Back at the beginning of July, we saw the release of Firefox 4 beta 1. The first beta version of Mozilla’s next browser shipped with some important user interface changes — most notably, Windows users got tabs-on-top and the new Firefox Button. It’s a button that sits at the top of the browser window and contains all of the most-used menu options, neatly nested in hierarchical menus and accessible via one click.
The final browser isn’t expected until October, but the team is still experimenting. The picture above is one such experiment, a rough first draft at “flattening” the new Firefox Button, which turns it into something less of a “Greatest Hits” menu and more of a browser dashboard.
Hierarchical menus are almost always slower to use than flattened menus. This is a first-draft pass at flattening the Firefox Button’s menu. For things like accessing bookmarks, I’ve left the menu as a secondary action. In truth, I ran out of time while doing the bottom left hand corner of the mockup and so it is still very raw and not right. I’ve also moved more rich interactions to the right side pane. Letting us bubble up interesting add-ons and extension points inside the Firefox menu, as well as give real indication and controls to Sync.
Keep in mind that this design is just an idea and most likely will not be part of the next Firefox. But Raskin’s design could push the button in interesting directions.