Earlier this year we posted some mockups of the Firefox Mobile that looked a lot like the Safari browser does on the iPhone. I think everyone expected other companies to copy their interface since Apple has received a lot of praise for their browser being “usable,” but it looks like Mozilla is finally making use of the recently hired Aza Raskin who’s well known for Enso (review) and Songza (review).
Aza put together a demo video that shows off a direction Mozilla might be taking with Firefox Mobile, and it not only looks nice but is also different from how the iPhone operates. One thing that they really focused on doing was utilizing the entire screen on a mobile device, after all there’s normally not a lot to work with. For that reason there’s essentially no visible buttons most of the time, and instead they are tucked away on the sides of the screen. Watch the video to see what I mean:
The new tab system is pretty cool, huh? They were definitely clever with how they designed that, and anyone that’s used any sort of mobile browser before would probably agree that being able to organize your tabs in this way would be extremely helpful.
I’m still wondering if hiding the buttons off to the side is the best way to go. For example, when scrolling vertically on my iPhone it can sometimes be difficult to scroll perfectly up and down. With a browser like this I would probably be showing the menu a lot more than I’d like to when all I want to do is move around the current page.
What still amazes me is that the mobile browsers still haven’t attempted some kind of gesture system for navigating, just like mouse gestures on a regular computer. You’ll obviously still need to have some sort of buttons available, but throwing in four or five gestures could possibly account for a majority of the things a user wants to do (back, forward, bookmark, new tab, etc…).
Is this the mobile browser you’ve been waiting for?