The User Interface of Firefox 3: Features

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 Historymore 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:


Tag 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 Discuss the Places UI

Malware Detectionmore 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 Discuss the Malware Detection UI

Content Handlingmore 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 Discuss Content Handling UI

Microformat Detectionmore 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 Discuss Microformat Detection UI

Changes to the Location Barmore 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 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 Discuss Private Browsing UI

Coming Soon

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

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  1. Note that every feature above has a link to a specific discussion thread on dev.apps.firefox, in case you want to comment where the rest Mozilla community is discussing each particular feature.

  2. One thing I’d really like to see in the password manager is a filter/search similar to what’s in the cookie browser, where I could just type a partial name and it would only show me entries for sites matching that name. (e.g. entering “slash” filters out everything but “” and “” etc.)

    Also, I think the drastic theme-wide change for private mode is a better idea than a location bar only change, since you’re already changing the meaning of the bar in other cases.

  3. Regarding the location bar: (I’m posting here because the discussion seems out of sync with bug 366797).

    More visual emphasis is needed for the domain name. In the mockup, it communicates, these words are different; it should communicate unambiguously, these words are more important than the others.

    I tested it with the Locationbar2 addon, an end user and this URI:

    I started with FF2 behavior and incrementally added emphasis to the domain name.

    I asked, ‘whose website are you on?”. She answered ‘Sport Illustrated’ until was red and bold.

    She noticed that was different, but she didn’t know it was more important than sportsillustrated (which comes first).

  4. It seems to me that the most popular use of “Private Browsing” will be for teenagers not wanting their parents to see their history/cache :P

  5. Could we block microformats?

  6. You should make the all-in-one gestures plugin a standard feature. Much more useful to browsers than many of these functions. All-in-one alone probably doubles the speed I can browse the internet in, than when using internet explorer.

  7. When is Firefox finally going to have hot switching for themes? That’s the one thing that Firefox really needs to incorporate. It’s a pain to have to restart Firefox anytime you change your theme.

  8. How bout turning the browser into a TV substitute…one part regular browser other part Joost. Why have 2 programs…..ok 8 years away from now maybe?

  9. Could we see quality rendering of smaller text sizes in version three? If you compare Safari with Firefox on small sizes of Helvetica you can see a crunchy version of the text, Safari seems to render any type of measurement (ems, pixles, pt) perfectly, firefox is the nightmare of all designers putting content on the web when it comes to rendering of sans-serif type. As an addition to this, are we going to see CS3 standards employed in this browser. Please, yes yes, thank you.

  10. Just wondering if anything was mentioned about CSS rendering? It’s not a big deal, but I know that scroll bar color changing is something that web designers like myself, would like to see with firefox. Is that something that is possible? IE7 is able to, but I Love firefox way better, and I just deal with it, so it would just be nice I guess.

  11. No it’s not inconvenient to restart when changing themes. What have you ever lost? Stop being an asshat? Thanks.

  12. I just want to be able to save a web page as a single archive. thats the only thing I miss about IE

  13. I agree with Rod in comment #2. The theme needs to change. Perhaps the color of the browser changes to a light yellow?

    Or, perhaps a bar appear below the bookmarks bar. If I recall correctly, when sometimes when I get a blocked popup window, or am trying to install a plugin, a bar appears below the bookmarks toolbar. Perhaps when visiting a secure page, a yellow bar with padlock and explanation could appear below the toolbar. This is a much better visual cue than the yellow address bar.

    I have one more suggestion. I do a lot of research with my browser and have many tabs open. It would be beneficial to be able to color code the tabs or to somehow group the tags and identify the tabs as part of that group (icon, color, additional label above the tabs perhaps).

  14. I’m going to miss icons from the location bar. I use them to be reminded of which site I’m at. Atleast they will still be placed in tabs right?

  15. While I’m sure that favicons will remain in the tabs – because not showing them at all would be a massive step backwards, I still think that removing them from the address bar is also a retrograde move. Maybe the people at Mozilla don’t take subtle visual cues from address bar favicons but I do, and I’m sure there are others.

    In my opinion Mozilla is in real danger of turning into a solution looking for a problem. Because you have a development team you have to fiddle, even where there is no need, and because you are geeks you feel compelled to keep changing things for the sake of your idea of ‘progress’. You’ve lost sight – or never had it in the first place – that most ordinary people just want something that works, something that doesn’t keep changing the way it works every few months, and something that doesn’t turn into ever more complicated bloatware.

    Nevertheless, there are some potentially good ideas in here – such as the malware and microformat detection, but changing fundamental aspects of the address bar which have worked that way for over ten years in every other browser because a small group of geeks at Mozilla want to play around shows how Firefox is beginning to lose its way.

    Mozilla needs a Dell Idea Storm type site to better democratise these design decisions. It would still be geek-focused and under-represent average users, but it strikes me as better than the way things are done now, with too much change for its own sake.

  16. Staying one step ahead of the competition I see :)

    Keep up the good work guys

  17. I just hope that “useful” and not “minimal” does not mean that FF will become victim to browser bloat … I want a browser, not a Swiss Army Knife.

  18. I agree with “rod” in comment 2 that there really needs to be a search feature for the password manager. We need to be able to search by domain and/or username. Currently the best you can do is sort and scroll to the approximate location. That really sucks with the domain because sometimes it is under an https and sometimes http and sometimes with/without the www.

