The Web Browser is constantly evolving. Each major browser company (Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Internet Explorer) is frequently iterating new versions of their browser every few months. In fact, in the past year, the rate of updating to newer versions have increased at an ever increasing rate. Firefox seems to be on an almost month or bi-monthly update and Chrome is updating as fast as Netscape dropped off the market several years ago. It’s no surprise as users demand more features, more speed, more conveniences and other frills that help them to navigate the vast environment of the Interwebs. An average user is online over 5 hours a day and I would argue that some of you are online twice that amount. We want MORE from our browser, or some want less in terms of speeding up, but ultimately we are asking more of our browser and things that come along with it.
For the past 5 years, we have worked on creating interactive themes for the major browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Adding a theme to your browser had been a popular practice but we wanted to add some functionality and engagement features to the theme to take the average design to the next level. As a result, we’ve developed some creative ways to utilize your browser and the browser theme. Here are some examples:
1. Tweet Theme – Do you Tweet or engage on Twitter? We developed the Tweet theme so that you could easily read your Twitter stream and Tweet directly from your browser. Why open a new application when you could have a theme installed that had a soothing Twitter look but also provided you the ability to read your Twitter stream and Tweet right from your browser.
2. Coupons – We all love them, they give us instant discounts to the things we love, but we HATE searching through them in the newspaper and the piles of coupons we are sent in the mail. What if there was a lazy way to surf for coupons right from your browser? Well, there is, with the Presto Saving Coupon Theme. We worked with Presto to create a theme where users could quickly and easily find coupons while using their browser through the day. The theme comes equipped with a news feed that displays the latest coupons available from your favorite products.
So while you are surfing the Net or reading email, just glance up at your Coupon news feed to see if any of the coupons strike your fancy. In addition, the theme provides quick links to the best online coupons for almost any product you need.
3. Weather – Knowing the weather forecast for your area is an important part of your day. Whether you’re deciding what to wear to work, planning your camping trip or knowing whether you can ride your bike to work today, we all have a interest in the local weather forecast. We developed a theme specifically for your browser so that you could instantly know the weather forecast in your area at any time during the day. This theme actually reflects your local weather conditions in the design itself. If your local forecast calls for rain, the theme will reflect that in the design. Your local forecast also displays in the news feed with quick links to the forecast for today, tonight, tomorrow and the entire week. For the true weather buff, we included quick links to the local weather radar and maps so that you, as an amateur meteorologist, can determine the weather without the help of the TV meteorologist. Just another creative way to utilize the browser to your advantage.
4. Sports – Sports fans are a “fanatic” bunch to say the least. We buy team gear and products in droves to show our support and loyalty to our chosen team. You have that team “Beer Koozie” right? Sometimes it means more than just supporting a team, it represents a collective support of an entire city or even state or country. But in the Internet age, we demand information about our teams immediately and in real time or as in “real time” as possible. The browser lends itself well to showcasing support for your favorite Sports team. You show your support on your head with a hat, your body with a shirt and on your car with a bumper sticker, so it’s only natural you want others to know that you support your team with an official team browser theme.
But what if we could take the theme from just having your team colors and logo and create an entire fan experience that engages directly with the team itself? This is what we did when we started developing browser themes for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS and now the MLB.com. These themes provide team colors and logos but also integrate interactive elements like a team news feed, quick links to team social media accounts, tickets, team scores, schedules, team gear and much more. Now you are connected to your team for the 5+ hours you are online a day. You’ve now just moved into “Super Fan” status after you download an OFFICIAL team browser theme, and it feels great.
Your Own Theme
These are just 4 examples of creative ways to utilize the web browser, but there are many others and many more to come. The most creative way to use your browser would be to create your very own theme to add some functionality and resourcefulness to the theme itself. We’ve created a free theme tool for just that. Now the power is in your hands to create the next creative way to use your browser to your advantage. What will you create?