MozillaZine


Big Theme change again in Firefox 4?

Discuss application theming and theme development.
Frank Lion

User avatar
 
Posts: 21083
Joined: April 23rd, 2004, 6:59 pm
Location: ... The Exorcist....United Kingdom

Post Posted July 17th, 2009, 6:25 pm

I'll tell you all a story, as some of you know, I grow dahlias...lots of them. Just for the fun of it and because I can. Anyway, I belong to this Dahlia Society and although I no longer exhibit, a lot of these guys do...it's pretty demanding stuff. Look it up sometime, you'll be surprised at how involved it gets.

The other week, I asked my mate, Reg, about a new member who he knew well from another society. 'What's this Eric like?', said I. There was a pause and Reg replied, 'Eric, talks a good dahlia.' I knew what he meant.

It's sort of like this stuff. I don't want to know your qualifications, theories or metaphors. I don't want to read your verbose ramblings and obfuscating justifications for your decisions.

I want one thing - show me your theme. I'll be the judge of how good you actually are.
Metal Lion SeaMonkey Themes - Sea Monkey and Silver Sea Monkey
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (attrib.)

Kuden

User avatar
 
Posts: 588
Joined: June 5th, 2004, 6:53 pm
Location: Japan

Post Posted July 17th, 2009, 6:51 pm

Aronnax! wrote:Kevin primarily = to code
Stephen primarily = icon design and other design stuff


Therefore, this is Mac flavor...

I don't like design of "Winstripe" for Firefox 1.0 and Firefox 1.5.
The Mac guy's designing the icon of Windows makes everyone not happy.
It is like Windows guy's designing the icon of Mac.

DonGato

User avatar
 
Posts: 589
Joined: December 1st, 2005, 9:57 am

Post Posted July 17th, 2009, 9:29 pm

Frank Lion wrote:A great theme is one where you look at the theme more than the webpages. :)

Can I disagree on that?
A great theme should be nice while not standing over the content. After all we are all using Firefox to browse the web, not otherwise.
In any case, until we see something for real let me be skeptical. :P
And I agree that the default theme is not well done. The icons are really bad and the design can welcome some improvement but doing a "me too" isn't really progressing. It's just following the others.

Frank Lion

User avatar
 
Posts: 21083
Joined: April 23rd, 2004, 6:59 pm
Location: ... The Exorcist....United Kingdom

Post Posted July 18th, 2009, 1:30 pm

DonGato wrote:
Frank Lion wrote:A great theme is one where you look at the theme more than the webpages. :)

Can I disagree on that?

Certainly, especially as I do as well ...that's what the smilie was for. (it was a private joke 8-) ) :P

I think they got a bit of a shock on Firefox Builds in the run up to the release of Firefox 3 and it's default theme, and didn't realise just how much I'm into functionality and intuitive UI and were expecting 'arty' comments from me. Easy to get pigeon-holed by people in this business. I am aware that I am pigeon holed by some as some 'eye candy' merchant because in my range I make themes to suit different moods and audiences, but look closer - every bit of functionality is there. My security info and notifications deliberately stand out from the background as they should, all menus and trees completely readable, including on my darker themes, searchbar history by default, etc, etc.

So, yeah, I agree, you have to know exactly how far you can push this stuff and remember the priorities. :)

Of course, people making default themes/UI for software don't have the luxury of being able to push it at all, because that is the brief for that job. Although people often complain that default themes are a bit dull, that is close to what they should be like. Get it looking tight, crisp and pleasant and you've got it right. Get people shouting 'Genius! a masterstroke!!' and it has gone too far.

Bear in my mind that this is what most people will ever use, so it must have a very broad appeal and every stylish stroke that many will 'love', will be 'hated' by others in equal measure. A fragile tightrope to walk and one best not left to committees and people who have never made a single theme themselves before.

Incidentally, even Kuden above is doing this pigeon holing - this Stephen guy made a Mac theme, therefore he can only do Mac-style themes...errr, no. A good graphics guy can work in any style required.

Anyway, I don't normally write about this stuff in public, so maybe I'll do it again sometime ...in another 3 years time. :P
Metal Lion SeaMonkey Themes - Sea Monkey and Silver Sea Monkey
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (attrib.)