  19. You’re on a site which probably has its name or logo clearly displayed, not to mention the address in the address bar, but you’re relying on a little 10×10 pixel icon to tell you what site you’re on? Are you serious?

  20. I just want it to be less bloated. i’m using just 3 extensions and it took up to 70 – 80k mb usage.

  21. Looks so much like Ie 7 in terms of simplistity…

  22. Kitten – I suppose you remove all the icons from Windows and just read the descriptions then? :-)

    Nobody’s relying on these icons to tell them what site their on – don’t be deliberately ridiculous just to try and mock other people. They are complimentary though, and this is what visual interfaces are about – they have a graphic component.

    Don’t be a technology facist demanding that everyone should work the way you do. Firefox is trying to change a long established convention. Don’t ridicule those with different views.

  23. I say one feature from 2.0 that should be removed is making alt-s bring up the history. That is useless and there are millions of websites that use alt-s to submit a form (vbulletin forums for instance). Sure there is a fix for this but why is it even an issue?

  24. Hey – Firefox IdeaStorm is a great idea!

  25. In (main menu) > view
    why there’s 3 bar menus?
    Why not unify all tool bars in 1 or 2 menus?

    view > tool bars > navigation, bookmarks, state

    view > lateral bars > bookmarks*, history**

    *There’s 2 bookmarks bars (one horizontal and the other lateral), but the lateral can be moved to:

    bookmarks > … , show in lateral bar

    ** the ctrl+H is in 2 places (view and history), why not delete the “view” copy (in this way there will be just 1 toolbar menu)?

    Why there cann’t be 2 lateral menus (so that “history” and “bookmarks” can be used at the same time)? Since (I assume) that “places” is for integration why not make a “recently visited” folder in bookmarks (merge “history” and “bookmarks” in places)? Why name it places and not websites?

    And finally: why there’s a “toolbar” folder in “bookmarks”? Why not treat all “bookmarks” (places? websites?) as the bookmarks toolbar?

  26. “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.”

    It’s a pity if something that I prefer easy to read has to suffer because there is no better solution available. Also, sad to hear that the favicon will be dropped from the address bar. I liked it there, it’s easy for drag and drop bookmarking.

    Again I think it’s a design flaw if it’s removed because users can mistake it for a “secure connection” marker. I wonder if this really has been asked or that people are just guessing this because it has been seen in the wild. I am very afraid that most people that get tricked by phishing have hardly any idea about https and some lock icon.

  27. One thing I’d really like to see as a Firefox user is the ability to choose which tabs are recreated when you recover from a crash using ‘Session Restore’. For example, say I have 5 tabs open and one of them starts downloading a java applet or a mis-firing flash script etc and crashes FF, I’d like to be able to restore all of my other 4 tabs but not the one that went haywire when I do a Session Restore.

  28. Re: #13 by Knubie, a yellow bar appearing for secure sites would generate more annoyance than the odd yellow bar for popups. I’d like to see these annoying intrusions removed altogether and just have different colouring of the location bar (or at least an option to scale back the intrusions for advanced users).

    Re: #15 by Mike, I agree with you. The browser is, by and large, already quite perfect and this tinkering at the edges is only going to alienate people. There’s only so much you can do to protect idiots without making life difficult for intelligent people. How about a separate mode for scoobs to warn them about everything and another mode for normal people that is more subtle?

  29. WOW! firefox is getting better day by day. Let’s hope that it doesn’t freeze anymore.


  30. I have nothing to say, except for that I can’t wait.
    You’re awsome.

  31. I think changing the color of the location bar in Private Browsing mode is a great idea. That’ll keep all the pubescent kids happy. I’m not really sold on the changes to the location bar. There’s probably a better more visually pleasing way to show this.

  32. rad… can’t wait.

  33. Jonas Smithson

    Can we please bring the Mac version of Firefox closer in quality to the Windows version? And I’m not talking about the appearance — that’s a trivial red herring. I’m talking about *function*. Try viewing 12px Georgia in Mac Firefox — it looks awful, so tight the type is “crashing” and hard to read. The same type looks fine in Safari and in Windows Firefox. (13px Georgia looks fine in Mac Firefox, strangely enough). Also the bookmarks are clunky on the Mac compared to Windows, and numerous other features aren’t at parity either. Also Firefox takes *forever* to launch on the Mac.

  34. AnonymousCoward

    A suggestions that I’d really like to see is some way to customize the keyboard shortcuts that Firefox uses. I’d really like to be able to configure them myself – leave the defaults as they are and hide it in some “advanced options” menu or whatever, perhaps, but let everyone customize it as they prefer. Settings a person choses themselves are easier to use and remember than a default list, in my opinion.


  35. I’d like to see Firefox using less system resources while running. It uses nearly 256mb on a consistant basis and I can’t find any way to reduce that rumber.

  36. Make flashgot an integral part of Firefox.
    ’nuff said.

  37. Time to make the bookmark file into a XML file too instead of that crappy old format Firefox is using now. I have no idea why the developers havent done this by now. XBEL should be standard.

  38. First: I can’t wait!

    Second: A great addition to the password manager would be to allow auto-login. In the box that asks if I want to save my password there could be a checkbox for “Sign me in automatically next time”.

