Australis is landing in Firefox Nightly

Madhava Enros

300

Australis in Firefox on Linux, Mac, and Windows

A very exciting set of changes is landing in Firefox Nightly. We’ve been calling the project Australis, but, simply, it’s the next iteration of the Firefox user interface. It’s not quite finished, and it needs more polish, which is exactly why we’re so eager to get it out to a wider set of the community.

So, what is Australis?

1. It’s the most beautiful and detail-obsessed iteration of Firefox’s visual design yet: modern, clean, and comfortable.
2. More fundamentally, it’s a streamlining and simplification of the default interface, to declutter and better focus on how people use a browser today.
3. Finally, it includes a new simple way to customize the browser and make it your own.

There are also many side-benefits: a better more extensible interface model that will accommodate future features and additions; a simpler presentation of add-ons as equals to built-in browser features; and a familiar look and feel across all our platforms so that Firefox feels like Firefox everywhere. We’ll be writing more about all of these in future posts.

Need a quick concrete demonstration of what we mean? Here’s a two minute overview and walkthrough:

Intro to Australis from Madhava Enros on Vimeo
(The same video on YouTube for an HTML5 player.)

Let’s take the main three points one at a time and explain what we mean.

1. Detail and beauty

Australis is largest refinement of the Firefox interface in a long time, and it touches almost everything, from the big picture of overall layout to the tiny corners of icon design.

One of the most noticeable changes is our tab shape. Ours is Firefoxy — organic, friendly, and fluid — and a good fit for the general feel of Firefox.

New curvy tab shape. Background tab in cursor-hover state.

As important, though, is the distinction between foreground and background tabs. Background tabs are visually de-emphasized, leaving a space that’s uncluttered and calm, where it’s quick and easy to see which tab is currently selected. Tabs also slide forward into focus as you mouse over them, so you can better see where you’re heading.

Incidentally, the less cluttered tab bar means that lightweight browser themes look the best they ever have.

Firefox with Glowbug theme installed

2. Streamlining and simplification

Firefox has grown with the web, bringing new tools and capabilities — tabbed browsing, one click bookmarking, download management — to the forefront the whole time. But you can’t just keep adding without pausing, taking stock of what’s broadly used and what’s not, and cleaning up. Firefox, like all software, has accumulated baggage over time, but our users have become seasoned light travelers.

Where does this simplification show up? You’ll see it in the streamlined way that Firefox’s tabs sit higher in the titlebar, getting out of the way and leaving more screen space for web pages.

You’ll also see it in how carefully and sparingly the default toolbar is filled. Some examples have already landed in earlier releases, like the forward button that only appears when there’s somewhere to go forward to, and the download button that shows progress when that’s relevant and hides it otherwise. New, landing in Nightly now, you’ll see this in a more prominent one-click bookmarking button paired with a button to get at those bookmarks.

Left to right: forward button, download progress indication, bookmarks list.

These always-used-by-everybody controls are front and center. Widely- but less frequently-used controls are quickly close at hand in the new (and touch friendly!) menu at far right. For the rest, the 2% use-cases, new simpler customization is easier than ever to find and use.

3. Easy Customization

Firefox can’t simplify by just removing things and still be Firefox — the same less isn’t more for everybody, and Firefox has been successful by being the browser that does things that people, including power-users, want. It’s even in our Firefox Design Values (PDF) (see You Help Make It).

We realized that Australis was the perfect time to make browser customization easier and more discoverable. This provides power and control to people who have specific feature needs and allows them to create their own perfect setup while giving new users an understandable starting point.

To this end, a new, easy and fun-to-use customization mode is very prominent in the interface. We’re hoping that it will serve as an on-ramp for more users than ever to make Firefox into exactly what they need. It works with features we ship by default as well as with features that people add through add-ons. We’ll dive deeper into the customization mode in a future Firefox UX blog post.

Entering and using Customization Mode.

That’s the new Firefox – beautiful, streamlined, and customizable.

What’s landed in Nightly is enough for intrepid users to have a solid day-to-day experience and help us finish Australis off — there’s more to come (interactive mockup!), so please keep trying it out!

Madhava Enros and Stephen Horlander, for the Firefox User Experience team

300 responses

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  1. Johan Sandgren wrote on :

    Why hard code it instead of making it optional? If I wanted a Chrome-like UI, I would be using that, wouldn’t I? I agree with the issues that Tim pointed out earlier regarding the breaking all toolbar related addons and why it would be better to make a brand new browser from scratch rather breaking all those addons. Another issue is the removal of addon bar which have cluttered up the navigation bar for quite a few people. Why fix a UI which already works fine?

