Even as Mozilla’s Firefox browser continues to strip market share from Microsoft’s (s msft) Internet Explorer, the company has been showing off user interface mockups of the next major release: Firefox 4. Now, with its new Firefox 4 Design Challenge, you’re invited to pitch in.
True to its long-standing focus on openness, Mozilla has a long history of opening up Firefox development tasks to the public. With the Firefox 4 Design Challenge, the company is specifically concentrating on ideas for switching Firefox’s Home button to a Home tab, which will facilitate start pages in the browser similar to MyYahoo and iGoogle start pages, complete with widgets and gadgets. According to the announcement of the challenge:
We will keep the existing functionality where you can display a web page of your choice — or disable it altogether — but since we’re moving this page to live in Firefox instead of on the web, there are some interesting opportunities. [The new Start] page will have access to a lot more of the user’s information since it never leaves the browser — history, add-ons, bookmarks, and pretty much anything you can see in Firefox at the moment.
The company has supplied the following mockup of how the browser might keep the new start page concept available up top via the Home icon at left:
To participate in the Design Challenge, you must submit a short video explaining your concept and presenting a mockup that clearly shows how a new start page might work. Wireframes and polished graphics are especially welcome. Mozilla has a submission form available here. To get your creative juices flowing, example templates are available. Perhaps you can use the long holiday weekend to influence how millions of users will work with the next-generation version of Firefox.