This is a question of brand identity and UX Design. Mozilla has recently (relatively speaking) invested heavily in UX. To the point that it actually managed to snag an employee or two from Google. So now that they have teams of people behind user experience, the user is set to be empowered.
As with any UX changes, the push for change is often met with hardship. You only need to look at the furore that happens every time Facebook so much as tweaks a design let alone changing it.
Mozilla has enough man power in tow regarding UX now, that there are different teams and it’s two of those teams that I focus on here. Desktop and Mobile. The two teams have undoubtedly taken different approaches to their vision of what Firefox is and this has been enabled by Mozilla by failing to establish brand identity. Something which I previously spoke about.
You would think that natural evolution would see one team assimilate another and be reborn something like a Venn diagram. However it would appear that Microsoft may be to blame for this natural evolution failing to take place. Thanks to a rule of native code only and then banning the GPL license from their Market Place (App Store).
This has meant that the User Experience, while designed well, is designed differently from Desktop to Mobile. While the bulk of features trickle from Desktop to Mobile and thus Mobile team is often inspired by Desktop. It doesn’t mean that there’s UX consistency. This varies from small things like using different shades of colours for security level indication depending on platform, it also extends to bigger things like the lack of key-hole on Mobile.
Sadly though, not just for the end user of Firefox, but also other Mozilla product users, like that of Thunderbird and also Mozilla as a whole. It’s only delaying the inevitable. Touch screen workstations are quickly become a reality. Whether laptops at home or work, you’re likely to own or at least be using one regularly in as little as five years by my estimates. And Mozilla will be forced to be ahead of the crowd on that one thus time runs short. It’s at that point that Mozilla will be forced to look at making their design consistent across touch experiences and that will spread further. Brand identity consistency will stretch first across Firefox and then across Mozilla.
When it happens it will be a good thing for everyone. It means that teams will be shuffled and people good at designing on a massive scale will do while people that are better with intricacies will concentrate on those while people be overseeing coordinating and keeping consistent. Hopefully it will promote the switch to being completely API dependent, but that’s another subject. But when it happens, we’ll all benefit from a better User Experience across the board.