    Reply

    1. Batbayar wrote on :

      agree

      Reply

      1. Mel wrote on :

        I third that, @Batbayar and @Johan-Sandgren.

        Reply

    2. Mel wrote on :

      @Johan-Sandgren: darn :-( . all 3 times (counting just the ones I wrote4 on 12-11-2013. I also wrote some other posts (that are replies to your post) on other days) I got the “your comment is awaiting moderation” automated message. I guess it’s because of the links to the screenshots I posted on picpaste dot com showing my Firefox web-browser and how I have it customized in my Windows-7-Pro 64-bit Asus laptop and my Windows-XP-Pro 32-bit Toshiba Satellite laptop, how many tabs I have open, how many tab-groups I have open, how many tabs I have open in each tab-group, etc. etc.

      I really hope that Firefox accepts my posts. And takes heed [and to heart] the feedback I (and others) are posting.

      Reply

  2. Uwe wrote on :

    I’ve been through the hell of the upgrade.

    Unwanted that is.

    I have one setup at work, one at home. Both with each a Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 x64 English versions. I used to work with a Firefox x32 and Nightly x64 installations in parallel on all four computers. I used this setup for years now and have been happy with it. Updates never where a problem. Migrations i did with the help of mozbackup.
    .
    Now with the new GUI i lost the addon bar with information and functions from addons. I can not customise the icons for printing, bookmarks, history, addons because after a restart of the browser they are gone. In the x32 versions i lost the back, forward, reload buttons and needed to put them manually back.

    I can not get used to all of this. For example i used a proxy switcher, cache clearer and domain information in the addonbar which has now disappeared. After a few hours of trying to get used to all of this…

    I deinstalled the latest firefox x32 and x64 incarnations, downloaded older versions, installed everything from scratch, restored all my personal information with mozbackup… and disabled automatic updates.
    I will try the new GUI again if i get my customisations, addonbar and working and functional addons back to where i want them… this does not work for me.

    Reply

    1. Mel wrote on :

      I second that @Uwe. Firefox is going BACKWARDS with this “Australis” “update” :-( :””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””(

      Reply

  3. Steve Blu wrote on :

    I have been using Nightly (Mac) on a daily basis for 2+ years. I was perplexed at the responses here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=755593 and at the implementation here: https://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central/rev/c197150217d6. The “streamlined interface” is not a great improvement, and I am switching to Chrome entirely.

    “3. Easy Customization Firefox can’t simplify by just removing things and still be Firefox — the same less isn’t more for everybody, and Firefox has been successful by being the browser that does things that people, including power-users, want. It’s even in our Firefox Design Values (PDF) (see You Help Make It).”

    This is not what I want. I am perplexed at how development goes in to this new UI to make everything more streamlined and easier to customize, and yet removes customization features. It seems like it should be simple to make items that appear in the browser consistently be placed in any space, but that very thing has been removed. Additionally a number of UI elements are restricted in their possible placement. I really cannot support this direction or the method of getting there. It seems like customization is going away both now and in the future. This is a step backward for what has been a fantastic product for years.

    Important things have been removed, and this is not still Firefox.

    The development tools packaged with the browser are still lagging behind the industry, and doing development requires extensions like Firebug that are getting less support.

    Also, the web developer extension (toolbar) no longer works with the Nightly build. It takes up space, but has no display or functionality. I understand that extensions are developed by others, but some extensions that are in the top 10-15 should probably receive a little effort. Extensions are some of the most beloved features of the browser.

    This does not bring new users to Firefox, but it sure alienates those of us who have been devoted users for years. It is frustrating, and I am saddened by it, but it is the truth.

    Reply

    1. Mel wrote on :

      I *COMPLETELY* agree with you @Steve-Blu.

      Firefox developers have a blindfold over their faces when creating the “Australis” “update” :-(

      Reply

  4. Mike wrote on :

    “More Customizacion” Yeah.. Why can’t I add separators, empty space etc? Why can’t I enable separate addons bar? I can only get ugly scaled, inconsistent with overall interface icons on my main toolbar.. C’mon Mozilla, don’t make Firefox as dumb as Chrome in matter of customization..

