Mozilla Labs Wants to Know Your Browser Fantasies

MozillalabsMozilla Labs has announced a new participation project that offers a way for the public to suggest, share and explore concepts, mockups and demos of what a next-generation web browser might look like.

The idea is to get more people involved in the design process, which Mozilla hopes will “inspire future design directions for Firefox, the Mozilla project and the web as a whole.”

Participation isn’t limited to programmers and code monkeys, in fact Mozilla seems to be particularly interested in input from graphic and interface designers. The only real requirement is that you use either a Creative Commons license or the Mozilla Public License so that others can reuse and remix your ideas.

Everyone is welcome to participate. We’re particularly interested in engaging with designers who have not typically been involved with open source projects. And we’re biasing towards broad participation, not finished implementations.

So what will the future of the browser look like? Obviously there’s no telling, but Mozilla has posted some inaugural concept videos to help get the creative juices flowing.

The video below is from Adaptive Path, a design firm co-founded by Jesse James Garrett (probably best known for Ajax). The project is called Aurora and offers a look at one possible direction for a browser of the future.

Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

There’s also a video from Aza Raskin, head of user experience at Mozilla, showing off some possibilities for the upcoming Firefox mobile browser. The third video, from designer Wei Zhou, showcases alternate ways of interacting with bookmarks and history.

While all the initial concepts are different if there’s one immediately obvious common theme it’s that the browser of the future will have less, not more. For instance all three mockups largely dispense with the familiar tool buttons, bookmark bar and other UI “clutter.”

Will these ideas ever make it to the final release stage? Well that’s for you to decide. Head over to the Labs forum and let the designers/developers know what you think. And if you have your own concepts to share, Mozilla recommends: “If it’s an idea, blog about it. If it’s a mock-up, put it on Flickr. If it’s a prototype, host it on your website.” And of course let everyone know in the discussion forum.

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