Mozilla invites people to design Web's future

By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service |  Internet, Mozilla, web browsers

Mozilla is inviting people to take part in a new conceptual series that aims to envision the future design of Web technologies, including browser and user-interface innovations, the company said Tuesday.

As part of the series, Mozilla Labs has teamed up with Adaptive Path to create the Aurora browser, which demonstrates how an Internet browser might look in the future. Adaptive Path is a creative user-experience and design consultancy that is responsible for the recent redesign of the MySpace social-networking site.

In the first of a multi-segment demo of Aurora posted on Mozilla Labs' Web site, a video shows how people might use a browser as a collaboration application, with instant-messaging capabilities available from directly in the browser.

It also demonstrates how people might send files directly to other browser users so they can immediately access them full-screen from within the browser.

Mozilla is hoping that people contribute similar ideas to the concept series for how Web users can interact through groundbreaking user-interface design and the like.

A blog post by Mozilla Labs Vice President Chris Beard explains that Mozilla wants people from all walks of life, not just software engineers or those who can write code, to participate in contributing concepts for the Web's future designs.

"Everyone is welcome to participate," he wrote. "We’re particularly interested in engaging with designers who have not typically been involved with open source projects. And we’re biasing towards broad participation, not finished implementations."

The program defines concepts as taking three forms: ideas, mockups or prototypes. Beard describes ideas as a sentence, paragraph or even bullet points to "kick-start the [design] process." Mockups take ideas one step further, by turning them into an image, sketch or video.

"Words are great, but you know what they say about pictures," Beard wrote. "Mockups offer up a visual and communicate ideas in terms that are just a bit more polished and real."

People also can contribute concepts in the form of prototype applications designed with minimal programming to show off a concept's "moving parts" and allow people to interact with developing concepts.

The only requirement for submitting concepts is that all concepts and related source materials be freely redistributable and remixable under either a Creative Commons license -- a noncommercial license for creative works -- for ideas and mockups, or a Mozilla Public License for prototypes "so that we can all effectively collaborate on the exploration," Beard wrote.

More information about the new concept series is available on Mozilla Labs' and Adaptive Path's Web sites.

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