    Reply

  5. jack wrote on :

    the new tab too much space (pixel).

    Reply

    1. jack wrote on :

      the new tab “design” too much space (pixel).

      sorry,my english is not very good.

      Reply

      1. Mel wrote on :

        Your English (in that sentence) is perfectly fine.

        And I *COMPLETELY* and *TOTALLY* agree with you @Jack.

        The user-interface (and the “new” tab-”design”) in “Australis” is screen-hogging compared to how the tabs (and user-interface) are in Firefox 26.0.

        Reply

  6. To whoever’s moderating the comments. wrote on :

    Dear Comment Moderator.
    Since I know this isn’t going to be published anyways, I will cut straight to the point.
    Why do you insist on disapproving all comments with negative criticism against Australis?
    Putting the fingers in your ears and pretending there’s no criticism isn’t going anywhere other than showing that you can’t take criticism well. As far as I know censoring isn’t what Mozilla stands for, or has that stance changed?

    Why not allow free speech in the comments and let the users speak out?
    It’s them who will be using the software and therefore should be allowed to voice their opinion on the matter.

    Best regards,
    A disappointed user.

    Reply

    1. Stephen Horlander wrote on :

      Negative comments that have useful feedback are fine. Negative comments that are rants, contain misinformation and/or have excessive cursing are not.

      In other words: Thoughtful critique (positive or negative) is awesome!

      Reply

      1. Kate wrote on :

        Coming back here seeing that my comment is still not approved. I’m not sure what to think about that.
        It contained valid criticism about the lack of customization. It is a real concern. I’m not just saying it to be mean, I hope that something is done about it.

        Reply

        1. Mel wrote on :

          The same thing happened with several posts that I’ve written (and that other people that I know and/or have seen write, have written as well) :-( . Firefox is starting to be biased instead of “for the user (ie. the person that uses the web-browser and is NOT a Firefox developer)”.

          I’m just about ready to quit Firefox and not explore the web altogether. (Or get in touch with people that I know computer-code (until I can myself learn how to program computers and do (and use) computer-code [and coding]) and have them make a fork of Firefox 26.0 (since, as far as I know, Firefox is STILL “open-source”, and can be forked (just like Gnome 2.0 and other things were “forked”))).

          Reply

      2. Mel wrote on :

        I have to disagree with @Stephen-Horlander. I’ve seen TONS of other posts made by other people that have constructive criticism, positive AND negative feedback, no misinformation WHATSOEVER, no slander and/or libel WHATSOEVER, [and practically NO cursing whatsoever] (or if there is, it’s just one or two curse-words. AND they are restricted and/or inhibited and/or put with little stars on them so people can’t figure out the word, or are — how Hollywood would say it — written in a “PG” kind of way) and Firefox STILL restricts it and/or says “these comments are not allowed in our ‘Comments’ section” — like you’ve done with alot of my posts regarding Australis.

        What the eff is that? :-S . Not to mention, my opinions are not just my own. They are shared by alot of other Mozilla-Firefox users (both “new” ones and “longtime” ones that have been using Firefox as far back as version 1.0 or 2.0 (which in my case, I’m the latter; I’ve been using Firefox ever since [starting with] version 2.0)).

        Reply

    2. Mel wrote on :

      I *COMPLETELY* agree with you.

      Plus, as I mentioned in another post:

      The same thing happened with several posts that I’ve written (and that other people that I know and/or have seen write, have written as well) :-( . Firefox is starting to be biased instead of “for the user (ie. the person that uses the web-browser and is NOT a Firefox developer)”.

      I’m just about ready to quit Firefox and not explore the web altogether. (Or get in touch with people that I know computer-code (until I can myself learn how to program computers and do (and use) computer-code [and coding]) and have them make a fork of Firefox 26.0 (since, as far as I know, Firefox is STILL “open-source”, and can be forked (just like Gnome 2.0 and other things were “forked”))).

      Reply

  7. Kirk M wrote on ::

    Gave the nightly (clean profile) a try on Linux Mint 16/Cinnamon RC. Here’s some basic thoughts:

    Reserving my opinion on the new UI as I’m pretty sure it’s not finished yet but I am glad that it remains customizable.

    Not happy about lack of Add-on bar. Seems to me that the Add-on bar could simply have an option to auto-hide it. Serves the same purpose.

