Firefox 3 is going to provide a wide range of improvements to performance, stability, and security, and it’s also going to present several new user facing features. Here is a quick recap of design work that’s been going on in the Mozilla community over the past few weeks for Firefox 3, along with information about how you can help contribute, by providing feedback on these designs, or creating your own UI mockups.
In case you are wondering how Mozilla decides on which features to include in Firefox, we believe in “Delivering the right set of features – not too many or too few. (The goal is to create a useful browser, not a minimal browser.)” We are only interested in adding features that are universally useful, and have no impact on performance. For previous releases of Firefox we added features like RSS detection, spell checking and session restore. Here are some of the user facing features we are considering for Firefox 3.
Standard Mockup Disclaimer
All of these images are only conceptual mockups of Gran Paradiso, any particular feature may end up looking entirely different, or may not even make it into the final release. On a lot of these features we are iterating very quickly on the UI design, so even the mockups posted here may already be old.
User Facing Features in Firefox 3
Places: Bookmarking, Tagging and History – more information
Places is our new infrastructure for storing bookmarks, history, and other information about Web pages. We are working on interfaces that allow users to quickly bookmark pages:
Bookmark “saved searches” in Smart Folders:
We believe these interfaces will allow users to organize bookmarks in the ways that work best for them, ranging from constructing traditional folder hierarchies to quickly searching a Web 2.0-esque tagspace. Places will also enable a lot of really innovative bookmarking, history and annotation extensions.
Discuss the Places UI
Malware Detection – more information
Similar to how Firefox 2 blocks Web sites that are potentially going to try to steal your personal information, Firefox 3 will block Web sites that we believe are going to try to install malicious programs on your computer. Mozilla is coordinating with Google on this feature.
Discuss the Malware Detection UI
Content Handling – more information
Firefox currently has different dialog boxes for dealing with content depending on if it has a MIME type, is a protocol, is being delivered through RSS, or is an application being downloaded. In addition to unifying our internal architecture for content handling we are also working on a unified content handling user interface. The user will have a consistent UI for selecting the actions they would like associated with content, regardless of if the content is a file being download or is a microformat embedded in a Web page.
Discuss Content Handling UI
Microformat Detection – more information
I can’t post to this blog without mentioning microformats at least once per post :) Based on feedback from previous design work I’ve posted, we are now looking into changing the mouse cursor for interacting with microformatted content in the context of the Web page. This idea was suggested by Jeff Carlsen in a comment on a previous post, and by Jesper Kristensen on the brainstorming wiki page.
Discuss Microformat Detection UI
Changes to the Location Bar – more information
We are considering removing the favicon from the location bar, and changing the location bar so that everything except “Public Suffix + 2″ is greyed out. This will prevent malicious sites from placing visual cues in the location bar (like using a lock as a favicon), and the change in text color will help users identify the web site domain.
Discuss Location Bar UI
Private Browsing - more information
The purpose of private browsing is to put Firefox into a temporary state where no information about the user’s browsing session is stored locally. When in this state, we are considering changing the appearance of the location bar:
Or maybe even a drastic change to the entire theme (my apologies for the shoddy photoshop work on this one):
Discuss Private Browsing UI
A few other features that are also on our radar, but don’t currently have any UI mockups yet:
-Offline Web applications
-Improvements to the password manager
-A graphical keyboard-based UI similar to Quicksilver and Enso for searching the Web, bookmarking and tagging pages, navigating recent history, and switching between tabs. Note: this feature isn’t in the Firefox 3 PRD, and it will probably be released as an experimental extension through Mozilla Labs before it gets considered for inclusion into Firefox.
How you Can Contribute
-Provide feedback on any of these above features in their respective threads (or comment below)
-Create your own UI mockups of these Firefox features, using your favorite image editing application