New Firefox 2 Theme Mockups

1. Search Bar: new icon required for the “search” action, design required to visually associate an “action button” with a textbox, design for showing search suggestions, design for making it clear that user can select the search engine.

2. Icon Polish: use shapes and metaphors from the existing *Stripe themes, but unify (and soften?) the colour palette and update the edges, detail, styling and gloss to match better on Vista, with modern XP apps, and OS X.

3. Tab Strip: improve distinction of selected tabs, differentiate appearance of background tabs from tab strip, optimize close tab button for use on all tabs.

4. Buttons in Textboxes: make buttons that appear in textboxes distinctive and provide affordances to indicate that they are “clickable” elements.

View screenshots

Personally I think there are definite usability enhancements in some of the changes. I don’t like that the style moves away from the default OS theme, though. This is one of the areas where Opera excels; the fact that it can use native UI widgets rather than having to mimic them.

7 thoughts on “New Firefox 2 Theme Mockups”

  1. I dig it and can’t find anything to complain about just yet. I especially like the updates made to the text box buttons – very cool.

  2. Whoever thought it was a good idea to glassify the otherwise great toolbar icons in Firefox will be shot when the revolution comes.

  3. I absolutely agree with Michael.

    The search-go-button is very good though!

  4. Joen says:

    I especially like the updates made to the text box buttons – very cool.

    I’m worried how these will look on the Windows “Classic” skin, whose textboxes aren’t just square 1px bordered boxes, but actually inset 3px bordered fields.

    I asked people “in the know”, and the issue is with XUL. XUL, the XML based interface that allows Firefox to easily be ported to various platforms, uses XML and CSS to style the interface. That means it can’t use native windows UI widgets such as textfields, push buttons and so on (or at least that these can only be used to a limited extent).

    So that means they have to either completely skin Firefox (think about the Netscape days), or skin it to “mimic” the operating system. The latter is what they’ve done with varying degrees of success so far; in the case of Windows XP, trying to mimic both the default “XP Luna” skin and the Windows Classic skin.

    They said it themselves, and I believe it is clear from these screenshots, this Firefox 2 theme tries to mimic the new Windows Vista theme. For an example of the textfields and glows [present in Windows Vista (ed.)], look here: http://www.live.com/

    I doubt they can mimic 3 skins in one. I wonder what impact this will have on the success of Firefox vs. Opera, and what impact this will have on the relatively small user group that thinks like me.

  5. Joen said:

    I?m worried how these will look on the Windows ?Classic? skin, whose textboxes aren?t just square 1px bordered boxes, but actually inset 3px bordered fields.

    Great point Joen, I never even thought of that.

    Michael Heilemann said:

    Whoever thought it was a good idea to glassify the otherwise great toolbar icons in Firefox will be shot when the revolution comes.

    I’m not very partial to the glassy icons either but they are trendy. If using them helps to rope in some more Firefox users then I’m all for it.

  6. shorty114 says:

    I prefer the current default theme icons better… they aren’t so sharp and glassy, but you still know they’re there. On the mockup at least, the icons just stood out to me and it looks like Vista — pretty bad.

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