KLB

User avatar
 
Posts: 2282
Joined: December 21st, 2003, 9:25 am
Location: Saco Maine

Post Posted July 18th, 2009, 7:31 pm

My hope is that the road map that shows early to mid 2010 for 3.6 ends up taking longer than expected (as it always does). The longer it is between the times I'm forced to update my theme to support the next Firefox version the better. I'm also hoping that a late 3.6 means an even later 4.0. Honestly, I dread the thought of going through anther theme update as major as it was for FF3.0.

I just don't understand why there has to be a major overhaul of the look of a web browser every time there is a new major version. It just seems like a lot of wasted effort. If changes improve performance or unusably, fine, but doing a major overhaul in the look that breaks all of the custom themes simply for the sake of making a fashion statement is a colossal waste. I don't even want to think about how many scores of hours I spent upgrading my theme from Firefox 2.0 to 3.0 and trying to keep up with the beta changes.
Ken Barbalace - AMO Editor (I focus on reviewing themes)
I maintain Classic Compact, a very compact yet clean Firefox theme.
EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Periodic Table)

CatThief

User avatar
 
Posts: 1854
Joined: January 19th, 2004, 12:19 am
Location: Northeast USA

Post Posted July 18th, 2009, 8:15 pm

KLB wrote:I'm also hoping that a late 3.6 means an even later 4.0. Honestly, I dread the thought of going through anther theme update as major as it was for FF3.0.

KLB wrote:If changes improve performance or unusably, fine, but doing a major overhaul in the look that breaks all of the custom themes simply for the sake of making a fashion statement is a colossal waste.

Amen to that.
Still passionate for Mozilla themes and extensions, just not actively developing them for public release anymore.

Aronnax!
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: October 1st, 2004, 10:24 am
Location: Germany

Post Posted July 19th, 2009, 6:58 am

KLB wrote:My hope is that the road map that shows early to mid 2010 for 3.6 ends up taking longer than expected (as it always does). The longer it is between the times I'm forced to update my theme to support the next Firefox version the better. I'm also hoping that a late 3.6 means an even later 4.0. Honestly, I dread the thought of going through anther theme update as major as it was for FF3.0.


I can`t find an updated road map, but asked a Mozilla employee and he told me that the 3.6 development progress should be closed in the next weeks and 3.7 should have as well a very short development phase.
And it is as well the reason for the two theme implementation phases.

Euchre

User avatar
 
Posts: 2804
Joined: April 16th, 2006, 12:48 pm

Post Posted July 19th, 2009, 7:40 am

Let's all pray someone makes the point to the Firefox team that the community doesn't want it to become a 'me too' UI. We can do that with themes, userChrome.css, and extensions TYVM.
Gecko
One Rendering Engine to rule them all.

ehume

User avatar
 
Posts: 6743
Joined: November 17th, 2002, 12:33 pm
Location: Princeton, NJ, USA

Post Posted July 19th, 2009, 10:14 am

Slightly off-topic, from a themer's perspective, Fx 1.5 was version 2, Fx 2 was version 3, Fx 3 was version 4, and Fx 3.5 is version 5. OK, if you want to get picky, maybe Firefox 3.5 is only version 4.1, but the point remains that these point-five changes are enough to qualify as major version changes in an honest system.

So far with my own themes and Firefox 4, I have found that only the tab preview is an issue. And that has just been an add-on. For all I know it may be compatible with Fx 3.5. But this drive to imitate IE, Chrome and Safari looks like a substantially bad idea to me. As Euchre says, I don't think we want to have a 'me too' UI - especially when that UI is a bad one.
Firefox: Sic transit gloria mundi.

Jeff.Tet

User avatar
 
Posts: 478
Joined: August 25th, 2004, 7:36 pm

Post Posted July 19th, 2009, 2:11 pm

I, a person who replicates the look of other browsers, like some of the ideas in the moch-ups. I definitely dont like the fact that it is chrome-ish looking. I do think that the ideas from other technologies can be adopted to evolve that technology/UI. I think that they should concentrate condensing the interface while improving the overall appeal and usability.

Someone mentioned in this thread that putting tabs on the top would not really add any benefit to advanced tab users. I really thought about that and couldn't really figure out why. If the ui is intuitive it should not matter.

As a last note, I have been working on my own original theme design and find it very difficult to be creative but not to get carried away. I find myself revamping the idea to many times.

