Why Firefox’s new control center design not good

In the latest release of Firefox, version 42, Mozilla has added a new feature of  Control Center, to manage a site’s privacy and security controls.  Also, the way HTTPS connection indicators shown in top right corner of address bar has also been updated. Mozilla, in their blog post go in detail to explain the changes and the motivation behind it. The changes are summarized in the image below.

One major change, many might have noticed, is the way the certificate information is shown on clicking the lock icon in address bar. In the older versions, on clicking the HTTPS lock in the address used to show the information about the certificate’s issuer.

Figure 2: Old style (source: wikipedia)

Post update, this has been changed to a mere indication whether the connection is secure or not. And now you have to make another click (arrow icon on the right of pop-up) to see the information about the certificate’s issuer.

Figure 3: New Style

On the first look it might look innocuous,  but in the light of recent MITM fiascoes like, Lenovo’s Superfish and then Dell, it might not be. With the new design, an additional click is required to see the issuer information. This additional click discourages the users to check the issuer of the certificate and might inadvertently help in certain MITM attacks.

Although, some might argue that only power users check into such information and for a normal user all this is too complicated to comprehend and hence they don’t. A green lock on the top right of address bar is all they care about (do they?). IMHO, showing an additional line about the issuer in the pop-up does not alter the UX and ensures that users can keep an eye on possible malicious activity.



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