Mozilla posts Windows Firefox 3.7 theme proposals - Update
The Mozilla UX Team has posted screen shots and details of proposals for version 3.7 of Firefox for Windows. According to the Windows Theme Revamp wiki, the developers feel that the current Firefox theme for Windows looks dated. One of the proposed changes is to, by default, hide the Menu Bar on Windows Vista and Windows 7 and to use a new Glass effect to both retain platform consistency and free vertical space. Users would be able to access the Menu Bar by pressing the Alt key. The addition of Page and Tools buttons, similar to those found in Safari and Chrome, would still provide quick access to common settings and features. Another proposed idea is to create a combo "Stop/Reload" button, further reducing "clutter". The developers are also looking at removing the "Home" button from the default tool bar and moving its functionality to a "Home Tab" that would contain a users homepage.
Previous analysis of Firefox's default Windows theme lead the developers to the conclusion that, unlike other browsers such as Chrome or Safari, Firefox was taking up too much room and leaving less space for the actual web content. The way Firefox handles bookmarks may also be revised and the team consider other existing tool bar buttons to be uneven and inconsistent. When Microsoft released Windows Vista, it began to systematically remove the menu bar from several Windows applications. Office 2007, Paint and Wordpad, for example, now use a somewhat controversial "Ribbon" interface.
Currently, the suggested updates and changes are at the "UX team proposal stage", meaning that they are subject to constructive community feedback and still need to be approved. Provided all goes well, many of the proposals may make it into version 3.7 of Firefox, and those that don't will likely find their way, in some shape or form, into Firefox 4.0. The developers also note that they are looking "into the best ways to carry these ideas over to Mac and Linux".
Update - Early reporting of the proposals suggested that Mozilla were planning on copying the Microsoft "Ribbon UI" to replace menus. Chris Blizzard, Mozilla evangelist, re-tweeted a statement from the UX developers setting the record straight: "We are not putting the "Ribbon UI" style on Firefox".
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