are really using the phone for browsing? Of course the address bar is mostly used in the beginning and in occasional browsing. But when you learn to use the brower, you'll need address bar less and less.

    I would be happy if the following buttons would be visible at all time: Refresh, Favorites, Tabs. No address bar. After all, if someone is willing to type the addresses, I'm sure the user does not mind an extra tap (or gesture) to bring up the address bar ...

    I also understand that the address bar is the first thing that the user needs when starting the browers for the first time. And if it's missing at that point, it's going to be a bad user experience and bad for the Windows Phone overall ...

    Would it be possible to give an option if the address bar is shown? By default the address bar would be shown, but the power users could turn it off and get three buttons Refresh, Favorites, Tabs ...

    Just my $0.02 ...

  • Steve
    2 Posts

    Good job. I do have to argue that above all I am switching between various tabs all the time and that will be kind of a nuisance to have to tap twice now instead of once to get to a different tab. I think you guys should incorporate gestures, like some apps to for various browsers on the PC using the mouse, we could do that with our fingers. One gesture can show/hide the address bar. Another can be refresh. Another could be open tabs. Another could be add to favorites. And so on. All with just the swipe of our finger. And of course, the option to customize those gestures.

  • Freypal
    59 Posts

    The tabs button was one of my most-used features in NoDo. Hearing that this is gone is a big blow for me.

    I don't understand the removal of the find on page function either. It makes no sense at all to remove it... it's not like it was at the front end of the interface and taking up space.

    I will miss having the time and signal strength displayed too.


  • Please add the Tab button to the landscape mode of the browser!!!! I was using Tabs very often before mango. Now I am using only one :(

  • I am a fan of tabs so I don't share your view in this respect. Nevertheless I agree that was important to free pixels, but there are ways more efficients to achieve that (for instance the way apple and android do). What upset me is the landscape mode where you did it right and where now I've lost a lots of pixels. I agree that content should be the most important thing, but there are in my opionion better ways to get it.

    I think that an approach could be to use the full screen and use the back button to show chrome and everything else, perhaps on top of the rendering. The number of actions would be the same as for the menu but it would be much better experience.

  • KR
    503 Posts

    Why didn't you guys use landscope screenshots for this post as if your implementations where centered around portrait mode browsing?

  • KR
    503 Posts

    Having the address bar always present just leaves no room to see what you are typing when typing in a webpage like commenting on this blog.

    I personally don't use my browser just to view sites,if that was the case then I should have probably been crying for flash support or just gone Android.i do a lot of inputting on the websites I browse and not having enough screen space to see what I'm typing is just annoying.currently when browsing in landscape mode,the keyboard already takes up 2/3 of the screen,then the always present address bar in mango will probably just leave me with 15% of the screen

    I really don't understand

  • Bill
    14 Posts

    Nonsense..put the url bar back where it belongs and the tabs also.

  • ScubaDog
    141 Posts

    Just goes to show you, you simply can't please everyone.  I like IE9's setup MUCH better.  I like NOT having all that clutter on the bar, but rather bringing it up from the ellipsis.  So, please DON'T change it back.

  • Please put either the tab or the favorites button on top and not in menu. I really miss it. I like the address bar below. Love it. Also please add 'find on page'. Add it in the menu. It may not be sed by many ppl but what diff would it make even if its there!

  • vieya
    44 Posts

    What a bad move. I would rather use the Tab and favorites button. I like those type of buttons. Making it require even more clicks to get to what used to be on the bottom of the page is ridiculous. More clicks means being less efficient.

  • @simadogg we thought the always-present status bar made the web feel a bit "boxed in" and here's a tip to quickly view the time without leaving the browser: just tap on the menu or address bar (see the last screenshot in the blog post). Look out for an upcoming post on more tips & tricks.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @Ning Ning Sun

    You mean the problems they've been having of late?  Zune twitter confirmed them fixed earlier today.  I've been using it fine.

  • When will Zune Social be fixed? #stillwaiting...

  • i dont at all care that you guys got rid of the menu bar and streamlined the interface. what does kind of stink though, is that the WP7 phone team decided to get rid of the time. You have to think how inconvenient it is, when any time you're in some apps that are "full screen", to see what time it is, you have to exit the app. There needs to be a more fluid way of seamlessly checking the time. I would think, the easiest way would be to change the system so that when there is an app being used that takes up full screen, if you press the volume rocker, you are presented w/ the time, as well as the vibrate/silent/ring status, music track time etc.

