Mozilla is currently working on the tablet version of Firefox, and Ian Barlow, user interface designer at Mozilla, has just shown off the user interface for this tablet version. I can assure you – this might just be the first tablet browser interface actually designed for, you know, tablets.
A little while ago I reviewed the iPad 2, and one of my main concerns with the device was the fact that for all the talk of post-PC this and post-PC that, the iPad, and its user interface, is a strictly ‘WIMP’ affair – and not a particular good one at that.
My gripe is that not only is iOS incredibly inconsistent and not particularly attractive-looking, it’s also clearly not designed with tablets in mind. Sure, buttons are larger so they’re easier to hit, but everything else is lifted from how WIMP interfaces are designed – the most important controls are all at the top, causing lots of arm strain.
They might be baby steps, but the Firefox tablet interface Mozilla is currently working on at least acknowledges it is going to run on a tablet. When in landscape mode, the tabs are on the left-hand side, allowing you to switch between tabs with your left thumb, while your right thumb does the scrolling. The back and forward buttons are still not tablet-optimised, but this sure is a heck of a lot better than whatever Apple and Google have come up with so far. In portrait, everything moves back to a relatively standard affair.
Tablet Firefox isn’t done yet, and will be geared towards Android tablets. No release date is set.