The next Firefox browser, 3.7, is apparently scheduled for a theme revamp. As indicated by the above mockup, Mozilla is pondering radical changes (see all mockups). Some thoughts:
- Clearly, Mozilla looks to embrace Windows’ glass interface to make the browser look so much the more platform-native. The idea is nice, but the current implementation looks as sloppy as Internet Explorer 7s.
- The new buttondesigns for Back, Forward, Stop and so on are small rounded rectangles extremely reminiscent of those found in Google Chrome. The idea, no doubt, has been to tone down the distractive qualities the moreso multi-colored icons Firefox 3.5 has, but I hope and expect the final designs to be more distinct to Firefox. Anything else would be a disservice to an innovative browser.
- The new tab design is uninspired and the tabs are still below the addressbar. Either Firefox should do something radical like putting the tabs on the side, or take notes from the exciting resizable tabs in the Opera 10 beta. Otherwise, what’s the point in redesigning the tabs at all.
- Ditching the file menu was scoffed at when Internet Explorer 7 did it back in the day, now browser vendors are scrambling to remove as many menus as possible. What’s interesting is that they all seem to end up with the same new icon-menu-design. Two buttons, outlined icons, “Tools” and “Page”. If Mozilla does this, we’ll pretty much have the same menus in both Firefox, Chrome and Safari. It’s not that it’s a bad idea per se, I hoped Firefox would do this ages ago, but it does feel a bit uninspired.
- There are still two inputfields. The addressbar and the search box. Since the searchbox is Mozillas primary source of revenue (Google pays for each search), and the revamped addressbar for Firefox 3 (dubbed “The Awesomebar” — with its type-to-go bookmark search features it’s arguably Firefox’ best feature), it makes sense to combine the two into the Super-Awesomebar. Searchable bookmarks, AND a source of revenue. Mozilla, I dare you!
- In this mockup, the “Page” menu is in context of the tabs (and the page). Yet, it feels dislocated and odd. Once again, tabs on top would’a been the more logical way to go.
[Update]: That was quick (and slightly stupid). You can now skin Firefox 3.5 with a 3.7-mockup-look-alike.