Mozilla Wants You to Redesign Firefox

The Mozilla Labs, which acts as the idea wing for the organization behind Firefox, is expanding its call for open-source contributions to those outside its base of community-minded coders and techies.  Now, they want to get designers and creative types in on the deal.

When I chatted with Chris Beard, Vice President of Mozilla Labs, he talked about how the basic browser UI really hasn't changed much. In part, that's intentional - when I've talked with other folks at Mozilla, the people with their sleeves rolled and their fingers typing as they get new versions pushed out the door, they tend to say that they and Firefox users are content with the basic browser design.

But the Labs people have a different goal. They want to look at how using a browser might change, from minor details to major overhauls. And they're asking for help.

The Concept Series kick-off calls for design submissions in the form of an idea write-up, an image or video mockup or, if you're really serious, an interactive prototype.  Beard stressed that the Labs didn't just want technical concepts from those who know what can be feasibly coded.  It instead specifially wants design ideas that might shoot for the moon.

"Everything's on the table," Beard says. "The more radical the better."

In keeping with the open-source ideas behind the browser, the Labs isn't paying for these submissions. And of course, there's no guarantee or even likelihood that your idea will make it into the browser. Beard says they're still working out just how the evaluation process will work.

But as he says, those who help move Firefox along tend to do so from a combination of passion - "having an itch to scratch" - and some self-interest.  While you don't get money up front for contributing to open-source projects, pointing to one of your ideas in Firefox sure wouldn't look bad in your portfolio, whether you're an individual designer or a firm.

So if you have an idea or just want to see some of those already submitted, head to the call for participation at the Labs site.

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