Five Years at Mozilla and Moving On

A month ago I crossed the five year milestone at Mozilla, and my first post on this blog was exactly five years to the day.  I’ve recently decided to move on from the corporation to try out design work in an entirely different space.

It’s been a tremendous honor working with all of you.  Every top tech company has people who are brilliant, but few have people who are so warm, so kind, and so incredibly passionate.

This blog chronicles all of my design work over the years.  I’ve recently posted a look at some of the crazier conceptual work we’ve done.  I’ve also posted a talk I gave at PARC on the eve of the Firefox 4 launch that reviews why Mozilla exists, our design philosophy, and a comprehensive look at some of the specific principles that have guided the design of Firefox 3 and Firefox 4.

Some highlights from the last five years:

Firefox 3:
-Interactive design of the awesome bar
-Designed the one click bookmarking interface
-Art direction for every visual resource in the application
-Created an iconic form
-Managed a refresh of the Firefox icon

Firefox 4:
-Visual and interactive design of Sync
-Design of a new notification system
-Design of a new command structure with the Firefox button, leveraging usage metrics

I’ve spent 1/6 of my life working on the design of Firefox.  For the past five years Mozilla has felt like home, and the people here have felt like family.

I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved.  It’s been an amazing adventure.


  1. Alex, you’re an amazing designer and I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for Mozilla and Firefox. Thank you for all your hard work and good luck.

  2. I think Firefox is the best looking browser and has been since day 1.
    I especially like:
    – the Firefox button. It is so much better than Opera’s that it is scary
    – tabs on top(and tab scrolling). Opera has them a few pixels from the top so big fail. Chrome has the right tabs but can’t deal with a lot of tabs.
    – options. Opera and Chrome make such a mess that I have to look through every option before I find the one I want.

    Love your work and can’t wait to so see what you will do next.

  3. Shame to see you go, hopefully someone else can step up and lead Mozilla’s designs into the future, big fan of your work which has served to modernize Firefox a great deal, best wishes with your future endeavors.

  4. Alex, your impact on Firefox and web browsers in general will live on for years to acme. I fondly remember first meeting you at CHI in Montreal, and phoning my then boss to say “hey, can I offer a guy a job?”

    Thanks for your relentless dedication and passion. You poured your heart and soul into our product and our community, and even when the designs didn’t make it into product, the thinking behind them had a strong effect on everyone.

    I know how hard it is to decide to try something new, and how important that is, too. I can’t wait to see what you transform next!

  5. Best of luck, Alex. I’ve been following your career with interest ever since those days back on West Campus when you crashed our Quake game. ;)

  6. Wow, I was shocked to hear that you are leaving us but happy that you will be able to spend more time with your family.

    You really will be sadly missed by all.

  7. You’ve done a couple of things. I’m so grateful for your fantastic work.

    I wish you the best for the future.

    Enyoy the time with your family

  8. I just want you to know that you’ve been a big inspiration for me since I started getting interested in the work of Mozilla. Your work is one of the reasons why I became interested in UX and front-end development, which is what I hope to study at university next year. Thanks a lot! :D

  9. Thanks for the firefox design – i like the “one click bookmark” box.

  10. Alex,

    It’s been an honor to work with you, and you’re certainly one of the top designers I have ever worked with. Firefox wouldn’t be Firefox without your immense contributions over the last five years.

    I’m sad that we don’t get to work together anymore, but also excited that you found something that you’re passionate about and I am a strong believer that a shake-up every 5-6 years is a good thing — whether that involves a new place to explore or just a new direction in the same context.

    I wish you all the best, and can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  11. You’ve had an amazing influence on the course of web browsers and the web. Thank you for making it so positive. Looking forward to where you bring those skills next.

  12. Thanks for sharing your talents, skills and visions.

    Best of luck on your next, and future ventures.

  13. Thanks for all your hard work, you’ve been an asset to Mozilla and have made it an awesome and enjoyable browser that I’ve enjoyed using on a daily basis. I’ll miss the hard work that you’ve put in and I wish you all the luck in the future. You’ll be impossible to replace. Good luck, if you’re half as awesome in your new job, they’ll have got you on the cheap.

  14. I wish you all the best ! Thank you for the great work done at Mozilla!

  15. Indeed, you’ve done a fantastic amount of incredibly great stuff, and I enjoyed the times we worked together and shared an office. I look forward to learning about what your next adventure is, and wish you all the joy possible from it!


  16. Also, please remember to call the Faabar by its proper name! ;-)

  17. Alex,

    I was always very impressed with your deep thinking around design. I can’t wait to see what you get up to next!



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  19. Good luck with your new adventures and thanks for your great designs for Firefox!

  20. Thanks for perfect job on Firefox UI and good luck in entirely different space.

    For now only clumsy part of UI (as I feel) it is download manager.

  21. You have been a key contributor in turning my favourite piece of software into one I actively dislike using.

    I am indifferent about your departure because I don’t believe it will stop the rot, but I sincerely hope your new employer is not in an area where I am actively involved.

  22. Damn …just as I found your blog and was commenting on past entries… …and you leave?!?….oi… I mean…wow… well, thanks for the fish^h^h^h^hfox and best of luck in your new endeavors…

    (aka. l.a. walsh)

  23. thanks for your wonderful work Alex, best wishes for your future

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