Today we’re releasing a dramatic improvement to our branded browser themes – which were already industry leading in their ease of use.

Holidays are usually down times for many companies. Start-ups are not usual companies, so we used the seasonal slow-down to significantly improve the user experience for our product.

Here’s the quick summary of the BOOM:

1. BOOMS are lightweight active customizations including theming, toolbars, sidebars and more
2. Users can dynamically switch between BOOMS without restarting their browser
3. Integration of multiple Brand Thunder BOOMS into a single BOOM Pack for a single location for managing all BOOMS

Now, here’s the long version:

It has always been easy to get a user into a Brand Thunder custom browser theme. We combine multiple elements for customizing the Firefox browser into a single download. Once a user installed one of our themes, however, to change or move between different themes was difficult.

The difficulty arose from the default placement within the Firefox browser for each custom element. Functionality is under Extensions, the visual look and feel is under Themes, both of these are under the drop-down menu for Tools, and then under Add-ons. Individual preferences for each are in a profile that really can’t be seen or modified easily. There just wasn’t an elegant way to handle all of this capability … until BOOM. The Brand Thunder menu, included with every branded browser theme, will be the central home for managing BOOMS.

Users can now switch between BOOMS without modifying multiple settings and without restarting their browser – a big step forward for any Firefox user. It’s like Firefox Personas on steroids. (Please note: No performance enhancing drugs were used in the development of BOOM. Not counting coffee and Mountain Dew.)

Currently, BOOMS are available for the Holiday and Inauguration BOOMS. As the functionality rolls out across all products, the user experience will be like this: a fan of NASCAR who wants a different look during the off-season can easily move to their favorite hockey team, like the Canadiens, then jump over to Inauguration for the celebration, back to the Canadiens and then back to NASCAR as the season starts. New BOOMS can be added, old ones removed and changing from BOOM to BOOM and each change is achieved with a single action. Any new BOOMS installed will become the default experience but the user can gracefully switch to any of their other BOOMS.

Now that the work is done, we’re optimistic a big usability issue is solved. It’s like we got our Christmas gift and we’ll use it to enter the New Year with a bang… or rather a BOOM!

5 responses to “Introducing “BOOM”, Brand Thunder’s Startling Easy Browser Enhancements

  1. > Is this really all that different from Personas?

    YES! Personas basically puts a new background image in your browser. Booms go way beyond that.

    – They can do full theming of the main browser window, including buttons and tabs.
    – They can provide toolbars that contain boom specific links as well as feeds and other widgets.
    – They can provide boom specific sidebars that include videos, feeds and more.

    The goal of Personas is to allow simply browser customization.

    The goal of Booms is to allow our clients (and us) to provide a full browser experience.

  2. > Isn’t this just a way of getting us to subject ourselves to advertising we don’t want?

    Probably not. If we irritate users, we’re not going to be in business long. It’s easiest to try it, and if you don’t like it – click on the B/T button in the toolbar portion of the Boom and select “Uninstall.”

    To elaborate further, most of the Booms are Official versions built for major brands. They represent their look & feel and connect you to their site and community. There’s nothing overtly advertising oriented about that (though you could argue any brand name, logo or team name is an ad). We don’t collect an email address and don’t really force any advertising on a user. Is there advertising? Sure. Some.

    Among the links pointing to a site’s content, you’ll usually find one button in the toolbar that takes you to a team or school’s store to buy their goods. Or maybe a link for tickets. Lots of people want that. I’m sure there are those that don’t.

    Some of the sidebars that a user launches will have ads among the videos or news. Isn’t out of the ordinary for video sites, but it is still advertising.

    And we do set Yahoo! as the search for the browser. This is stated upfront, nothing sneaky. Consider it a needed request to give our partner a try and see if you like it. We’re trying to make a living at this and these relationships help with that.

    Hopefully you’ll find we’ve done our jobs well and you’ll hit the “Share This” link under the B/T menu button. Or, if you want to share more feedback, you’ll find our team reviews feedback on Get Satisfaction at http://getsatisfaction.com/brandthunder and I’d invite you to continue the dialogue there.

  3. Well .. I have just come across your site and what you are offering all sounds very exciting to me.
    I am going to try it out and maybe come back with a comment or two.

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