Introducing the Design Challenge: Summer 09 – “Reinventing Tabs in the Browser”

Design Challenge: Summer 09

Design Challenge: Summer 09 – together with IxDA and Johnny Holland

After our successful inaugural Design Challenge in Spring ’09 – more than 50 students from all around the world participated and submitted nearly 20 prototypes – we are happy to announce the next Design Challenge today.

In collaboration with IxDA, a network dedicated to the professional practice of Interaction Design and Johnny Holland, an open collective talking, sharing and finding answers about all aspects of interaction design, we once again invite designers, students and design-focused people from all around the world to develop new ideas & mockups for the future of the Web.

About the Design Challenge

The Design Challenge is a series of events to encourage innovation, and experimentation in user interface design for the Web. Our aim is to provoke thought, facilitate discussion, and inspire future design directions for Firefox, the Mozilla project, and the Open Web as a whole.

For this Design Challenge we are focusing on finding creative solutions to the question: “Reinventing Tabs in the Browser – How can we create, navigate and manage multiple web sites within the same browser instance?”

Tabs worked well on slow machines on a thin Internet, where ten browser sessions were “many browser sessions”. Today, 20+ parallel sessions are quite common; the browser is more of an operating system than a data display application; we use it to manage the web as a shared hard drive.

However, if you have more than seven or eight tabs open they become pretty much useless. And tabs don’t work well if you use them with heterogeneous information. They’re a good solution to keep the screen tidy for the moment. And that’s just what they should continue doing.

How it works

To participate in the Design Challenge you need to create a mockup of your proposed solution. A mockup can be anything from a napkin drawing, to a wireframe, to a polished graphic.

You also need to create a video explaining your idea(s), presenting the mockup and showing how your idea works.

To register your entry: Upload your mockup and your video to a website such as Flickr, Vimeo or YouTube and tag it with “mozconcept”. Send us an email to with links to both your mockup and your video. (To facilitate the free exchange of ideas, all content and contributions will be licensed under appropriate open source licenses.)

During the Design Challenge you can discuss your ideas with fellow designers on the Mozilla Concept Series forum. To inspire and help you during the challenge, Johnny Holland will post articles with background information on their website throughout the challenge.

All submissions will be presented on the Design Challenge website and honors for “Best in Class” in the categories Innovation, Execution, Interaction, Producible plus a People’s Choice Award will be bestowed.

You find all the details on the Design Challenge website.

Important Dates

  • May 14th, 2009 – Launch of Design Challenge: Summer 09
  • June 21st, 2009 – Submission deadline for mockups & videos
  • July 8th, 2009 – Announcement of “Best in Class” and “People’s Choice” selection

Getting Involved

If you’re interested in participating, please do join us in the Concept Series discussion forums. Also follow us on Twitter: @mozconcept, @ixda and @johnnyholland.

You’ll find more information on how to participate on our Design Challenge website.

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

— Pascal Finette, on behalf of the Mozilla Labs team

7 responses

  1. mortennikijuhl wrote on :

    thank s you pals see our next summer

  2. Canoro wrote on :

    if we group tabs on a single one depending on a domain, we could add the “open this group in a new window”, and a history button in the tab that will display history of only that domain.

  3. Pascal Finette wrote on :


    Sounds great! Please join us in our discussion group at

    Looking forward seeing your ideas!

  4. Daniel Blois wrote on :

    I am not good with creating a mock-up video or anything like that but I have an idea that I think would make tabs so much easier to use! make them just like the Windows 7 Task bar:

    1) make multiple tabs from the same site be grouped togeather in 1 tab
    2) when you hover over the tab, you will see live previews of all the tabs for that website.
    3) you can hover over one of the live windows and get like the Aero Peak where you see the website full size.
    4) you can close, refresh, open in new window, etc, all important features right from the live previews.
    5) And of course you click on it, it will open the tab full
    6) I think also it should show just the favicon, in a finger size button like they do on the task bar.

    However, everything here should be user configurable. Somebody else might want to see the full text, etc. You should be able to turn every little piece on or off.

  5. Aaron wrote on :

    I’ve got some ideas for a different approach – not just on tabs, but also history, bookmarking and page navigation – something of an integrated approach. I’ve been considering working on an extension to work out some of these concepts. Although I don’t think I’ll be able to implement all my ideas within an extension, it would be a good start. Would this be useful as part of the demonstration?

  6. Alex wrote on :

    I won’t participate.
    But what about “ALT+MouseWheel” to navigate faster among tabs ?

    Not a reinvention, just a suggestion.

    CTRL+TAB & CTRL+SHIFT+TAB is effective.
    ALT+MouseWheel could be better.

  7. Yassine zaidan wrote on :

    i want to say i’m really happy to talk direct with society mozilla on this labs
    actually i’m moroccan boy i have a 17 years old and i want to tell you i’m so happy to leave my ideas her in this labs and first
    i want firefox interface with some bar latéral and some javascript pour improve navigation on the web and concurence exactly with internet explorer . google chrome .safari.finaly opera

    best wiches