Software

Mozilla unveils new Firefox interface ideas for 2010

Mozilla yesterday said that its planned overhaul of Firefox’s interface will be pushed back to Firefox 4.0, the major release now slated to ship before the end of 2010.

Previously, Mozilla said it would revamp the look and feel of its open-source browser in a two-step process, with part of the redesign debuting in Firefox 3.7 — a minor refresh scheduled for late in the first quarter of next year — with the rest following in version 4.0.

Mozilla’s interface plans, particularly those intended for Firefox for Windows, have attracted attention because the company last September said it would "ribbonize" the browser by borrowing graphics concepts from Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Office 2007. Users blasted the idea.

Later, Mozilla clarified its intentions, saying that although it was going to eliminate the traditional top-of-the-frame menus in Firefox, it was not going to turn its browser into a graphical doppelganger of Office 2007.

Mozilla’s newest plans for Firefox 4.0 center around a so-called "App Button" that will take the place of the menus long-seen in Windows applications, said Stephen Horlander, a designer and longtime contributor to Firefox’s interface.

In a blog post outlining the single-button approach, Horlander said the App Button would replace the idea of a dual-button concept — one marked "Pages," the other "Tools" — that Mozilla had previously considered. He acknowledged that the App Button, like the talk of "ribbonizing" Firefox, was borrowed from Microsoft. "[The] App button … is similar to the single menu approach taken by Windows 7 native applications [such as] Paint and WordPad, and by Microsoft Office," Horlander said.

The App Button, which would appear at the top left of the Firefox window, would take up less space, consolidate all menu commands under one roof, and reduce clutter, he said.
 

Plans ‘App Button’ to replace menus, borrows concept from Windows 7, Office

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