Interesting History

Even though I bookmark links on Raindrop and save articles for reading later on Pocket, there are still times when I just can't find that one site that I remember seeing recently.

This is a demo of my work in progress browser extension for browsing and searching my history.

It makes more sense to try it against your own history. You can install it here:

I had a couple of ideas that I wanted to explore with this extension:

  1. Design, that there is a more aesthetically pleasing and useful design possible beyond the browser defaults.
  2. Rarity, that the web page I am looking for is probably an unusual or unique one.

Design

Take a look at these Firefox screens:

Firefox default history Firefox View history by site Firefox View history by date

The leftmost is the original history view, and the newer Firefox View.

Chrome default history

Ironically, I can't find it anymore, but I remember reading a blog post a long time ago about being wary of making designs that just follow how the database is structured. Just because there is a table called history doesn't necessarily mean that each entry has to be displayed in uniform and identical rows.

Another factor that limits how these views look is the use of consistent design libraries. All lists look the same regardless of what they contain. They also prioritize mobile first and do not take advantage of wider screens to see more of the data.

Interesting History on a wide screen

Rarity

When I lose objects in the physical world, it’s likely that I will find it in a place that I would have never thought to look, which explains a lot about why it got lost in the first place. Unfortunately it is not that easy to replicate this approach with the tools that Firefox and Chrome provide. There is a lot of noise in history from using web apps, like Gmail and bank sites. An interesting article is likely on a site you have not been to before, or even if it is a site that you go to often, it is not an article you have visited many times.

Conclusion / Future Improvements

I have other features that I want to add to the extension and I'll be updating this page as I build them.

2024-07-08T14:24:52.296Z