    Understanding that no add-ons have been updated for the new UI, in the current version of AdBlock Plus, the options are only available via the Adblock icon that can be placed in the Add-on bar or navigation bar. In Australis, the icon can be placed in the navigation bar but it disappears after a restart and it’s not in the customization panel. Only Restoring the defaults in the customization panel returns the icon to the panel. Just saying.

    Major: The new nightly build with Australis seemed to render sites rather slowly as compared to Firefox 25 and not render some at all. For instance, the back end (Admin) of my WordPress powered website would not render at all in the nightly build while it would render with no problem in Firefox 25. Again, just saying. I’m more than familiar with Firefox nightly builds. ;-)

    I’m initially pleased with the new design but caution is advised. I believe that changing the UI too much may backfire on you. Users stick with Firefox because it does not resemble Google Chrome or the latest version of IE. Sometimes minimal can be too….minimal.

    Reply

    1. Stephen Horlander wrote on :

      Nothing about the UI change should affect page loading performance. Probably something else going on there.

      Reply

      1. Mel wrote on :

        then check the code! (and have other people who are NOT Firefox Developers but KNOW computer-code check the code. I myself have seem the lack of performance in Firefox Australis compared to “older” versions of Firefox (as far back as 8.0, 6.0, 4.0, etc.) and can vouch [without any hesitation] what @Kirk-M said).

        Reply

        1. paladin wrote on :

          Australis’ performance is really good when compared to older versions. I checked it myself using the “system monitor” in ubuntu and FYI I’m not a firefox deevloper. may be you should double check the concerns before criticizing the community brainchild.

          Reply

      2. Kirk M wrote on ::

        Stephen – Sorry for the late reply, you know how life demands attention now and then.

        After 2 updates to the nightly, the browser (version 29) began rendering as fast as the official release (25 at the time). I seriously doubt anything was going on since the nightly had it’s own clean profile while Firefox 25 (latest official release at the time) ran on it’s own profile that I’ve been dragging around from one install to another for the last year and uses about extensions.

        When Australis first landed in the nightly I removed my nightly test profile and started clean. At the time of my first post the nightly build was really dragging as far as rendering goes but the browser (chrome) did not “lock-up”. I checked the same sites in Firefox 25 using it’s own profile and rendering was nice and quick as usual.

        Who knows? It could have been a change done somewhere in the core code (JIT compiler, etc) or, possibly, it could have been something in the initial version of Australis that was “arguing with itself” so to speak and causing an overall slow down.

        Either way, the nightly builds are running quick and stable.

        Reply

  8. Hassun wrote on :

    The introduction video claims the new version of Firefox will let users configure their browser “exactly what you want it to be”.
    Therefore I fully expect to be able to configure my Firefox client too look and behave like this:

    http://i4.minus.com/iBoykm7fcnR4O.png

    If I can still configure Firefox like this we will have no problem at all. If you intend to not make good on your claim and force the users to use the new configuration only it could very well mean the end of my long-lasting loyalty to mozilla.

    Firefox is the best internet browser I have ever used and I support the Mozilla manifesto. Please let the users configure their browsers as they see fit.

    Reply

    1. Mel wrote on :

      @Hassun: that’s how i had my Firefox web-browser in my Asus P43E-XH31 laptop, until — because of my 16:9 aspect-ratio 14.0″ LED-backlit LCD screen — I had to ‘disable’ the “Menu”-bar and use just the [orange] Firefox button (but I’m glad [as hell] that I can press “Alt” on my computer-keyboard and automatically the “Menu”-bar will appear again. Despite what Mozilla says the orange-Firefox-button DOES *NOT* have ALL the commands [and menu-options and selections and choices] that the “Menu”-bar does).

      As soon as I finish building my desktop computer (that I wanted to have Windows XP Pro 32-bit on it but unfortunately will have to have Windows 7 Pro 64-bit on it since no ‘legal’ copies of XP-Pro-32-bit (or 64-bit for that matter) are being sold ANYWHERE), I will install Firefox on it and put it EXACTLY how you have it in the screenshot you showed us [and posted for us to see].

      Reply

  9. Shingen wrote on :

    Well, this comment hasn’t been approved for 5 days now.
    Apparently it applies to at least one of these:
    “Negative comments that are rants, contain misinformation and/or have excessive cursing”
    sooo…
    if 1. yes, i called it a “rant”, is it an auto-delete? don’t make me laugh.
    if 2. if you think anything here is misinformation, then maybe try to answer and explain where and how i am wrong, i’d love to be able to use Australis (well, generally the newest versions) without getting angry at the lack of features. you don’t even have to publish my comment for that and reply, you can just send an email.
    if 3. apparently 2 (yes, TWO) “curses” of slightly more vulgar version of “poo” in 540-word-long comment is now an “excessive cursing”.
    or maybe there’s something horribly wrong in calling an idea “stupid”?

