Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Mozilla.org’s new design

Let’s face it, it had to happen some day.
Mozilla.org, the home of Mozilla, now has a glorius new design, adding colour, screenshots and icons which make the page much more pleasurable to look at. If anything, it makes Mozilla look more like an end-user product, and not the tool of a few Linux-orientated webheads.
Firebird gets very prominent positioning, along with testimonials from the likes of Joel Spolsky, who became the Mozillian’s friend after announcing very publicly that he had switched. Interestingly Joel can also probably claim to be the first person to have a Pie/(n)Echo feed for his site.
Camino also gets more of a mention – while it’s lost ground due to the success of Safari (which I hear is a superb browser, if occasionally a little quirky), it’s certainly worth considering, partly due to its more mature rendering engine. It’s not as fast as Safari though, apparently.
BugZilla also gets a box, and there’s a link for Thunderbird. Things like the status update, which, while being useful, isn’t the most interesting aspect of the project, gets bumped down to the bottom.
All in all, I’m impressed, but I think the programming behind the page could have been better. It’s only HTML 4.01 Transitional, and although it does have a DTD it does not specify a character encoding type so it won’t validate. Manually overriding it with the Western European encoding setting leads to 8 errors, which I guess isn’t bad, but then it’s a pretty slack standard to start with. When you consider the browser is standards-compliant, you’d expect a more standards-compliant page. It also has issues with accessibility, due to the use of tables in the layout instead of pure CSS, and the lack of heading tags to mark headings, particularly in the navigation area.
That said, it’s a step in the right direction. Let’s hope that the rest of the site follows suit – as it is, only the front page has been spruced up so far.

2 Comments

  1. I agree with your comment that the redesign of Mozilla to look like an end-user product is a step in the right direction. I also agree its a missed opportunity that the site is only HTML 4.01 Transitional “compliant”.
    However, it is a misconception that you must not use tables to make a site accessibile. Screenreaders can read tables quite well as long as there are not too many nested tables. From a design perspective I find absolute positioning limiting (no footer) and I don’t like the way “floating” collapses when you resize. I think multicol from the W3C will eventually bring “presentational tables” to an end.
    I was under this misconception too until I read the book “Building Accessible websites” from Joe Clark. The book is serialised on the web (without screenshots) at Joe Clarks website.

  2. Interesting. Thanks for that, John.