User interface in Firefox 2 is going to change

The default chrome of Firefox has not been altered since the launch of Firefox 1.0. It would be presumptuous to assume that the way in which users interact with their browsers has gone unchanged between that time and our planned 3Q2006 release date for Fx2, and even more presumptuous for us to assume that we got things 100% right with Firefox 1.0. Ben's been thinking about this for a while, and he and Joe and I got together today to take a good hard look at the browser window with the following goals:
- remove UI elements that aren't useful to majority of users
- increase usability of elements that are useful
- increase focus on web content

Read the thread at

March 01, 2006 03:34 PM | Posted in Mozilla


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Please read (or at least scan) the entire thread to avoid asking questions that have already been answered in there :)

If you'd like to join the discussion, but don't have a news reader, you can use the mirrored mailing list at

Site icon Comment by beltzner at March 1, 2006 06:14 PM | Permalink

That Mean you will include the Stop/reload functionality into a single Button?
Will you finally add close Buttons to each tab (without extensions)?

Comment by Fred.cpp at March 1, 2006 06:35 PM | Permalink

Things like this is why i love open source projects.

Sure i might not like how something turns out in the end, but I know why in gods name they did what they did. It is a open discussion and pretty much anyone is a good idea or insight into the problem is more then welcome to contribute.

very cool thing to read

Comment by Cameron at March 1, 2006 07:47 PM | Permalink

I'm concerned about putting the refresh button in the location bar, not because it doesn't belong there, but because there's too many icons there already.

How is it going to look with a padlock, RSS feed and the refresh button in 800x600? Plain rediculous, really. And will the refresh button come before, or after the other icons? It would be bad UI if the refresh button kept moving depending on how many other icons are in the location bar.

Removal of the home button is welcome; but to make any of these changes to tab browser of any use, a new tab button should be on by default, either on the tabbar, or the toolbar.

I'm not for hiding the status bar by default. This irritates the hell out of me in Safari; also, having the downloads manager in the status bar would avoid the "where'd my download go" when you close the download manager and newbs don't know to go to Tools > Downloads.

Also, why put the refresh button in the location bar since it's related to that, but go no further with proper relational UI design. The location bar is unique to each tab. It should go beneath the tab bar. The back, forward, refresh and stop buttons are again, also unique to a particular tab. Some of the menus are unique to each tab, others are not. The problem with proper relational UI design is that even though you can seperate everything out so there's no state-changing elements, you end up making it looking ugly or screen-estate eating.

Site icon Comment by Kroc Camen at March 1, 2006 08:03 PM | Permalink

I can't figure out how to post the the newsgroup, so I'm replying here.

* The Reload/Stop buttons can't be the same stateful button -- Netscape tried this in v 4 Beta and found that people would reach to click "Stop" but the button would change to "reload" and they'd get the opposite of what they wanted... This ahppens to me with Safari today...

* Likewise, the Go Button shouldn't be the same button as Stop for the same reason: someone reaches to Stop, and the button changes to Go.

* What does make sense is for the Go Button to be the same button as "Reload"... If the url stays the same, the button reads "Reload" -- if the URL is changed by typing, the button reads "Go". Either way, the button does the same thing: it tries to load the URL.

Go and Reload are fundamentally the same action; one applies to a new page, one to the current page. I can think of no examples of how this could cause problems or confusions. The Stop/Go or Stop/Reload combos can cause problems though.

Comment by jamie at March 1, 2006 09:34 PM | Permalink

You guys are all suffering from some sort of dirt on your monitors that are causing you to misread the document ;) It reads ..:

"The Go button becomes a stateful button that is either "Go" or "Stop";"

All of us hate the Stop/Reload combination as well. Rest assured that will never happen.

Site icon Comment by beltzner at March 2, 2006 12:42 AM | Permalink

jaime: good point about Go/Reload. I'll make sure that gets bubbled up into the group ...

Site icon Comment by beltzner at March 2, 2006 12:43 AM | Permalink

One point nobody's mentioned yet: the file/edit/view menus. These are going away in Vista. (In IE7, you hold ALT to slide them into view. In some apps, pull-downs won't even exist.)

Comment by RC at March 2, 2006 04:31 AM | Permalink

I can't believe they're seriously going to get rid of the status bar. It's used by so many extensions!

Also, with the stop/reload, they ought to disable the reload button for the first few seconds (perhaps fading it in) in case someone wants to click stop and it reloads instead.

Most of the other suggestions sounds pretty solid.

Comment by Ian at March 2, 2006 11:28 AM | Permalink

So many people expect to see a status bar that removing it would create a means for malicious sites to put a fake status bar there, perhaps with a fake padlock or target URL. Many users probably still look for the padlock in the status bar rather than the URL bar, as the latter is a recent innovation.

It's like the web equivalent of having a file called README.txt.exe, knowing that many users have file extensions hidden. They're so used to seeing .txt files that they'll happily click on them without consciously realising that they shouldn't even be seeing the extension.

Comment by Mark at March 2, 2006 12:49 PM | Permalink

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