    “Oh noez, curses, i can’t let other adults to see this comment!” ._.
    so the ‘censored’ version:

    Okay, so now time for my little rant.
    I’ve tried Australis right after it’s very birth in UX, and again a while later.
    I absolutely detested how it looked and worked like, but i HOPED it’s just because of its early days, and these things will be further developed/fixed.
    it was also extremely annoying to come back to normal version of Nightly, because both native Firefox elements and all of my add-on icons were messed up.

    anyway, what exactly i’m talking about:
    1. ‘pretty’ view
    Firefox is a web browser, a TOOL, it doesn’t need to be pretty and curvy. furthermore, if making it pretty and curvy means having less tabs visible, it should not be changed into something like that.
    it’s like making pincers with a shorter handle in a weird shape, and to color them pretty. just pointless, to not say ‘stupid’. oh wait, i just did.

    2. no ‘small icons’ option.
    bigger icons means there’s completely unused space above and below address bar and add-ons = less space for website’s content. screens are horizontal, and websites are vertical. you can’t waste the space pointlessly like that.

    3. all-in-one address bar
    whose GENIUS idea was that back/forward and stop/reload buttons will now be ONE INSEPARABLE ELEMENT with the address bar?
    i mean… really… i don’t think i should need to say anything here.
    reload/stop button’s place is near the rest of the navigation buttons, and the “forward” button popping up and moving whole address bar is annoying.
    the bookmark star placed at the and of the address bar was actually a good idea once, but apparently you decided to scrap it, fantastic. and now i can’t even have the ‘add to bookmarks’ button in any place without ‘bookmark menu’ together with it. GREAT.

    4. no add-on bar
    really, the small bar at the bottom of the screen, that you could easily hide, which would hold all of your add-on icons to be easily accessed, was great. now these icons takes 1/3 of my screen’s width (one of the reasons being no ‘small icons’ setting as well), and making the address bar shorter. great experience.

    5. lies
    quote from the post: “3. Finally, it includes a new simple way to customize the browser and make it your own.”
    the only new thing we can customize now is the menu.
    the menu that for some reason now has huge icons to tell what is what, as if we couldn’t say from the text.
    the menu, that needs to be much bigger than the old one, to have all of the same options available.
    on the other hand, we lost a [censored]load of actually important features to customize, for visibility and usage. bravo, Mozilla.
    basically the only other thing left to customize without about:config is the order of icons, which btw. also works like [censored].

    So it’s time for me to downgrade my precious Nightly to yesterday’s version, and start to fix MY ACTUALLY CUSTOMIZED BROWSER.

    I’ll check Australis again in… half of a year. maybe. kthxbai.

    PS: btw. you really could fix (re-add?) this feature that you could make tabs ‘pinned’, by moving them into ‘pinned tabs’ section, without this damn clicking being necessary… it’s been like a year already ._.

    Reply

    1. Shingen wrote on :

      so apparently this one was published immediately, was the last one not just because of an automatic anti-curse filter?

      Reply

      1. Alan wrote on :

        The design team have been so overwhelmed by the attacking nature of much of the feedback, that they’ve taken the (quite justified) decision to judiciously filter everything – for their sanity more than anything else.

        What they really want from us is data which can be easily parsed and collated. e.g. lists of precisely how changes have negatively affected our workflow or general user-experience, and why those changes are not just superficial things which we’ll forget all about in a few weeks (for the record, I believe anti-curvy tabs sentiment is superficial, but that’s just my opinion – I think they’re pretty).

        With some editing I feel that your post would fit this nicely, however yes, in its current state it is hard to separate data from emotional language (i.e. ranting).

        Reply

        1. Shingen wrote on :

          I agree that they are ‘pretty’, but my point was not that “they’re different, and i’m afraid of changes, so change it back”. it was that being pretty is unnecessary, so it shouldn’t be no. 1 priority for a web browser, and that with these changes there are less tabs visible, so it’s harder for user to comfortably use the browser, if he has more than few single tabs.

          these previous rectangular tabs fit everything very well.
          whole space of the tab was used by the favicon and the title of the page. tabs were separated by like 2 pixels, so it was all clear, compact and visible = usable.