  39. WTB a working CSS implementation.

  40. I think the RSS detection in FF2.0 is a great improvement. but firefox should not overwrite the xsl/css style if it has one. in these cases firefox should just show some small yellow bar at the top, which informs the user about the RSS. for RSS without their own style the firefox specific RSS style is great, so that the users dont just see some cryptic XML.

  41. Could you please invest some muscle in getting Adobe to fix Flash? The only way I can browse the internet without my processor dying is with FlashBlock, which seems thoroughly stupid to me. You are in a position to have influence now, please use it for good.

  42. All I want is smarter memory usage. Firefox eats way too much RAM. Anyway, this has been said many times, so if you guys can do it sweet – otherwise, w/e looking forward to the next version.

  43. I really wish firefox did look like your mockup in OS X

  44. I guess it will be great! Can’t wait to be released.

  45. I like these ideas. But about the bloat that is so much discussed recently. Have you considered making few of these changes available as extensions but have them installed by default? Computer illiterate will have the catchy features enabled by default and power users can disable/remove them without the loss of performance. Private browsing is a good candidate to be re-done like this. But for example the address bar highlighting is logical to be kept in place.

  46. White text on a dark background isn’t clear enough so I hope you will implement something else. Alternatively I hope this will be customizable.

  47. Wow this looks hot. I can tell you now that in your initial release you’re going to hear skeptics says firefox is becoming bloated, or there adding everything and the kitchen sink. The truth of the matter is that you guys are doing an amazing job. I’m in the PC tech business and there are alot of people that don’t know to look for the lock, before they give out sensitive information online. And mal-ware makers are targeting the casual browser more more, so any minor changes you can make to firefox that will make the average user more aware of what there downloading is a big help.

  48. I cannot imagine a world without Mozilla Firefox. Love you, Firefox developers!

  49. As a mac user I would say better OSX performance / integration would be a big plus. I’m using the optimized version and it still doggy.

    As someone who working in IT, it would be great to have some tools to deliver enterprise-wide updates to firefox from a centralized location.
    Although with capability may enable rouge update servers, if it done right, it would save on bandwith and downtime for IT.

  50. Firefox is of track. Get back to the roots with less bloat.

  51. I’d like a Firefox “UserName”, whereby I could log in using a foreign computer, and have all my toolbars, bookmarks, et al change to my personal profile. This would also be useful for reboots.

    I wouldn’t expect themes and extensions to work this way, but everything else would be great.

  52. I personally would like to see a multi-core aware version of FF. FF 2 currently pegs one of my cores on my core duo, and it really bothers me.

  53. Looking forward to see the progress on Firefox3.
    Keep up the good work!

  54. You need to be more careful with your declaration that a UI feature must be “universally” used before it can be included. By that definition, no accessibility features would ever be included (not that Firefox has that many – and let’s be honest, it doesn’t) because by definition almost nobody would use them. But for those people, the features make the difference between using Firefox and not using Firefox.

    “Universal” is a loaded and powerful word. Use with caution.

  55. Sorry if this has been addressed in the 50something comments above me, but “We are considering removing the favicon from the location bar”… do you mean remove and put it elsewhere or remove for good? If the latter, that would kill the favicon experience. Unless perhaps they remain in tab headings.

    Many people I know have so many tabs open that they only rely upon favicons for navigation.

  56. ummmm…i have to say there’s some great ideas here. but i have a few thoughts.
    – removing favicon seems stupid. i always use it to bookmark, and really, if u see a lock favicon and think it means secure connection then you are a bit thick. icons like that always appear on the other side of the location bar and its always smarter to look for the ‘s’ after ‘http’. but if u really want, it could be a simple option (favicon could be disabled by user preference).
    – also, all these ideas about having aspects of the UI change because of things like private browsing is a good idea, but how would this work with themes. the colours could clash and look horrible. this would either have to be customised, or better yet, themes could include information about how to change in different modes. this would allow this idea to intergrate better and not look ugly to certain people….

  57. kde.firefox.user

    When we, linux (and KDE) users, are going to see native widgets, a installer that creates icons and menu items, Flash transparency, etc?

    Let me answer my own question: in the day that Firefox developers start to make money from Linux they will make their product fully compatible.


  58. Re: Dwindle #51

    Umm, we used to have that back in NN4. It was called roaming. For some reason the Mozilla architects saw fit to rip it out and have yet to bring it back, despite considerable outcry (see bugzilla) and significant development effort (Beonex).

  59. I agree with #45 (Josef Sábl) – make the fancy not-totally-necessary features into extensions. That way they’re there for those that want, can be removed by those that don’t and you have more license to do stuff without being accused of bloat. (I’m imagining this as being a bunch of tick-boxes in the installation process, like DOM Inspector and the crash report thing are now)

    One thing I’d like in such a form would be built in support for bit-torrent downloads as part of the regular download manager.

  60. Awesome, this is cool. I hope we can have better password manager.

  61. Leave the favicon alone, just because you made the UI mistake of putting the padlock into the location bar in the first place doesn’t mean you should stand by that mistake and lose the favicon.