    IMO, it'd be much more seamless than having to leave an app, then come back to it (especially considering that some apps aren't able to instantly get back to where you left off/have to re-render pictures, etc)

  • This is my first post here. I've agreed with pretty much every decision Microsoft made to enhance the user experience on Windows Phone but that's not the case here (unfortunately).

    I'm using Windows Phone 7.5 since the first developer beta and I like the "more screen space" idea, even if I have to sacrifice the tabs button.

    The problem is for features you removed and/or made worse. I'm talking about Find on page, Forward and Favorites.

    The first two are removed in Mango.... WHAT ? I didn't used them a lot but when I needed them, they were here.

    As for Favorites, now it's separated from Recent pages (it was in the same page before, with a pivot). So now it takes 2 lines on the application bar, though it could have taken only one (think favorites + recent here, like in IE desktop).

    I REALLY hope the dev team will hear our complaints for IE10 Mobile (which I can't wait for... HTML5 input fields support :D).

  • vincent_g
    19 Posts

    I am not sure about Tab.. I use tab all the time to switch to multiple open browser. If this is less accessible, I don't think it will increase any user experience, if not decrease it. Find on page is one of the feature that will be useful, when we need it..

  • @ Amin L.

    You are my new best friend! To me the browser is the most exiting feature of smartphones. My wish is for it to render pages with the same functionality as a PC browser. We are almost there, but these videos have to start playing within the pages. Little boxes moving around on the screen just screens power! And someday when you figure out how to make it work practically, the public will understand the power of efficient programming not quadruple core, power consuming processing.

    If my old WM6.5 device with a Skyfire browser can do it then I know this Focus is capable.

  • KR
    503 Posts

    I personally didn't use the Favorites,but i used the tabs a lot,i don't have any problems with the new implementation but for the fact that there's no more full screen browsing especially in landscope mode,this is just frustratin

  • efjay
    14 Posts

    Have to agree with most of the comments here, the usability has gone way down in the Mango version. Address bar at the bottom is a good idea but removing find on page, forward, moving the tab and favorites buttons makes the browser harder to use. Plus the ever present address bar massively reduces screen real estate, that clearly should be set to auto hide when in landscape mode. Or how about you look at your previous OS and have a litle icon in one of the bottom corners to easily call up the menu, the three dots would be a prime candidate.

    Dont know who you did your testing with but it wasnt with actual WP7 users, that much is clear. Please bring back the best featurs of the old IE to add to the new capabilities of the new. Thanks.

  • senseIT
    3 Posts


    Not only do you require me to register a separate account to comment on these blogs (what's wrong with using the Windows Live ID most of us already have?) but accidentally hitting the "esc" key clears out the entire comment field. I had written a lengthy comment which I was about to post and ... poof ... gone.

    So, I'll keep this one brief.

    As per usual, it seems you [Microsoft] are hiding behind usability studies to defend a decision, more often than not, forced down on you from the higher ups (as has been the case way too many times before). Although in this case I suspect it's merely bad planning and flawed telemetry rather than some evil officer deciding this is how we're doing it.

    Being a developer, my usage patterns are more than likely different from Joe Schmoe. My wife however is definitely the average end-user and the two things she has mentioned about IE9 in Mango (yes, I was naughty and upgraded her Omnia 7 with the developer preview some months back) was "How do I get to the page showing all the pages I'm currently looking at?" and "Where's the find on page option gone?".

    Now, I can live with the tabs being moved to the menu. Sure, it's a hassle, but I'm slowly getting used to the idea of opening the menu to access the tabs. It's a learning curve, just like the "multitasking" has been (I used to always end my apps/tasks pressing "back" because pressing home, start new app, then back and back again was so infuriatingly slow) but I'm slowly adjusting my usage for this too.

    What I really can't understand is the removal of "find on page" - what was the basis for this decision? Was it even a decision, or was it simply missed during testing? and if so, can we expect a patch to fix this before next years updates? This was a feature I used daily (often several times a day) and I'm still finding myself looking for the option every now and again before putting the phone down and opening the browser on my laptop.

  • Tilted
    1 Posts

    Why did your team decide to remove the "Find on Page" feature?

    Several of my friends have used the browser, and it's a CONSTANT complaint I hear.

    Put it back in. It's annoying not having it, especially with the improved Copy+Paste functionality.

  • Removing the tabs button was a terrible decision. Using IE9 now is frustrating, and that's a shame, because it's really really fast.