          Reply

    2. Batbayar wrote on :

      true

      Reply

  10. Sam Stuewe wrote on ::

    Okay, I like a lot of the changes, but I’m a little worried about some of them. First of all, it looks like I can not move the menu button up to the left side of the tab-bar, which I would greatly prefer. This is because I would prefer to disable the navigation bar (I use vimperator). Having the navigation bar is redundant and not being able to have the menu would be unfortunate just because I’d like to have a more minimal interface. This update is supposed to involve more user customization capacity, but it seems like some of it might have been unwittingly removed.

    Does anyone know if these are planned to be changed or if I might be able to work around them?

    All the best,

    Reply

  11. btriffles wrote on :

    Respectfully, I strongly disagree with the entire Australis design philosophy.

    1. Graphical Style
    Widgets should be native (or conform as much as possible to the native OS) for reasons of usability, familiarity, accessibility, performance, etc. Australis on OS X may look similar to Australis on Windows (which has questionable value), but it looks out of place on every OS.
    Moreover, the use of larger and “touch friendly” controls on desktop OS designed for mouse & keyboard just wastes space and makes it harder to use.

    2. Element Hiding
    The excessive removal of “clutter” makes everything harder to use because expected features are missing or hard to discern. I don’t see any need to dynamically hide the forward button (causing unnecessary movement), make background tabs hard to distinguish, or further hide the menu and Firefox’s numerous features.

    3. Removal of Customization Options
    By simplifying the customization (presumably for basic users who have little need for customization), you have removed numerous options for serious users: button locations, button sizes, add-on bar, tab strip location, etc.

    Additional Thoughts:
    - The amount of resources you had to put into Australis just to match the performance and partial functionality of the previous design is astounding, which usually suggests to me that one is doing something the wrong way.
    - With every add-on users have to install to restore functionality, the browser becomes less stable and harder to update, moving people towards the competition.
    - I feel you have designed Australis to fit the needs of the most basic user to the detriment of all serious users. In fact, this blog post reads almost exactly like one of Microsoft’s posts on Metro, which I feel has the same issue.

    Reply

    1. Victor50 wrote on :

      I endorse this comment. A pity you have no buttons to do this. Would save some reaction writing and reading.

      Reply

    2. Mel wrote on :

      I *COMPLETELY* agree with @Victor50 and @btriffles.

      Reply

    3. Kirk M wrote on ::

      Now that’s how to properly give feedback and I pretty much agree with what “btriffles” stated.

      I don’t think Australis is bad or wrong overall but it’s pretty clear that this “One (name your OS or application) For All Devices” mantra is being taken a bit too seriously, with Desktops and Laptops with non-touch interfaces being pushed to the back burners as they were actually “has-beens” when in reality, these types of machines will remain relevant through the best part of another decade or possibly more.

      Serious consideration for non-touch PC users, meaning keyboard and a mouse, still needs to be considered. It’s a fine and good thing for the UX designers to begin moving towards a touch friendly interface for Firefox–get everything in place and make it stable for the day when everything has or includes a touch interface. But how many millions (billion?) of non-touch PCs are out there right now and, despite all “post-PC” hype, how many more are being bought every day? These users need a more “traditional” interface that they can customize to make it comfortable for them and their work/play flow.

      That being said, I’m not a developer by trade and I’m certainly not going to tell the UX team how to do their job, that would just be rude. But I can’t believe it’s just an “either/or” situation (“Only the Sith think in absolutes” ;-) ). I have to believe there’s a way to have both via customization of the browser.

      (sorry…tl;dr)

      Keeping the Menu bar was a good decision. Taking away the Add-on bar was not imho, not only because adding all the extension icons to either the navigation bar or tab bar takes up way too much space from the bars’ primary function but it forces all the extension authors that have coded their extensions to add the icon to the Add-on bar to now recode their extensions so they add to the navigation or tab bars instead.

      Keeping the Add-on bar and being able to hide it would have been a better decision.

      Okay, no rant here. Just an “old geek” stating his opinion.

