The KaiOS Internet Browser

UX Design, Strategy
2019 Summer, 2 months
The company was building a new mobile OS for smartphones. Internet browser was one of the essential apps that would come along with the OS. It was the very first version of the browser for a brand new platform.
My Contributions
In this project, I was the design lead who ideated the scope and brought PM, visual designer, and engineers to work together.
As one of the entrances for users to get onto the Internet, this app also played a vital role in achieving the company's business goal. Therefore, I took it into account and planned for business opportunities on this app.

A good browser respects your usage habits,
and a better browser inspires new ones.

Today, many of us are literally living on the Internet. To be clear, almost everything can be done remotely through an internet connection. From paying bills, buying groceries, booking a flight, to following sports news, you name it then you can probably do it.
Therefore, I had some interesting observations about people's internet behaviors.
#1 People have specific purposes
Let's say you want to buy running shoes for late-night jogging. You may go to,, or Foot Locker to check out the latest shoes. But you may also read articles from some blogs and review websites like Runner's World to compare your choices. Long story short, we open tons of web pages for buying a new pair of shoes, which is the purpose we go onto the Internet.
#2 People save "important" web pages for later
You don't need too much time for judging whether an article is worth reading or not, but mostly you could be in a rush and decide to read it later. People save those web pages that seemed important to them.
#3 People take screenshots of web pages
People like to share visual content: it could contain a picture of a meme or just a paragraph from a meaningful article.
People take a screenshot, send it to friends, and have a good conversation about it.
Design around these habits.


A collection is a set of websites. A traditional bookmark tree could be complex with multiple levels, but the concept and structure of a collection are simple. There are 3 types of collection:
• Home collection: websites in this collection will show on the browser's starting page.
• System collection: websites in Read It Later will be stored as offline copies on the device and all screenshots made in the browser will be stored in Webshots.
• Personal collection: this type of collection is created by the user. Users can manage websites according to their preference, thus the meaning of a personal collection can be very broad, from social purpose to any specific need.
Build a collection
First, at any time you feel like the page should belong somewhere, you may add this page into an existing collection or create a new collection for the page.
Secondly, while you exhaustedly open a series of web pages for one specific purpose, you may simply collect them together and postpone your task until you get some rest and feel excited again to pick up the task and reopen all the web pages at once!

Important articles? Let's put them into the reading list

When you are in an environment that does not allow you to read the full text of an important article, you may put it into the reading list. Blog posts, news feeds, papers, anything that is important to you could wait for your next visit. Furthermore, websites in the reading list would be stored on a device, so reading those websites won't need an Internet connection. In most cases, KaiOS users won't stay online frequently for preventing background traffic, so the offline copy is a big help to them.
A gentle reminder from the reading list
We sometimes forget those important articles and make them wait for a long long time. Hence, activate this reminder on the launcher if you want those articles to speak for themselves and be in your notice.

Screenshot + Website URL
= Webshot

When you screenshot a web page, you store not only the image but also the web address. The other people who are also KaiOS users can access the original website from the image they received. The big difference is that you share the whole context along with the image. Likely, people could easily build up their conversation about the image by knowing more details.
All these features are meant to help users to manage their websites as they wish.
Don't forget that it is a business.

To be honest, design involves business

A better design comes from the intersection of user needs and business values. Internet browser, as the first screen users see before opening any website, has a great chance to be seen by users in their everyday life. When I was cooking my design, there were two things I considered the most: what users want to see, and what the company wants users to see.
Pre-built collections
Websites in pre-built collections would catch more traffic than those which are not because those websites get exposed to users and earn credit from them. A spot in a pre-built collection has commercial value and brings revenue to the company.
Appify websites for the growing OS
One of the well-known sayings from the company is that every website is an app on KaiOS. Because the whole OS itself is technically a "browser" and all apps are actually developed based on HTML and Javascript (just like a typical website).
As a new mobile OS in the market, we are facing the fact that our app store is still growing and it only has a limited number of available apps. However, at the current stage, we could generate some collection or website shortcuts on the apps menu as apps. So popular apps could always be found on KaiOS with their web solutions.
User guide and tutorials in the Reading List
Providing links to the online user tutorials helps users to learn some useful tricks like take a screenshot or switch input methods.
Furthermore, having some preset websites in the reading list could also point out this special system collection. I mentioned before that this collection would pop up on the home screen. Hopefully, people could notice that, build a mental model for it, and know its difference from other regular collections.


Internet browser is a tool that is so mature. Browsers from different brands follow standards and share lots of common features so that people can actually use any browser at hand to search for the information they want despite feeling awkward a little bit. They will get used to a new browser no matter how.
But, people do show their preference if they have a choice. Many would choose Chrome, some Safari, some Edge, some Firefox, and maybe some Opera. It is vital for a browser to earn its name that it should have something users would love and choose to stick with it.
It still has possibilities to dig from interesting people behaviors. People are evolving and so are browsers.