    You were wrong, admit it and follow the examples of better designed browsers like Safari

  62. I honestly have to agree on what others have said about some group of ultranerds deciding to throw the baby out with the bathwater just because of some overperfectionist need to keep changing stuff. something good can be ruined if you try to make it “too perfect”, sometimes things just have to be “finished”

    and though i’m not suggesting you halt development on everything i have EXTREME DISCONTENT for the idea of taking the favicon off the address bar, and even more dislike for the notion of making the text different colors etc..

    (does anybody remember the kiss principal?)

    I also am concearned aboout browser bloat, i think making some features into preinstalled extensions is a good idea.

    Firefox is ALLREADY an extreme memory hog and despite explanations of multi page caching, etc, you all know it still has unplanned memory leaks

    i especially like the private browsing, and the malitious site blocking, i also agree with suggestions of searchable passwords and optional autologin

    and lastly why the hell IS the comment box all the way down here in the middle of the page anyway?? ..someone must have been entirely daft or the css is screwed like it has been on for the last millenia

    i’m sorry if i seem militant i just love firefox and none of us out here in userland want to see anything unsavory happen to it, i’m sure you understand.

  63. The crashing is killin’ me! OSX — could be a conflict with Apple’s Aperture? It’s the one computer problem that is consistent — firefox crashing. Would love for the stability that actually drove me TO Firefox in the first place…

  64. +1 plz don’t remove favicons from the address bar. Novice users appreciate the visual hint.

  65. I think the download manager should have the ability to resume downloads if FireFox is closed for some reason.

  66. David Passmore

    As many here have stated, memory usage needs to be fixed with Firefox.

    I am utterly committed to using Firefox, but I am really tiring of fighting the memory bloat problem. This needs to become the PRIMARY ISSUE for FF developers.

    I don’t find back/forward functionality to be very useful at all – certainly not at the expense of such memory bloat. If indeed this “feature” is at the heart of the bloat, it should be something that you can easily, definitively DISABLE.

    PLEASE fix this.

  67. Can’t wait to change all this back with userContent rules!

  68. I’d really love to see the smooth text feature that IE has… When you open up IE and compare it to Firefox, it always seems like Firefox’s text is much more jaggy… It’s not a big thing, but it would be a lot nicer on the eyes.

    As always, great work on (what I consider is) the best web browser out there!

  69. It’s OK adding a load of new facilities,- if they are actually worthwhile and people use them. I have to say I do use most of the features in FF. Apparently small changes, like tabbed browsing was, can revolutionise web access.

    What I would really like is to sort out the options to open as a full screen webpage, rather than a crowded, and now very inelegant, popup window. It would give easier access to a lot more options.

    Being able to completely switch off stuff like java, active x, scripts, Etc. when on dodgy websites you aren’t sure of could be included. If a page can’t run EvilJavaDownloaderX then it isn’t really a problem, even if it tries to exploit a known bug. building in a cache eraser/history cleaner would mean the problem is permanently dealt with.

    It could also be stored on the bookmarks toolbar giving easy access.

  70. I only care about one thing: For any features you add, there is the ability to disable them. That’s all.

    I don’t care if you make the browser squeak and jiggle whenever a new tab opens – just as long as I can turn the squeak and jiggle off.

    I don’t need the browser to change colors. I don’t need it to grey out the address aside from the main domain name. I don’t need bookmark tags or smart folders. I like dumb folders.


    – Hamst3r

  71. @Knubie: try the ChromaTabs addon.

  72. What is the significance of Offline Web Applications? I noticed the Google Gears toolkit which seems to be the server-side component for this feature, but how will it actually work? I don’t get it.

  73. Guys, please remember that Firefox always has been, and always will be, Open Source software. The whole point is that if you don’t like it, or it crashes, has features you don’t like, or for whatever niggling reason, you can change the code.

    It’s really not as hard as you think, and it’s a principle behind Open Source stuff.

    Want to keep the Favicon? Change a couple of lines of code, and it stays. Even easier, you could write a addon for Firefox. You can do whatever you want with this software!

  74. No favicons? Instant fail.

  75. I LOVE Firefox, and I like those improvements you’re planning.

    Anything you can do to improve managing bookmarks would be much appreciated. I hate trying to remember where I filed a bookmark – especially an infrequently used one. The only way that any browser today has to search for them is by whatever category you decide to put them in. If we could do additional searches by tags, alphabetically (and with wildcards) and even by date created (don’t laugh, I use “time of the year” as a means to recall a lot of things) that would be a HUGE leg up on the competition.

    I would hate to see the favicon go altogether, but if it stays in the tabs and in the bookmarks, that’ll be good enough for me. Yes, I really do rely on them to a) quickly find the tab or site that I want, and b)to remind me about what all I may be in the middle of whenever I start straying from the purpose of what I started searching the web for.

    As for all the comments about keeping the bloat out, I must say that t seems to me what you’re trying to do is offer a better, safer browser for EVERYONE, and especially the less sophisticated users out there, so that they get encouraged to use Firefox. The more savvy users can usually figure out a way to turn annoying features off, or to trick out our Firefox with only those features we want.

    I’d like to add my voice to the chorus about making the Mac version of Firefox work more consistently like the Windows version. My primary machine is a PC, but it’s annoying to get on my Mac and have to try to remember the commands that work differently. However, I understand that we’re probably a very small subset of Firefox users, and really, this is just a minor nuisance for me, and nothing that prevents me from using Firefox on my Mac.