      Reply

      1. Mel wrote on :

        @Kirk-M: you mean “Only a Sith deals in absolutes” :-P

        Reply

  12. Sheba wrote on :

    Well over all I live the changes but they’d be more ‘fun’ if my customization changes actually RETAINED after I closed and reopened my browser it’s lame that every time I adjust my add-on buttons (no status bar aside….that another annoyance) and close my browser–or worse when it happens to crash, it always reopens w/ my button settings reset from what I changed…..<_<

    Reply

    1. Stephen Horlander wrote on :

      Sounds like a bug reported with some add-ons. It’s being looked into.

      Reply

    2. Kirk M wrote on ::

      The problem lies in the add-on (extensions) authors coding their extensions to set the icon to the “Add-on” bar as their primary location. That is for those extensions that have additional icons like AdBlock Plus, NoSquint and DNTme for example that can be placed on the Add-on bar.

      A good example is the current release of AdBlock Plus. You can initially place the ABP icon on the navigation bar or tab bar of Australis but close Firefox-nightly and re-open it and the icon is gone from the bar as well as the new customization panel. You have to actually click the “Restore Defaults” button to get the ABP icon back and you have to re-place again, etc.

      Checking with the ABP developers, they explained basically what I stated in my first paragraph and they have released a developer build that (more or less) removed the code that set the ABP icon on the Add-on bar as it’s primary position and recoded it for the “Australis” interface. There’s a bit of paraphrasing there of course but it gets the idea across.

      Reply

  13. Trpos wrote on :

    I see a lot of hate on Australis on the internet lately. I agree that the “chromisation” of all browsers is not the trend to follow. I kinda like the new design and I completely agree with the same UI on all OS policy. But, these curvy tabs? Why? I liked the design of Firefox because of its pixel effectivity and now it’s all gone. I think that if you kept the old tab shape it would be not only.better accepted, but also it would bring some kudos to Firefox for originality. Look how Opera ended up. They “chromed” the browser and now the old users have migrated and new users aren’t coming.
    So, my proposition is, switch to Australis, but keep the old tab shape. Who’s with me?

    Reply

    1. Alex S. wrote on :

      I’m with you.
      Curvy tabs are awfully space-inefficient. At least, please reduce the curves’ radius!
      All-Chromeish look makes me sad.

      Reply

    2. Mel wrote on :

      I’ve personally used Firefox in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X, Linux Mint 16 “Cinnamon”-desktop-interface, and Linux Mint 16 “Mate”-desktop-interface, and Mozilla Firefox is EXACTLY THE SAME user-interface on ALL of them! O_O . (So, “starting with Australis, we [at Mozilla Firefox] will have ONE user-interface for ALL the computer-operating-systems that our web-browser is available on” is bee-ess).

      Reply

      1. Mel wrote on :

        @everyone: the comment I posted 2 seconds ago is a reply to @Trpos’s comment, by the way.

        Reply

  14. Tai-Jan wrote on :

    Great design and good job . I really like it and I even went on to install Firefox Nightly.
    It turns out pretty stable and “fast.”

    Personally I think there is a good rationale behind this interface overhaul.
    There are always criticism no matter what you have done. Some people are just very vocal to any changes and not being very constructive.

    Reply

  15. Ajay Kumar wrote on :

    I LOVE the new interface. The UI was one of chromes biggest selling points. And now Firefox has one that seems even better!

    Reply

  16. Brad wrote on :

    I have to agree with people saying the ability to customize is significantly reduced. I have been using UX now for a long time, and I have tried to get used to things as they will be, but the lack of “Small Icons” and hard-wiring the navigation buttons to a specific place on the URL-bar has been very frustrating. I don’t mind the curved tabs, but I want my old URL bar back. And honestly, I liked the Firefox button much better than the new tablet-friendly Chrome-like menu button on the right. I had a great extension that let me pick exactly which items were in the old menu button.

    Hopefully as the new interface gains more users there will be more people willing to write extensions to undo all the damage done by the new interface.

    Reply

    1. GiT (Geek in Training) wrote on :

      I am working on an addon to do just that. (well, besides the menu, anyway.) I hope to release it before Australis hits beta.

      I have, though, published one that adds back the addon bar: https://addons.mozilla.org/addon/the-addon-bar

      I know it seams like a lot of damage has been done in the area of customization with the new Australis theme, but at the same time it has brought several improvements; and it is made in such a way that it is easier to make an addon that makes it evan more customizable than Firefox used to be.

