Labs Update – December 2008


December 2008 Edition

Concept Series

University of Michigan Design Jam
University of Michigan Design Jam
The University of Michigan’s School of Information held their third Design Jam as part of the Concept Series. This session took ideas generated at the two previous Design Jams and had students work together in small teams to develop and refine detailed mockups.
Campus Outreach
In early January we’ll be launching a Concept Series Design Challenge that will provide new opportunities for students to exercise and refine their skills in user interface and user experience design. As part of the Challenge, students will be invited to participate in a new tutoring and mentorship program that we’re developing to increase the effectiveness and scale of the Labs effort. More details on the Design Challenge will be posted soon, the first round will be focused on the question: “What would a windowless browser look like?”.

If your school is interested in participating, please contact us at

Concepts of the Month
From Tony Farndon, an experimental addon that takes Auto Dial (i.e. add-on to view most visited bookmarks rather than a blank page whenever you open a new tab) and mashes it up with a 3D parallax effect.

From Chris Heilmann, a concept to improve Web accessibility of videos by moving their controls out of the Flash object and on to the Web page using Greasemonkey scripts.


We’ve released a beta version of Personas this week that fully supports Firefox 3.x and includes a new directory of designs along with a revamped server architecture that’s been designed to scale to millions of users.

We’re also working toward a 1.0 release with new content and capabilities in January, and a plan for potential inclusion of a Personas-like feature in a future Firefox release.

We’ve released the third and final preview release of Snowl. It includes an updated “river of news” with many improvements suggested by Alex Faaborg and others.

It also supports sending Twitter updates in addition to receiving them via an interface built into the river and stream views. Just click on the “write a message” icon to expose it:

We’ve released a release candidate for the next major update to Ubiquity. This release features significantly improved performance and adds skinning support.

We’ve released a release candidate for the next major update to Weave that includes significantly improved performance and bookmarks & history support for the new 0.3 server architecture.

We’re also introducing preliminary support for Fennec based upon┬áJono DiCarlo’s detailed proposal.

Based upon the success of the Prism experiment, we’re now working on a plan to uplift a Prism-like feature into a future version of Firefox. You can follow the early specification work on the Mozilla Wiki.

The Prism experiment and platform itself will continue in its exploration independent of this effort. If you’re new to the concept of site-specific browsers, be sure to check out the Prism for Firefox add-on.

3 responses

  1. Natanael L wrote on :

    I still want a cross-Mozilla-app communication platform so that, as an example, Ubiquity in Firefox could control and fetch data from both Songbird and Thunderbird, and vice versa.

    And if Weave could be integrated to all Mozilla apps (using the same account, and including Prism) then it would be even better!

    Any comments?

  2. Jim wrote on :

    Ubiquity answers a very vital question and solves a critical problem for the average not so tech savy web surfer. The web and it’s information is not so easily obtained for those users. Neither are features within the browser. Ubiquity helps these users find things with very simple ways via text input. However it does have one vital issue in itself that stems from the very problem it’s trying to solve. How do we get users who know absolutely nothing about firefox ubiquity or even features to know about ubiquity or even how to use it. Solve that problem and you’ll very likly change the entire way people use the net.

  3. GeekShadow wrote on :

    That’s so cool to see all this projects evolve in a good way. I’m wondering in what way they could be usefull for Songbird platform…