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First Look: Firefox 4.0 – New Themes

July 27, 2009

It hasn’t even been a month since Firefox 3.5 was released to the masses, but Mozilla is already hard at work on Firefox 3.7 and now Firefox 4.0. Now we know what Firefox 4.0 may look like when it’s released.

Mozilla is known for constantly gathering feedback from its users to improve Firefox – this is why it offers multiple Firefox release candidates for download before launching the final version. So the company has turned to the web community for feedback on the preliminary design for Firefox 4.0 These screenshots, posted on the Mozilla Firefox wiki today (just a couple of minutes ago, in fact, I’m one of the very first to post about this all over the Internet, 😛 , but enough of tooting my own horn), highlight not only a cosmetic change for the browser, but at least three additional features.

Here’s all of their post (click on the pictures to make them larger):

(New) Initial Windows Theme Mockups for Firefox 4.0

Version ATabs-on-Bottom

Image:Mockup-4-0-Vista-(TabsBottom).png

Possibly add a Bookmarks widget as an upfront replacement for the Bookmarks menu/Bookmarks toolbar (option to turn those on would remain).

Version BTabs-on-Top

Image:Mockup-4-0-Vista-(TabsTop)-(LocBarSearch).png

The more contentious Tabs-on-Top concept.

Positives

  • Save Vertical Space
  • Efficiency/Remove Visual Complexity – Right now the tabs have to be connected to something. So we are adding an extra visual element for them to connect to.
  • Shorter Mouse Distance to Page Controls

Negatives

  • Breaks Consistency/Familiarity – Moving things confuses existing users.
  • Title is MIA – With the space removed from the titlebar you only get the truncated version in the tab.
  • Longer Mouse Distance to Tabs – Takes longer to mouse to a tab.
  • Lost Space – Sandwiched in between the application icon and the window widgets you lose some space.

Combo Stop/Refresh/Go Button.

Image:Mockup-4-0-Vista-(TabsBottom)-(LocBar).png

Attached at the end of the location bar.

  • Turns green when you start typing.
  • Blends with the location bar when at rest.
  • Turns blue on hover.
  • Turns red when a page is loading.

The proposed iconography is mostly colorless. Adding color to these temporary action driven buttons will make it more obvious something is going on.

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