Refined Firefox 4 user interface mockups appear

Remember those Firefox 4 user-interface concepts we talked about this summer? Mozilla designer Stephen Horlander has been quietly refining them, and he's posted his latest work on his personal blog. Check it out:

The previous mockup's Chrome-style "Page" and "Tools" menus have given way to a single, all-purpose "Firefox" menu at the top left, a design that echoes what Microsoft did with Office 2007 as well as Windows 7's WordPad and Paint apps. Horlander came up with this sketch for the menu's possible contents.

Other changes include the resurrection of the separate search bar. There, Horlander says the location bar (a.k.a. Awesome Bar) offers "an increasing a mount of functionality," so having a clear distinction between the two may be easier for users to swallow. Horlander also suggests Firefox 4 will let folks customize the interface by putting tabs at the bottom and enabling a bookmarks toolbar in either tab configuration. The post includes mockups for those possible designs.

Incidentally, Horlander's blog post also notes, "The evolutionary work that was supposed to span [Firefox] 3.7 and 4.0 has now shifted full focus to the latter." Sounds like the Firefox 3.7 mockup that was posted in July may never see the light of day, and Firefox could retain its current visual style until version 4 shows up.

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