I may be a bit late to the game here (in tech nerd terms), but I just got around to installing the Firefox 4.0 Beta this morning. I actually came across the mobile version in the Android Market on my phone last night and decided to give it a try on my desktop as well. While browsing through the list of new features I noticed the following item:
- Tabs are now on top by default on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
In previous versions of Firefox, tabs for multiple pages in the browser were located directly above the content of the page, but below the address bar and search box. In Firefox 4, the tabs have been moved up, now residing above the address bar and just below the menu commands (File, Edit, etc.). Like in this diagram:
While the debate about tab position has gone on literally for years, Mozilla chose to take a decisive step forward in the name of usability. I won’t go into all of the reasons here (you can red them on Mozilla’s blog), I was rather impressed by the depth of thought they put into the decision. This is just one more example of developers shifting their focus to user experience rather than just flashy eye-candy that looks nice but doesn’t actually contribute anything. That’s in line with a trend among my clients, who are less concerned with my Photoshop skills than they are about my ability to create a website that attracts and engages their visitors.