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Mozilla GUI

Design Principles Behind Firefox OS Explained 69

At MozCamp Warsaw, a presentation was given on the design principles behind the core Firefox OS experience. Layering of applications (if you're wondering why the Firefox mobile interface has that weird curve by the tab control, you'll find answers here), an emphasis on content over visual frills for their own sake, consistent iconography, and clean typography dominate.
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Design Principles Behind Firefox OS Explained

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  • But, (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @12:03PM (#41465061)
    can you run Chrome on it?
  • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @12:03PM (#41465065) Homepage Journal

    I'm guessing the main principle is to find ways to annoy people who liked the previous versions and to hide stuff from them.

    How very Microsoft of them.

    • Just wait to you use the new GNOMEphone!
      • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @01:09PM (#41465829) Journal

        GNOMEphone, eh? I can see it now.

        In the name of simplifications they'll remove some or all of the numbers from the keypad, because an internal user study told them that all 10 digits is simply too complex.

        Then someone will write into the forum to complain.

        "I frequently need the digits 5 to 9 (inclusive) to call a wide variety of my contacts. These are vital to my workflow"

        "WONTFIX. Our dicision is final."


        "Please take your unhelpful comments elsewhere"

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Meh. You only need 4 buttons to dial up to 0xE.

    • The daily quote on ./ was right on target today:

      The truth about a man lies first and foremost in what he hides. -- Andre Malraux

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You forgot upgrading the OS every hour or didn't you know that FF OS 39 is already in beta and will be available in 2 hours.

    • Actually Gnome 3 did the same. What is wrong with OS designers these days?
  • is anything like their punctuation, grammar or spell-check, I see bad things in the future.

  • It's almost a tit for tat copy of Windows Phone, in so many ways.

    • It's almost a tit for tat copy of Windows Phone, in so many ways.

      I was thinking the exact same thing: There's a lot of Metro those mockups.

  • by ebh ( 116526 )

    EmacsM-^H Firefox would be a great OS if only it had a decent text editorM-^HM-^H web browser.

    • Amazing, I didn't know what M^H does until today, and I'm using Emacs for 4 years now...

      • Do you 'set -o vi' on the command line? Emacs style keystrokes (set -o emacs) rock in Bash.

        Try: M-b and M-F to move by word. (alt+b, alt+f, alt+backspace = M-^H for other readers)

  • Smoking crack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <onyxruby&comcast,net> on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @12:59PM (#41465693)

    Designing an OS? Are you serious? Have you ever looked at the documentation on Firefox beyond the user stuff? Mozilla's support for using Firefox on more than one computer at a time is so bad that the web is littered with abandoned effort after abandoned effort from end user to do it for them!

    How on earth do they think they are going to support an operating system which /requires/ management when they can't even support a browser that requires management? You shouldn't have to go dozens of web sites to track down the settings and troll developer forums to get the settings needed to mass deploy an application.

    Mozilla, you really, really need to spend some time talking to people in the enterprise and learning what their needs our for managing fleets of computers. I've been on more than one meeting where Firefox was axed from deployment - even though every single person in the room personally used it, preferred it, acknowledged it was more secure - strictly because it is completely unmanageable for an enterprise. Don't get me start on their administrative toolkit either. It isn't close to usable and doesn't begin to cover what is needed.

    I'm sorry, until you can get your act up to speed for a single application support at least somewhere to the level of say, Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, your simply being absurd. It's not about the technical capabilities of your applications, it's about the ability to use and administer it on an enterprise scale.

    I'm sorry, the enterprise experience with trying to manage Firefox is so bad that the idea of a Firefox Operating System is going to cost the poor person who suggests it their reputation at best.

  • I started to dislike Firefox's layout when they moved the "Home" button to the right side...away from the tabs and menu where my mouse would normally be.
    • by doom ( 14564 )
      "Oh but the home button on the right is a far more logical layout when you consider the importance of grouping by global functionality to keep similar things near their point of action -- " Just kidding.

      The "Alt + Home" keyboard command will jump you straight to your home page, without mousing around.

      I've started disliking the "firefox experience" since everything has become flashed up... a page with a flash window always steals the keyboard controls, so I can't, for example, kill it with a control W.

      • a page with a flash window always steals the keyboard controls

        Not quite - it's more Flash refusing to free they keyboard unless you force focus to a textbox or something. Then Flash finally relinquishes control to the browser.

    • by allo ( 1728082 )

      you know, that you can move the buttons in any way you want? right click the menubar, then select customize. now you can move buttons.

      • lol...TBH I didn't know or pay attention during FF's many version upgrades. Now the "Home' button is at the top left where it should be and with FF just under full screen all most used desktop icons are a simple roll off the page away. thnx
        • by allo ( 1728082 )

          just customize it ...
          i am using no googletoolbar (because of web-shortcuts, gg is google) and the buttons left of the urlbar. the next/prev buttons are not shown when disabled via userchrome and with status4evar i even have an oldschool statusbar.
          firefox might be quite unusable with its current defaults, but you can make it look like an old good version with some efford.

  • Visually it looks really nice and it's not being developed by an advertising agency so that's a huge bonus. I'm definitely going to give it a try.
  • And we care about their design principles why, exactly? My understanding is that nobody has plans—even theoretical plans—to ship any actual device with FirefoxOS. It's not like, say, Haiku, which is a niche project but which you can at least install on real, extant hardware. FirefoxOS looks neat—though for full disclosure I say it as someone who genuinely like Windows Phone 7—but if no manufacturer is shipping it, no manufacturer will ship it, and (to the best of my knowledge) you

  • Design Summary (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Merk42 ( 1906718 )
    Here is the entire design document in one sentence:
    Make the app look like an Android app, make the home screen look like iOS (but circles instead of rounded squares).
    • Here is the entire design document in one sentence: Make the app look like an Android app, make the home screen look like iOS (but circles instead of rounded squares).

      This one has my vote. :-)

  • However it definitely seems a blend of Windows Phone meets iPhone with a little Android thrown in (just kidding).

    Even if this fails as a product, it is important to get Apple aware that there are competitive forces out there creating better UI paradigms then "just a grid of app icons".

    Mozilla should take great care however because a circle is just a rounded rectangle with corner radius = 1/2 height of rectangle.

  • We used to say that all programs evolve until they can send email.

    Are we going to need a new saying: "Every web browser grows until it becomes an operating system."

  • by lennier ( 44736 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @07:40PM (#41471209) Homepage

    These are styling principles.

    Yes, I know the entire commercial world in 2012 has decided to remap the dictionary and call "design" what the world of commerce in 1982 would have called "style", and "architecture" and "engineering" what the world of 1982 would have called "design". And product designers no longer actually design things but just draw sketches of what the colouring of the pictures on the skin of the 3D printer will look like, while the product architects, who don't have architecture degrees, build flowcharts for the engineers, who don't hold engineering degrees, to build.

    But darnit, I still remember when "design" meant how a product works at a technical level, and that's what I came to the article expecting to read, and that's the opposite of what I got.

    Get off my perfectly manicured ironically Le Corbusier-inspired post-post-postmodernist lawn.

  • As someone who switched from a browser based OS, WebOS, to iPhone 3GS, and now to Android, I can tell you I will never go back to another laggy HTML based OS. If anything, I'd like to see Android move away from its VM based apps to something like Apple's native apps. Many apps ran better on my 3GS than they do on my much more powerful S3. Mozilla is going the wrong direction on this one. Native > Java > JavaScript

    The whole idea of using HTML, CCS, and JavaScript as the back end technology for a low-en

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann