Closed Bug 297972 Opened 17 years ago Closed 9 years ago

Move sidebar to right hand side of browser


(Firefox :: General, enhancement)

Not set





(Reporter: darin.moz, Unassigned)


(Depends on 1 open bug, )


I think the sidebar would be much more useful if it opened on the right hand
side of the browser instead of the left hand side.  Having the sidebar on the
left hand side seems more obtrusive if you are used to browsing without a
sidebar open.  However, with it on the right hand side, it generally doesn't get
in the way as much.  It seems to me that if we moved it to the right hand side,
then extensions that live in the sidebar might be more desirable since users
might not mind having the sidebar always open while they browse.

I'm not a UI expert, but this feels like a pretty good idea to me.  Apparently,
I'm not alone in that :-)

There are already extension(s) out there that implement this:

I think we should consider making this change for Firefox 1.1.
Considering most sites end up being either center or left aligned, putting the
sidebar where it's effect on standard layout is minimized makes sense to me. But
I never use the sidebar, so maybe my opinion isn't all that important ;).
Version: unspecified → Trunk
Interesting idea. I was asked by CTho to take a peek at this discussion.

I'm not fully sure I buy the layout argument. After all, all the sidebar does is reduce the width of the available content area. If a page is left-aligned and 600px wide in a 800px window, and the sidebar takes up 400px, the net effect is the same no matter which side those pixels get taken up, no?

Having the sidebar on the left makes sense to me since there's a cause and effect relationship between the contents of the sidebar and the content area itself. That relationship is usually:

  cause --> effect

reversing it to be

  effect <-- cause

seems a little strange to me.

The ideal, however, IMO, would be for us to make it so that a user can drag the sidebar, much like a tab, to either side of the browser.
Assignee: mconnor → nobody
Similar Seamonkey bug?
I think it should be on the right also. We read from left to right, with Opera, I am able to dock it on the right (or is it on the right by default?). With it on the right, I can leave it there, wasting space, but when it's on the left, it truncates my reading view. Instant messengers have also gotten with the "sidebar on the right" program.
Gavin, Johnath and I were discussing this in the Toronto office this morning, in the context of the new eBay extension, which uses a sidebar.

I think the argument for me is that a sidebar on the left makes my browser "a funny shape" - in that the key bits of UI like "Back" are now no longer above the content area, but in a little L-piece of their own. Instead of my eyes flicking up and down, they now have to go diagonally. And that's jarring.

So whenever the sidebar opens, it makes me feel bad and I want it closed as soon as possible. If it were on the right, I think I would be much happier about it being present. Perhaps, though, it's too late just to switch it unilaterally - we need a "switch sides" button on the sidebar itself, perhaps next to the close button.

mconnor: gavin says you installed an extension to switch it to the right, and liked it. is that correct?

I did like it better in general, though the effect <- cause thing beltzner mentioned is a concern.  I think it depends on what type of content's being displayed, i.e. history/bookmark sidebars feel less correct on the right (though the visual alignment is better.  For content (i.e. tinderbox panels) the right alignment is less obtrusive (note that Vista put the gadget sidebar to the right for what is likely a similar reason.

I don't think its a major issue, but if there's a low-pain way of moving the sidebar to the other side on the fly, I'd be quite interested.
(In reply to comment #5)
> I don't think its a major issue, but if there's a low-pain way of moving the
> sidebar to the other side on the fly, I'd be quite interested.

I have a partial patch to xpfe floating around somewhere that lets you drag it back and forth, but I gave up on completing it because of conflicts between multiple nodes wanting to listen to the same drag events.  If you stripped the drag functionality out of it, it'd be pretty simple...
Depends on: 61847
This sidebar is probably going away. Certainly not moving to the right side.
Closed: 9 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
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