41 Comments

Summary:

Mozilla, the open-source browser maker, has posted mockup screenshots of its upcoming 4.0 and 3.7 browsers for Microsoft Windows, and the company is encouraging people to give feedback on new, highlighted features it may incorporate into the products. One of the proposed updates for 4.0, called […]

mozillaMozilla, the open-source browser maker, has posted mockup screenshots of its upcoming 4.0 and 3.7 browsers for Microsoft Windows, and the company is encouraging people to give feedback on new, highlighted features it may incorporate into the products. One of the proposed updates for 4.0, called “Tabs-on-Top,” looks similar to tabs on Google’s Chrome browser. (Apple released a new tab interface on its Safari browser in February that, according to Macworld, took a page from Google’s Chrome playbook.)

Mozilla describes the “Tabs-on-Top” feature as “contentious,” and then provides a bullet list of positives and negatives about it in the mockups. Oddly enough, one of the negatives listed against the feature is it breaks the user’s “familiarity” with the traditional design of the Firefox browser. So far, people who have commented in the discussion thread are divided over whether Mozilla should incorporate the tabs feature in Firefox 4.0.We’ve written about how Google and Mozilla have had a close financial partnership over the years. The most obvious symbols of this relationship are the Google homepage on the Firefox browser and the Google search bar affixed in the top right-hand corner of the application.

The financial partnership between the two companies “accounted for 88 percent of Mozilla’s $75 million in revenue in 2007,” The New York Times reported this weekend, which is a huge chunk of cash. Yet Google’s entrance into the browser market, with its release of Chrome this past September, heightened competition between the two companies; Mozilla CEO John Lily told the Times that “life was a lot simpler before they (Google) did this.”

Mozilla rolled out Firefox 3.5 just last month, and the browser maker made clear that both the 3.7 and 4.0 mockups are simply for “brainstorming” purposes, so time will tell whether Mozilla adopts the Google-like tabs feature. What do you guys think — should Mozilla have tabs on the top, or are you happy with the current design?

Mockup-4-0-Vista-(TabsTop)-(LocBarSearch)

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. I’m more comfortable with the old ways. I don’t want to make the transition.

    1. we should decide based on measured efficiency, not backward compatibility. This is how the world moves forward.

  2. I think it should coz i am quite comfortable with them on top!

  3. Luca Candela Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    I would really appreciate the tabs on top, as a heavy user of extensions Firefox tends to get a little cluttered and steals space from the main browser view. I wouldn’t feel too bad about “stealing” from Chrome, good ideas are to be used, there isn’t very much to improve upon the wheel and it’s been invented a long time ago, and nobody feels bad about ripping off the prehistoric dude that came up with it!

  4. definitely on top! free up some screen space.

    1. How would you free up screen space? Seems like six or one-half dozen to me.

      Give users a check box to let them choose whether the tabs’ placement.

      1. When at the top, the tabs replace the title bar entirely. It removes a row of screen space.

  5. The ideal would be to have both for both, i.e., the possibilty to have the tabs either above or below, for both Firefox and Chrome, IMO.

    If they could implement that without much difficulty, it might be the best of both worlds. It could be a configurable option, either via the Tools / Options menu and/or just allow the user to change the position by dragging the tab bar up or down.

    – Vasudev

  6. Michael Chaney Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    I’ve been using Chrome almost exclusively for the last few months, and I’ve gotten pretty used to the tabs on top. But really it doesn’t matter. Tabs are tabs, I can click them where ever they are. Top or bottom tabs is really pretty trivial. Just make a browser that launches and renders quickly, and is easy to manage bookmarks.

  7. There’s a Firefox extension that puts tabs on top of the URL bar:

    http://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/13091

  8. Tabs on top is a bad idea. It completely breaks the consistency of UI across apps for a given platform. (This breaking of UI consistency is why MS Office 2007 is an abomination.) So, unless tabs on top is the standard convention for that platform’s UI, the tabs should go where users expect them to be.

    And, while some might like the idea because it, “frees up screen real estate,” the downside of inconsistent UI conventions more than offsets this benefit for most users.

    1. I believe tabs on top should be THE standard convention. because

      1)It save precious vertical space on the now common 768px vertical laptops.
      2)It makes tabs easier to reach, because the mouse only needs to move straight to the top, and down a bit, as opposed to the more careful vertical aiming required for bottom tabs.
      3)The implementation from the screenshot above leaves space on top for moving the window. It might be harder to move the window, but it’s not a frequent action
      4)The shorter title still seems to identify the page.

      On windows and linux, browsers are where most of the tabs are anyway (other than property dialogs) , so it should SET the convention, not follow.

      1. From my understanding, when maximized, they’re at the very top so as to take advantage of Fitts’ law with a practically infinite height.

        There should be a preference, though.

  9. I”ve been using Chrome for a month or so as well – and, while I use tabs extensively (favorite all-time FF feature) – I’ve not consciously registered that the tabs are above the address bar.

  10. Mark Jaquith Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Apple released a new tab interface on its Safari browser in February that, according to Macworld, took a page from Google’s Chrome playbook.

    It appeared in a beta version, and was yanked out before the final release of Safari 4.0. It was confusing and hard to use, not to mention visually inconsistent. Tabs-on-top is a clever idea in theory. In reality, it is bad UI.

    1. No safari’s implementation was confusing and hard to use. Chrome tabs are MUCH better

Comments have been disabled for this post