    I'm tired of opening the three dots menu everytime I want to do something on IE. I get so mad that after I open it, sometimes I can't even remember what I was going to do next.

    My advice? Put the Refresh button back into the Address Bar, like in NoDo. Put the Tabs button outside the address bar, where Refresh is now on Mango. And finally, when a New Tab is opened, show the Favorites list (like iOS does).

    I'm also going to rate this post with 1 star, just to protest against Mango IE9 interface. Nothing against the post itself.

  • Put the tabs back that was the only thing dumb I found in mango I use it a lot in No Do... o yea and the url bar should vanish when you are  not using it.

  • Milad
    2 Posts

    I'm not sure you are going to read all this Amin or reply but thats how I see it

    1. IE9 is excellent, I love the IE9 engine and it works excellent. I also do not miss flash by any means.

    2. the overall design of Windows Phone is amazing, second bar none.

    now here are my issues  which I absolutely cannot understand about the IE9 mobile.

    1. Why didn't you guys offer us a "favorites" or "frequently used" page with tiles when we start up the app? It would have been easy to reduce the pain of not having "favorites" as a button.

    2. Why the hell does the URL bar never disappear? its disturbing, especially in landscape mode. All other modern browsers have this feature and the "auto-hiding" is pretty common. If real estate is the big deal here, then this would have been the most obvious way to save screen.

    3. You guys should have also added some gestures for tabs. For example like IE10 where you have a top down tab bar when you swype from the upper bezel. Or a zoom out for tabs like on Samsung Galaxy SII.

    If you can explain them, I can get my peace of mind, untill then I'll remain upset about these. You guys should know that mobile browsing is a big deal to smartphone users and its absolutely mandatory that it has a convenient UI which IE9 unfortunetly does not. I hate the fact that Microsoft puts up AWESOME products out there and masters all the "tough" tasks but fails at such easy common features...

    other than that, thank you and I hope the WP team is still going strong for the next release. Windows Phone cannot afford to fall asleep. With patience, the market share and recognition will come.

  • stupid decision on tabs, Forward and Find on Page.

    Really stupid. Android rules the 'power to consumer'. WP7 is copying the restriction and stupidity on iOS. I wonder why? Is wp7 just a bunch of designers and insecure mediocre decisions makers, who knows nothing that copying?

    Hey check the news, Android is the most used OS...

  • jaxbot
    3 Posts

    (Here's a link to a rant I wrote about some of the changes recently. Wonder how many commenters feel the same way. )

  • jaxbot
    3 Posts

    I'm not a fan of the changes. I appreciate the idea that the browser should have less chrome, but why not just have a fullscreen option and leave the full chrome in place when jumping from site to site quickly?

    Also, seriously, what's up with the broken file upload system?

  • Koki.v3
    2 Posts

    I was using the tabs/favorites buttons all the time and I hate it being moved away to the menu. This is the worst new thing in Mango, seriously. Stupid idea. What you should have done is keep the address bar on top, which would hide after a web page is loaded and keep the buttons on the bottom. Using the 1px sensitivity it'd be possible to swipe the address bar back from the top.

  • Bizatts
    4 Posts

    Can we get a choice to have the tab button visible?

  • i use the tab very often in order to browse news sites.  eg: reading wall street journal, open the article corresponding to each headline in a new tab.  after reading the article, then go back to the papr and select another article.  you can read part of the article and leave it open in a tab, and return to it later.  also twitter (i dont use a twitter app, just use browser), can open each tweet you are following in a new tab.

  • Entegy
    42 Posts

    I love what's been done with IE9 Mobile. but I sure miss the "find on page" feature.

  • abm
    268 Posts

    +100 @dfap, what makes you think dropping Find on page feature is gonna make a difference in usability or performance? Or is it just copying iOS's Safari without taking a second thought? That’s a very ridiculous decision!

  • I have rated this article 1-star because I, like many, think it was an awful idea to get rid of the tab chooser in the app bar, as well as Favorites (though less so). I am going to so extremely miss my NoDo IE, and I hope you can redeem yourselves in the future and bring it back.

  • dfap
    2 Posts

    Please put back the "find on page" option and add auto-hide the address bar option, thank you!

  • As someone who GASP, dont do any kind of social networking, I use all data ATT gives me on internet, learning & browsing, so design of internet is important to me & I like what u guys came up with for mango! My Sammy focus is my first smartphone and unless something crazy would happen, will b a window head from now on!! Thanks for making such a simple, fun, smart phone that really does have the consumer in mind! =D