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

30 thoughts on “The Firefox Menu

  1. 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.

  2. “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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. @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.
    https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=585475
    https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=579547

    @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…)

  6. 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.

  7. Hello!
    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.

    e

  8. 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

  9. 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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