    Keep up the good work, guys (and gals, I’m sure). I’m really pleased to see that you’re not resting on your laurels, and are forging ahead with adapting Firefox to the ever changing World Wide Web.

  76. rod, I agree :a smarter password manager with partial name matching etc is a must. The current one is the one thing that annoys me about Firefox.

  77. Make it so you can copy username/password combos in the “show passwords” window, after unlocking them with the master password. There’s no way to copy/paste right now.

  78. How could you guys be considering eliminating favicons? Favicons have become an important part of browser usability.

  79. I believe keeping the Favicon is more helpful than to highlight the domain. It easier to glance than to read the whole name. Possibly apply both of the features? The private browsing feature seems like more of a waste than could be helpful. Clearing History and such isn’t all that hard. A timer or a “system restore point” might be more helpful feature. That way, one could possibly delete history up to a more specific point. Also, doesn’t the Malware Feature mean that we’re going to need more frequent updates, or will it do it in the background? The bloat is an issue too. I’ve personally never experienced a problem with memory leakage but I hope that Firefox 3 is more robust.

  80. “I’d like to add my voice to the chorus about making the Mac version of Firefox work more consistently like the Windows version. My primary machine is a PC, but it’s annoying to get on my Mac and have to try to remember the commands that work differently.”

    Why should our operating system conform to the keys and practices of yours?

  81. Another suggestion on the Password Manager. If the API can be made pluggable so that those of us who use encrypted managers like KeePass ( can hope for a extension to keep the information in an unified location — that would be a bonus (y).


  82. The first mock-up image shows “Stop” and “Reload” buttons. Inactive.

    Their usability is mutually exclusive. Stop button is inactive when page loads and there’s no point to click to “Reload” button while user tries to access somewhere.

    Space is at premium so why not merge them. There’s already a very popular extension Stop-or-reload button.

  83. For the location bar issue,
    Instead of changing text colors, why not just underline the “important part”? That intuitively implies more importance, but won’t distract from those who like the standard address format.

  84. “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.”

    I actually like to be able to clearly see the end of the URI… it’s the reason I’ve got the location bar on its own line. And different colours in there would be too distracting. I think this one should be made into an option, rather than forced on everyone.

    As for favicons, I like them. A favicon is like a finishing touch to a site’s look and feel, which is why I’m taking so long deciding what mine should be. Imagine Gmail without that little red envelope on the location bar. Plus, my Bookmarks Toolbar is basically made up of textless favicons, so I can get more of my frequently-used sites on there. The favicon is a big part of site identity.

    Have all these things as options, that way non-novices don’t have to suffer things popping up, asking stupid questions and changing colour all over the place (coughcoughVistacoughcough).

    Tagging, private browsing, smart searches… blimey, whatever happened to keeping the browser streamlined? I am by no means a tech person, just a fairly regular internet user, and I don’t want all this extra stuff, and I shouldn’t be expected to “code it myself” to fix something that was never broken in the first place. I’m 20 years old, I’ve got a whole university course to deal with without having to start learning programming when I don’t want to be a programmer!

    Release them as “official add-ons” or something, but please don’t put them in as defaults!

    A fix for the freezing and phenomenal jumps in memory use would be fantastic, too!

  85. What I would like to see is firefox that doesn’t take 200MB of ram, is small, customizable, and FAST. How about a fork? maybe a slim version like with ccleaner? do we really have to switch to another unknown browser (until it gets noticed and grows)?

  86. I love the ability to tag bookmarks. That’s the one thing the provided us that was missing in firefox.

  87. Looks promising. Hope Firefox can keep head of the game. Just need more none technical users and businesses to use the browser, I do my best without trying to upset them when switching over from IE.

  88. How about an ability to add pop-up windows that get past the filter to the list of blocked pop-up windows?

  89. Any chance of ever getting Downloadable Fonts support back in Firefox? It’s in the CSS3 spec.

  90. Congratulations !!!
    We’re waiting “The 3”
    I hope next versions you develop and improve commands by Mouse Gestures…

  91. Joseph Dobzynski

    For Content Handling, it would be nice to choose the various systems for the various file formats, and have common items built-in to Firefox.

    MP3/Movies – iTunes
    Pictures – Picasa
    Docs – DocVault

  92. I always have many tabs (10+) open. I found that I was switching to some of tabs, like GMail, from time to time. In cases, I have to click tabs’ drop-down button on the upper right corner, and select them from the pop-up menu.

    If possible, I would like to manage a list of my favorite tabs and pin them on the left of tab bar if they are open.

  93. Add a “send page” feature, not just “send link” only.

  94. What about saving sessions? Opera browser allows you to save particular sessions and they are stored so you can access them even when not connected to the internet.

  95. About CSS, are you going to make that scroll bar color changing ?
    I’m a Web designers and I would like to see this option with Firefox.
    I’m tired to make it something nice under IE and it’s look like crap under Firefox

  96. For all the “oh noes .. !” — I’m sure you’ll still be able to fiddle URL highlighting and favicon placing etc. via about:config

  97. >> About CSS, are you going to make
    >> that scroll bar color changing ?
    >> I’m a Web designers and I would
    >> like to see this option with
    >> Firefox.

