Quick Thoughts On Mozillas Firefox 3.7 Theme Revamp Mockup

FF_3.7

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.

Responses to “Quick Thoughts On Mozillas Firefox 3.7 Theme Revamp Mockup”

  1. I actually thought having ‘page’ as part of the tab-bar was a rather brilliant move – by far the best idea in the mock-up.

    The colour needs to be diff from the tabs too, which I’m glad to see in it. Don’t know if moving the bookmark-star to the ‘page’-button is helpful though (see non-areo win7 screenshot).

    • Joen says:

      I certainly see the point in having the “Page” be in context of the.. well.. page, but right now it’s also in context of the tab-bar, and as long as the tabs are below the addressbar they’re hard enough for the laymen to understand. Moving the page menu down there just clutters things.

      As you can see, I’m a vocal supporter of tabs-on-top, because that way, EVERYTHING is in context of the page you’re looking at, including the page-menu, wherever you want to place it. That way you don’t have to put two menus on either side of the screen.

  2. Indeed the tabs should be on top! And above the tabs I would place shortcuts to my most visited sites. It would all be in the correct context.

    A new idea to improve the tabbar would be a selected few sites that are always loaded at start-up and only show their favicon (no text) (like the notification area in Windows)! Now that would be an interesting move for the app-executing browser!

    Btw. loved your review of FF 3.5 Joen – it lead me to this.

    • Joen says:

      Bookmarks are to browsers what taskbar links are to operating systems, sure. Granted also, that if browsers are to become more app-bases, we need a good “launcher”, and right now that’s the bookmarks bar.

      However, I personally think that the “new tab” page is an excellent place for this, and the bookmarks bar really just annoys me.

      Did you know, by the way, that you can specify at least Firefox to open a number of tabs automatically, each time yous tart the browser? The titles won’t be hidden, but we’re close to your goal :)

  3. system001 says:

    i am using tab mix plus with the tabs at the bottom. the tabs would look tacky on the side.

  4. @F1LT3R says:

    “I hope and expect the final designs to be more distinct to Firefox. Anything else would be a disservice to an innovative browser.”

    True.