Alex Faaborg has done several Firefox mockups in the past that we have covered (bookmarking, notifications, and history). He often highlights features that would make the browser more usable, and I occasionally feel myself longing for what he posts. This time around he posted some ideas of what it might look like to bring the keyboard to life.
The ideas that he came up with combine the power of the keyboard with the pleasure of a user interface. For starters there is the tab-switching mechanism (Ctrl+Tab) which currently has no sort of interface whatsoever. A mockup of what could be implemented is posted above, with a filter box to quickly find the page that you’re looking for. A similar interface would also be used for flipping through your browser’s website history.
The other thing that he designed is awesome…a quick way to search sites as well as your bookmarks. The mockup is pictured to the right, and as Alex pointed out there are currently a lot of inefficiencies in searching through your bookmarks. This design hopes to conquer those problems.
So are we going to be seeing this in Firefox 3? Nope, these mockups were made just to demonstrate the power of a command line interface when it is tied with an user interface. Here’s what Alex says about the future of this idea:
Please note that these are all only conceptual mockups, and we currently have no official plans to implement these features for Firefox 3 (although, we may at some point release a prototype extension through Mozilla Labs).
Just because the command line predated the graphical user interface doesn’t mean interfaces based on windows, icons, menus and pointers are always superior to interfaces based around using the keyboard for input.
It’s both fun and exciting to see such mockups come out of the Mozilla labs, although many of them seem to be more for show and tell. What really matters is how well they are able to implement these cool features if they ever get to that point.