    Nooo please noooo! Scrollbars are part of the UI and should therefore look as everywhre else and not hidden by having the same color as the page background.

    think before design!

  98. jeremiah johnson

    Here are some suggestions I have, after reading the thread.

    Don’t include any plugins by default that you don’t already include in 2.0. Absolutely DO NOT include mouse gestures by default – there are lots of us that absolutely HATE mouse gestures.

    I like the removal of the URL bar favicon. Never assume a user is capable enough to avoid shooting themselves by default. If a user wishes to see the favicon in the URL bar, they can visit about:config. Leave a simple page icon in its place for d-n-d operations.

    I looove the idea of the domain name highlighting within the URL bar. Please move forward on that.

    Do not let a web page modify browser chrome. Colored scrollbars are a big no-no when it comes to usability.


    Private Browsing is wonderful option.
    Malware Detection is so required ability but I think that it will not derscribe the site exactly which one is malware or not.

  100. Michael Crumpton

    What I really want is vertical tabs on the side, like the bookmark and history sidebars. That way you can actually read the whole tab name and you can fit 30+ tabs easily. With widescreen monitors becoming the standard, vertical space is more precious than horizontal.

  101. I’d really like to see Aero glass in the windows version, a la IE7.

    Don’t get rid of the favicons. That’s how we identify tabs!

  102. WOW,i’m impressed,why can’t Microsoft people can think stuff like that?All they can do is copy good things

  103. Very excited about the forecoming FF 3.0 ! BUT with so many suggestions and enhancements voiced out here, I really hope FF 3.0 doesn’t become 1 BIG and FAT elephant.
    My WISH LIST for FF 3.o is very simple :
    1) It must be slim and nimble like FF ver 1.5 or Opera
    2) Not a memory or system resources hog.
    3) More secured than Opera and agreed by
    3) Integrated sessions manager.
    4) Retain favicons
    5) Create new WebMail like Opera has Opera Mail.
    6) Test, red-flag and ban all add-ons and extensions that are causing memory leak/hog or instability to FF.
    Last but not least, maintain the PASSION and DESIRE to make FF into the BEST browser in the world.
    C H E E R S !

  104. FF3 should allow several connection settings (proxies, etc.), one per each connection defined in the computer. Then, whether a user is connected using the default connection, VPN, wireless, or whatever, he would not have to change the network settings.

  105. Hey Alex, how about Minefield Project?

  106. Firefox 3 looks great!
    Two things: I’ve had a consistent problem, since FF 1.5, with pages continuing to scroll after I stop pushing the down arrow or key. When I load FF with no extensions, the problem goes away, but I like my extensions! (AdblockPlus, NoScript, Greasemonkey, Bugmenot, ChromEditPlus, DownThemAll, FireFtp, Firebug, NoSquint, TabX, WebDeveloper) NoScript is the problem (I think!), so I live with the goddamn scrolling problem, but it would be nice if that could be fixed so that it worked like it did in the Good Old Days.

    2nd thing: I have a huge, hierarchical bookmark set. I’d love to have a setting that says, “bookmarks not visited in 2 years (or whatever) are deleted.” It’s too much trouble to go through manually, and so it just keeps on growing.

    Thanks for one of the world’s best and most awesome programs! I’ve been using Firefox since it was Firebird v.0.something.

  107. I too hate (HATE) mouse gestures, as well as smooth scrolling, autoscrolling, and anything similar. It’d be great if those were *not* the default. With some of that stuff, it’s a nontrivial trip to about:config to get it turned off.

  108. 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. – I believe too. Thanks for interesting article.

  109. Two things I would like add/fixed, both related to running Firefox behind a proxy server…
    1. I would like the equivalent of IEs “Bypass proxy server for local addresses” functionality added. That way I wouldn’t have to list every internal address in the ‘No proxy for’ box in the connection settings.
    2. The add-on’s manager doesn’t ask for the proxy logon when a new add-on is discovered at Firefox startup. I have to cancel the add-on dialog, goto a site that triggers proxy logon and then update the add-on.

  110. Would be awesome. But Vista screenshots? Ewwww.

  111. Really nice! I’m looking forward to the hole thing. :) /J

  112. Some important features I would like to see:
    1.)Choice, whether use the Firefox cookies.txt for cookies or the IE one.
    It is annoying, when using both browsers, cookies set in one are not recognised in the other.
    2.) A choice for the folder of the cookies, cache and favourites.

  113. Hi, Please leave the favicon
    Also please fix the entry fields (location bar, search field) becoming invisible now you are playing with the text in those fields anyway
    I would also love to have a third button when restoring, to kill a misbehaving tab.
    I really like FF, but sometimes I fail to understand some decisions like the [X] on each tab and the change of accesskey functionality.

  114. Well, to be honest, there are a few things that should be inquiried during installation, such as bookmark tagging.

    I don’t like the idea of removing the favicon, and I’m sure a better solution will come up. Maybe reuse the yellow-drop down to notify the user of the site being secure rather than the address bar. These things really shouldn’t have anything to do with the address bar.

    One thing that I find frustrating are pop ups blocked from flash that are being directed to video sites like YouTube. There is no way to permit a destination to pop up every time, but only the domain that you are on (which could just be littered with ads).