Any suggestions or sites that can help guide my design choices that may have helped you guys?
Chromifox Extreme Themes Extreme | Carbon

Home Page Chromifox Themes

DonGato

User avatar
 
Posts: 589
Joined: December 1st, 2005, 9:57 am

Post Posted July 19th, 2009, 3:33 pm

Triton wrote:Someone mentioned in this thread that putting tabs on the top would not really add any benefit to advanced tab users. I really thought about that and couldn't really figure out why. If the ui is intuitive it should not matter.

You see the contradiction there. If you do a change like this breaking all themes compatibility it should have some big benefit, not simply "shouldn't matter". The logic is simple, tabs are related to content, not to browser management so why changing the way this is that perfectly works?

Jeff.Tet

User avatar
 
Posts: 478
Joined: August 25th, 2004, 7:36 pm

Post Posted July 19th, 2009, 4:24 pm

DonGato wrote:The logic is simple, tabs are related to content, not to browser management so why changing the way this is that perfectly works?


In the current ui design of Firefox Tabs on top definitely has its content related disadvantages to ui organization. If you design a ui that Tab = Content and also equal ui elements to assist in content related features. Elements outside the Tab can be related to browser support themes, addons, etc. Also you have elements that might be related to content and the browser like New Tab, Stop, Reload. With that said then you get back to the way that for example Chrome or Ie do it, simulate that appearance and functionality. I not saying the having them on the top is better then the bottom, just trying to get some kind of idea on what ppl need or feel that what makes sense to them.

Chrome or IE give the appearance of a simple ui. People like us (a better understanding to power surfing) want advanced functionality with a UI that can be customized to our own specs. Making firefox simulate or mimic a look like IE or Chrome just says that Mozilla has no intuitive UI ideas of there own. Honestly, they really lack in that department. I personally have never used firefox default theme for anything and always changed for others to something more pleasing.

Of coarse if Firefox can make the ui completely configurable for ex. able to move elements to any place in the ui would open the door for theme devs to create more intuitive designs while adding the eye candy. I think that would be innovation!
Chromifox Extreme Themes Extreme | Carbon

Home Page Chromifox Themes

Euchre

User avatar
 
Posts: 2804
Joined: April 16th, 2006, 12:48 pm

Post Posted July 20th, 2009, 1:07 am

Triton wrote:Of coarse if Firefox can make the ui completely configurable for ex. able to move elements to any place in the ui would open the door for theme devs to create more intuitive designs while adding the eye candy. I think that would be innovation!

As demonstrated by the Vista Aero theme, you can already move elements around to pretty much any place in the UI. Users manually do these tricks all the time with userChrome.css - and honestly I have. I personally think that MS got one thing very right with the new tab button on the right and the tab list button on the left of all of the tabs, but not everyone would and I don't want my personal ideas to become the default. As a matter of fact, I so rarely use the tab list button that I hide it on almost all of my systems. I'm fine with the new tab button being included now, but using an extension to add it previously made perfect sense to me too - I didn't assume everyone else wanted what I do. I just have to guess that the community wanted that button bad enough that the coders put it in - or maybe it was just to be 'me too'.
Gecko
One Rendering Engine to rule them all.

bnZ

User avatar
 
Posts: 17
Joined: July 11th, 2009, 8:33 am

Post Posted July 20th, 2009, 12:25 pm

What you guys think about integrating bookmarks and tabs? For example, in Windows Vista and XP there was fast-access panel (like our bookmarks). it was located near start button. In windows 7 it was integrated with windows list (tabs). Mac OS have this thing too.

faaborg
 
Posts: 97
Joined: December 17th, 2007, 7:09 pm
Location: Mountain View, CA

Post Posted July 20th, 2009, 2:52 pm

I just want to note that these are all just ideas and explorations, and may not be at all representative of the actual theme changes we end up going with in future releases. Since we do everything in the open, it is pretty easy to assume that a high fidelity mockup, wire frame, or even bullet list of ideas is a very formal plan. But in reality we are just exploring things that we could potentially do, seeing what they look like, and getting ready to circulate this stuff to a wider audience to get very early feedback on various potential ideas and directions.

The very talented Stephen Horlander (of winstripe and the 3/3.5 OS X theme fame) is now working full time as a visual designer on the Firefox themes, so this will give us a lot more bandwidth to explore ideas and refine our themes on all of the platforms.

Return to Theme Development


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests