I used to drive at night, a lot. Often, I’d put at IPad up on my dash with a movie playing, it’s reflection off-center my field of vision in front of me. I could listen to the action and shift the focal length of my eyes to see the action at any time. It worked well to keep me awake. For all intents and purposes, my IPad was transparent.
I expect web browsers to become more transparent, although not in the optical sense. Web browsers are probably one of the most used software programs of our age. They link us to our friends, the news, work; they connect our world. As I write this, the top 5-8% of my screen is consumed with the ubiquitous chrome that decorates a browser: a back button, forward button, refresh, home, a navigation bar, shortcuts, and some extensions.
My browser needs to keep these things around in the event that I need them, but I don’t see that being a “thing of the future.” Instead I see browsers and web apps becoming one and the same. WordPress.com, for example, I see the top chrome bits becoming part of the application. The navigation bar doesn’t need the full address, just a bit to tell me where I am. There’s no need for a back/forward button, even a refresh button. The application should be able to reclaim that space and maybe even skin it.
If you clicked “ok” or “yes” when you started this, then clicking the screen anywhere will magically show you my awful (read: hack job) attempt at what I mean.
The code is actually quite simple, and if the history api were more elaborate without sacrificing security, it would be even better.
I feel like there should be some kind of API to theme the junk at the top of the screen so that it felt like it were part of the site instead of a separate application that it is.
Maybe someday … but for now, we’ll just have to live with how it is. Or, use my hack.