    And why am I still getting popups anyway? Also, people are starting to become frustrated with popups within the page rendering itself. This can be good (like AJAX in facebook), or bad (like the mouse-hover over words ads).

    I’m also curious as to what might be going on with the download manager. It’s a bit annoying to have it in a separate window. I believe there’s actually an add-on that puts a bar across the bottom of the screen with downloads, and for the most part I found it much more useful.

    Also, a torrent add-on that would integrate with the download manager would be simply awesome. Kudos to the guy that threw that out.

  115. The latest update of Firefox 2.0 + is quite problematic. I hope the release of Firefox 3.0 would be sooner than the speculated date.

  116. I’d like to see, if not done already, a feature to allow people to remove certains sites from the history.

    I would also like to see some sort of order in the history panel, for example, a #1 / #2 etc. to show which sites i went on first in the history panel, if you get me..

  117. Looks very promising.

    Any more details on the release date?

  118. can’t wait – looks like some good eye candy mixed with good feature sets.

  119. Holy crap that’s some sexy Firefox design :)

  120. Looking forward to the new release.
    Please consider retaining the fav icon.

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  122. Even though features are probably locked down for release: On the “page bookmarked” dropdown after clicking the favicon, then, after clicking “organise”, it may be worth looking at the flow of the input fields with the “Remove” button at the bottom. In my experience, people aren’t really familiar with auto-submitting forms/input fields, they are more accustomed to hitting an “OK” button at the bottom. Its more of an assurance that the data has been inputted and saved when you have to confirm it yourself. This idea does sort of go against the idea of keeping it simple and quick with this particular dropdown, but i can just see this causing a stumble for anyone thats not strong with computers (or, people used to typical windows with the Fill-out-form-click-ok-and-youre-done sort of idea in their heads.)

  123. All i’m looking for, either in a extension, or as a permanent feature, is the incorporation of the same feature as the “Fit to Width” option in OPERA. That’s why I’m using Opera waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than FF2.0. So, please build this feature into the next FF!!


  124. I love all this stuff you’re putting into FF3, bujt in the end I want just one thing, and one thing only:
    Will FF3 be 100% CSS2.1 compliant? (And I really mean 100%!)

  125. Two points where IE is superior to Firefox:

    1. Tabbing. Firefox places every new tab furthest to the right by default, whereas IE places the new tab next to the tab in which was opened.

    2. Text display. IE renders it much more smoothly.

  126. Download manager should have the ability to resume downloads if FireFox is closed for some reason.
    This is important for people with
    slow lines and noisy lines.

  127. ewww what an awful gui. talk about taking a step backwards ! looks like i will be staying with 1.5 for some time to come

  128. Remember that “viral” email doing the rounds a while back: you clicked on it, and a loud voice shouted ‘Hey, I’m watching porn over here!!!!” and then the screen flashed the word ‘Watching Porn’ (or something like that…). The idea was to cause instant embarrasment in a place shared with other people.

    Well, changing the appearance of a browser when in ‘Private Mode’, is somewhat akin to that.

    There’s a minor annoyance to having to check you’re in private mode, but that’s much better than losing a major aspect of privacy…’local privacy’.

    I may want to browse in my shared house, and leave no trace, AND not want someone who walks past and says ‘hey Ant, what’ya looking at?!?’ think it’s got to be something private, because my browser’s turned yellow!

    Safari has it right. I actually thought at first the Safari team had forgotten to add some kind of visual cue to remind you that you were in private mode…but as with a lot of what Apple does, there’s a lot of thought in NOT doing stuff, as well as doing stuff.

  129. Mozilla is king of the king’s browser now.Opera have been made browser for cell phone, that’s very useful.How about Mozilla Firefox Phone???I’m waiting for that…

  130. I’m just a newbie and love Firefox BUT, like IE, is there anyway of regaining the RAM that’s not being used? My 39k program has built up to over 150k in ram over time. I then restart Firefox and start over again. May not be a serious problem, but wouldn’t it help processing time of the program?
    Just a thought.
    No reply necessary, just passing along another gem.

  131. Hey Now Alex,
    Great post very interesting content.
    Thx 4 the info,

  132. Idea: “Smart Tab Location”
    How about a “smart tab location” option which will assign tab placement based on the tree structure that represents your browsing. For example, I and I believe many others browse in a fashion in which we perform roughtly a depth-first traversal of interesting content – open tabs for interesting links in the current page, then visit the first link and recursively perform the same operation. However, this ultimately results in child links getting stacked at the very end of the tab list and inevitably forces you to scroll all the way to the right to hunt for those child links. An alternative would be to position tabs so they follow the parent which launched them (inserted between the parent, and the parent’s next sibling). That way children can be recursively descended in order without having to scan back and forth and back and forth in the tab list. You can just plow through linearly continually opening tabs, reading content and closing them without performing a mental elevator algorithm to read the content in the order you wish.

  133. Nobody tells what they really want because add-ons exist.
    Vertical tabs, open links in tabs are my essentials

  134. I recently chaned to Windows Vista (Vista) HP
    and hopefully all needed hardware and software will function properly.
    Prior to Vista I used Firefox and hope that Firefox 3 when launched to me the public I will install it.
    Articles and your readers comments such as yours helps us non IT professionals.

