File Under: Browsers

Firefox Designer Offers a Look at What Wasn’t

Alt. Firefox Nightly Icon

Mozilla’s Principal Designer on Firefox, Alex Faaborg, is leaving the company to “try out design work in an entirely different space.” Before he goes though, Faaborg is sharing some designs from the Mozilla cutting room floor — mockups and design ideas that never quite made it to Firefox.

Most Firefox users probably don’t know Faaborg by name, but he’s overseen the design of some of the browser’s bigger user interface changes over the years, including the Awesomebar, the move to tabs-on-top, the one-click bookmark system and the revamped icon that launched with Firefox 3.

Among the items from Mozilla’s cutting room floor are Faaborg’s nightly build icon which Mozilla felt looked too much like an exploding world, rather than the forming world Faaborg had intended to convey.

Another design mockup that has apparently been missing release targets since Firefox 2 is Faaborg’s “Stealth” theme for Firefox’s Private Browsing mode. The Stealth theme mockups show an all-black toolbar and browser chrome designed to provide “a constant indication of being in private browsing mode.”

The proposed Stealth theme for Private Browsing mode in Firefox 3

Other scrapped ideas include the more whimsical “Fluffy Pie Menu,” some attempts to bring the now defunct Ubiquity project into the Firefox URL bar and an alternate way to browse bookmarks via the URL bar.

None of these — save perhaps the Stealth theme — appears to have any chance of making it beyond where it is now, the scrap heap of Firefox history, but for Firefox aficionados Faaborg’s parting screenshot tour offers a glimpse of what could have been.

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