The Firefox Menu

[See also the follow-up post from beltzner]

One of the new upcoming features in Firefox 4 will be the Firefox menu on Windows and Linux. The goal is to have no menu bar by default, and for the Firefox menu to be a single button in a shorter title bar. I’ve been following this feature closely in nightly builds. I was surprised a couple of days ago when I saw a 2-tiered menu by default (see Exhibit A below). The first thought that struck me is that it looks very like a Windows start menu (Exhibit B below).

For the record I like it, because you don’t have to drill down to find Add-ons and other features. The design is no doubt still in flux and not final. Does anyone know the bug number?

[Update: the bug # is 583386, but note comment 129:

This bug is marked as fixed. Please fill new bug if you think that something is wrong or you want to improve something.


What do you think?

Firefox Menu

Exhibit A: Firefox menu in Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.0; rv:2.0b5pre) Gecko/20100821 Minefield/4.0b5pre

Vista Start menu

Exhibit B: The MicroSoft Vista Start menu

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30 Responses to “The Firefox Menu”

  1. Archaeopteryx 23-Aug-2010 at 11:34 #

  2. Ian 23-Aug-2010 at 11:40 #

    ‘Full screen’ is right next to ‘Exit’. Is this the best idea?

  3. SedueRey 23-Aug-2010 at 11:47 #

    Really horrible, I think

  4. Josh 23-Aug-2010 at 11:56 #

    A brilliant design! Could do with some padding around the edges, though.

  5. Wladimir Palant 23-Aug-2010 at 12:06 #

    What’s surprising – the only real submenu there is “Developer”, all others are fake submenus with a pretty confusing behavior IMO. I know that people (particularly of the less experienced kind) tend not to notice that small arrow, they will only be using the top-level entry. One might argue that this is for the better – these are the same people who probably won’t have any use for the advanced menu items. Then again, I’m not sure whether Bookmarks or History submenus are really so advanced.

  6. Michael 23-Aug-2010 at 12:08 #

    “The design is no doubt still in flux and not final”

    Are you saying “no doubt” because you hope that this is the case? In principle, this is the final design – there won’t be UI changes or string changes after beta 5, and the freeze for that is within a week. That is why this was supposed to go into beta 4, but it was late.

    I guess is there is a big enough outcry when beta 5 is released, something might have to give.

  7. Wladimir Palant 23-Aug-2010 at 12:08 #

    Ah, I guess the issue I mentioned is

  8. David Naylor 23-Aug-2010 at 12:10 #

    Noticed this too. I like it!

  9. Wladimir Palant 23-Aug-2010 at 12:13 #

    Michael, if you look at – there are still quite a few open bugs that it depends on. So while larger changes are unlikely, we should still expect quite a bit of tweaking of the details.

  10. Livio 23-Aug-2010 at 12:37 #

    I like it. Fully vertical menus are boring and uncomfortable these times. Overload minimized and placed also horizontally – my favourite. Would love to see such menu on Linux too!

  11. Alfred Kayser 23-Aug-2010 at 12:38 #

    This is how the AppMenu looks in my Nautipolis theme:

  12. Henrik Gemal 23-Aug-2010 at 14:34 #

    How do I check for updates wth the new menu?

  13. AaronMT 23-Aug-2010 at 15:12 #

    Not sure why Fullscreen is grouped with Exist

  14. Colby Russell 23-Aug-2010 at 15:29 #

    One of the new upcoming features in Firefox 4 will be the Firefox menu on Windows and Linux.

    I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be in Firefox 4 for Linux. See bug 513159.

  15. Colby Russell 23-Aug-2010 at 15:31 #

    Linking to bugzilla in my last post tripped your spam filter.

  16. Gabriela 23-Aug-2010 at 16:24 #

    The implementation of the latest Firefox Menu design is followed in

  17. Michael 23-Aug-2010 at 16:31 #

    @Henrik: You don’t. There is some discussion about making something available via the menu for nightly builds. Otherwise “check for updates” is supposed to be moving to the Help About window.

    @Wladimir: Yes, but the dependencies of that bug have been added by various community members, and aren’t blocking the release, so I would think they are more at the level of suggestions at the moment. I imagine that there will be tweaking, but the design won’t change (or at least that is the intention of the beta 5 freeze…)

  18. David Boswell 23-Aug-2010 at 16:33 #

    This sort of looks like a _much_ better designed version of the two-tiered menu with images in it from the Fruity Gum skin :)

  19. Ken Saunders 23-Aug-2010 at 22:54 #

    I personally don’t care for it. I like my toolbars, all of them. I don’t see the value in gaining a few pixel of vertical height when it creates more mouse clicks, more mouse movement, and more focus on searching for items which can distract the user from what they where actually working on or wanting to do.
    The focus should be on the activity, not on searching for something to get the activity to work or to interact with it.

    For basic users who are just checking their emails, tweeting, or posting an update to Facebook, then sure, I can understand the need or desire for a dumbed down interface. But for power users, it just doesn’t work too well and I believe that we need to hang on to as many of those as possible.

    The good news is that Firefox remains the most customizable browser so everyone should be happy.

  20. Rob 23-Aug-2010 at 23:34 #

    Wow, I like it =)!

  21. Daniel Glazman 24-Aug-2010 at 16:07 #

    hmmmm, I hope that there’s no patent on that Start menu.

  22. makr 24-Aug-2010 at 19:19 #

    It seems to have more in common with Microsoft’s Office Button menu than the Start menu:

  23. Yousif 24-Aug-2010 at 19:49 #

    Not nice at all. Why can’t just be like Opera? They saving space by setting menu within the taps, and make it one button, one menu!

  24. csacsa 29-Aug-2010 at 07:05 #

    This is nota note to the “Firefox menu”.

    I really love images of the top this page.
    Nice, and without any agressivity.
    Keep it!
    …and thank you.Thank you for our children.
    This is very important.


  25. leo 7-Sep-2010 at 00:08 #

    like it.
    but would you put it also on linux and mac??
    it makes no sense making different GUIs on different OS’s! o.O

  26. broccauley 11-Sep-2010 at 06:25 #

    The original inspirations for this “start menu”-styled menu are actually here (see archive):

    Also added are updated mock-ups on how I think this could be improved.

  27. Cyprus 10-Apr-2011 at 03:15 #

    I prefer the older interface. This new interface and appearance confuses me. I think that they tried to have a simple appearance like chrome but anyway i don’t like the result.


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