  135. I’d hate to see the favicon removed from the location bar. It’s how I bookmark 95% of the time (drag and drop), and I just generally like it there because it always has been.

    The “Security Lock” shows up on the right side of the location bar with a yellow background when the site’s security is valid. You’d have to be a total n00b (excuse the slang) to fall for something like that.

    At least give us the option to display a favicon if we want to. I might actually choose to stick with FX2 if this happens.

  136. Parag Gadkari

    Although, it is a nice feature to block websites based on google’s ratings but IMHO the ultimate users should have their say in deciding whether to launch the alleged web site. I didn’t see any option to launch the blocked site. It is as if Mozilla and ultimately Google is trying to control your online identity.

  137. Peter Gregory

    Please restore Favicons. I usually run FF with about 15 tabs for sites I frequently visit. Without Favicons, the tabs don’t fit on the page!

  138. The blog post doesn’t provide much on two things that show up in the goals list, and are longstanding weaknesses of Firefox: stability and printing. Is there actually significant improvement in these areas? Does it no longer crash all the time? Will it now print most pages properly, instead of placing different parts of a page on different pages when they should be together? Has the bug that makes it stick on landscape mode been finally fixed?

  139. Does this have version of Firefox have profiled browsing? Similar to the one Netscape used to have? Each user having their own personal space for bookmarks/passwords, etc will be a nice feature to see in FF3.

  140. my favicon is blue, godaddy and paypal is green, i have a rapidssl ssl, what does it take to make mine become green someone i know has a verisign ssl and they have blue too

  141. I agree with Comocho: FF needs the equivalent of IE’s ability to save web pages as a single file (mht). I want to be able to select & copy text from saved web pages, so image capture doesn’t do it. Also, on some sites FF’s option to save as “Web Page Complete” assigns a non-descriptive name such as a numerical string as the name of the page. It’s a bit annoying to have to exit FF & go into IE every time you want to save a page.

    And it would be nice to be able to put an Outlook Express button on the Navigation toolbar, to check e-mail.

  142. I would like to agree with post #68 by Josh McConnel on June 4th.

    He mentions how all in the text in Firefox appears jagged when compared to IE7 (IE7 appears to have some sort of “text smoothing” implementation).

    As a user of IE for the past 15 years, I switched over from IE because of the crashes and instabilty, and so far Firefox is a decent browser. But one thing about Firefox is the text looks ugly in comparrison and for me this is really distracting and jarring because the display of text is important – the world wide web mostly concerns lots of text and reading of that text, afterall.

    I am using a widescreen Samsung LCD SyncMAster 940mw screen with settings at max resolution 1440 X 900, and the text is jaggy.

    I realise Firefox is open source, but I simply don’t have the programming knowledge or skill to code this add-on myself, so i really hope we see a text smoothing feature or filter in future updates to make the words look lush and comfortable on the eyes.

    Thank you.

  143. I really need fit to width extension!!! or something that could do it for firefox 3 like opera!

  144. personally would like to see a multi-core aware version of FF. FF 2 currently pegs one of my cores on my core duo, and it really bothers me.

  145. It seems to me that the most popular use of “Private Browsing” will be for teenagers not wanting their parents to see their history/cache

  146. Thank you google,thank you firofox.
    I like this.

  147. I like the browser very much and it works also fine on a mac, but I think the location bar could be optimzed visually.

  148. WOW, amazing!, thank you so, SO much… the most usefull extension I’ve installed in a good while ^^

  149. ı dont like mozilla 3 series. the 2 series betten than 3.

  150. Nobody tells what they really want because add-ons exist.
    Vertical tabs, open links in tabs are my essentials

  151. >> Nooo please noooo! Scrollbars
    >> are part of the UI and should
    >> therefore look as everywhre else
    >> and not hidden by having the
    >> same color as the page
    >> background.

    >> think before design!

    When you have a block element that extends in the middle of the page it would be nice to be able to make it part of the design of that specific page, let’s say that you use mainly green on that page and when the element expands it creates a blue scroll bar that doesn’t fit with your original page.

    I would make any scroll bar customizable in the page, but not those on the left or bottom when the page is bigger than the screen, that should be UI.

  152. Note that every feature above has a link to a specific discussion thread on dev.apps.firefox, in case you want to comment where the rest Mozilla community is discussing each particular feature.

  153. Just wondering if anything was mentioned about CSS rendering? It’s not a big deal, but I know that scroll bar color changing is something that web designers like myself, would like to see with firefox. Is that something that is possible? IE7 is able to, but I Love firefox way better, and I just deal with it, so it would just be nice I guess.

    Private Browsing is wonderful option.
    Malware Detection is so required ability but I think that it will not derscribe the site exactly which one is malware or not.

  155. I hope that all of these features don’t cause the lean and mean Firefox wonder to become Microsoft like.The last thing we need is more bloated corporate junk.
    And as a side note be careful what SEO extensions you install, things like SEO quake can really slow your FOX down…!

  156. Has firefox become the #1 browser yet?I work in a dental office and it is what everyone here uses..not only in the office but at home.
    San Marcos Dentist

  157. Nobody tells what they really want because add-ons exist.
    Vertical tabs, open links in tabs are my essentials…

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