Mozilla to designers: Help us build better Firefox tabs

A design challenge seeks new ways for the browser to handle viewing multiple Web sites at once

Mozilla Labs is challenging Web designers to help it find a more innovative way to represent browser tabs.

The Mozilla Labs Design Challenge: Summer 09 aims to find a better way to create, navigate and manage multiple Web sites within the same browser instance, according to a Web site about the contest.

Mozilla, which came up with the concept of tabs in its Firefox browser as a way to manage browsing multiple Web pages at the same time, said that tabs worked well when people were only using them to look at about 10 Web sites simultaneously.

But now, when as many as 20 or more "parallel sessions" on the Web are common, tab technology isn't holding up.

"If you have more than seven or eight tabs open they become pretty much useless," the company said on the Web site.

"And tabs don't work well if you use them with heterogeneous information. They're a good solution to keep the screen tidy for the moment. And that's just what they should continue doing."

Designers can participate in the challenge by submitting a design mockup - "anything from a napkin drawing, to a wireframe, to a polished graphic" - and a video also explaining how the technology works, according to the site.

The winners of the challenge -- both a "Best in Class" and "People's Choice" award -- could show up in future versions of Mozilla's Firefox browser.

The submission deadline for mockups and videos is June 21, and Mozilla will disclose the winners of the awards on July 8.

Mozilla hosted its first design challenge in January. The contest is part of a Concept Series the company unveiled last year to help get developers and designers involved in creating new browser and user-interface technology.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

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