      Reply

  17. Baliw wrote on :

    How to put reload/refresh button back on left side where are “back” and “forward” buttons (it’s so far from back button now). That how i was customized for myself so i don’t understand what new version improved in customizing if i cannot change how i like? I also miss “nighty button” or “tools” button without clicking ALT on keyboard everytime i want go to tools menu or to back for history closed tabs?

    Reply

  18. Mohammad Fahmi wrote on ::

    No title bar, no love
    please bring back the title bar, or at least give the option to
    and I prefer title bar that appear without needing to install Classic Theme add-on

    Reply

  19. Paul wrote on :

    I have not been a big fan of Australis (espicially the decision to remove the status/add-on bar). I think it is a step backwards on Windows 8.1, however, on KDE it is a big improvement and for the first time Firefox looks semi-decent on KDE.

    Could we please have some more KDE love on the Linux side? Survey after survey show it to be the most popular Linux DE. It would be great if we could have an option to put the tabs in the title bar like on Windows (without having to rely on buggy and poorly maintained add-ons), and if the vertical space could also be reduced.

    Reply

    1. Nate wrote on :

      “Survey after survey show it to be the most popular Linux DE”. Interesting. I work at an office with about 200 linux users and I don’t see many people running KDE – just a few. Most people used to be running gnome, but much like firefox, they abandoned the users and enforced a crappy interface, so now everyone is using Cinnamon, Openbox or XFCE.

      Reply

      1. Mel wrote on :

        I second that @Nate. That’s what I’ve seen so far. Alot of people are using [the] “Cinnamon” desktop-interface, or the “Mate” desktop-interface, which I’ve ALSO seen them (the people I’ve seen using other Linux desktop-interfaces besides–and/or–instead-of “Unity” and “KDE”) use.

        Reply

  20. Caleb wrote on :

    Is it just me, or does the new Australis design look pretty much exactly like Chrome does right now with a few changes: slanted tabs, context menu on right side, etc.?

    Reply

    1. Mel wrote on :

      It’s not just you. I say the same thing.

      Reply

  21. Chris wrote on :

    Wow. That new UI actually looks pretty decent. Been hearing a lot of negativity from nightly users. Nothing lasts forever. Keep up the great work, guys!

    Reply

    1. Nate wrote on :

      It isn’t really a “looks” problem. It’s more of a usability problem in that the elements are in non-nonsensical locations and cannot be moved. Also on a desktop most things are too small. Not the tabs though, those must be enormous on a low res screen.

      Reply

  22. Hawk wrote on :

    Will I finally be able to look up words in the OS X dictionary from text selections in Australis?

    Reply

    1. Stephen Horlander wrote on :

      Unfortunately a separate problem.

      Reply

  23. mr marco wrote on :

    cool was about time . the old deprecated look was hurting firefox a long time already.
    i like this new look. the curvy tabs look much better , although i dislike the vertical stripes they seem to forget what tabs look like in real life hehe.

    lets hope the seamonkey people also choose for some new looks like this
    instead of hanging in the past.

    Reply

  24. Maxim wrote on :

    I hate the new interface!
    I would be ok with any changes to the interface if you leave the ability to fully customize it as before.
    I really loved Firefox because it’s unlike the others – it was customizable. Now it’s heading a wrong direction.
    Please leave the ability to move things around!
    I really need all my buttons on left, tabs on bottom, old style menu bar, movable bookmarks bar etc.
    Please don’t kill the browser with this interface!

    Reply

    1. Batbayar wrote on :

      agree

      Reply

    2. Antikapitalista wrote on :

      There have also been some suggestions about doing away with XUL completely…

      Reply

    3. Mel wrote on :

      unfortunately @Maxim it seems like they (the Firefox developers) are going ahead with it anyway :-( (referring to your comment “Please don’t kill the browser with this interface!” and the rest of what you said).

      Reply

  25. Rob wrote on :

    Why is anyone in 2013 releasing a browser without an omnibar? A separate searching field is a waste of space, see: unnecessary visual clutter.

    Reply

    1. Carson wrote on :

      You’ve been able to search from Firefox’s URL bar for a few years now…

      Reply

      1. Mel wrote on :

        I second that @Carson. I wonder where on Earth was @Rob when Firefox implemented that feature (aka. the “AwesomeBar”). It’s been available ever since Firefox 3 (my source: http://www.dria.org/wordpress/archives/2008/04/17/628/).

        Reply

    2. Antikapitalista wrote on :

      Not really, Rob!
      This is definitely an advantage. Forcing a single “omnibar” upon all users would yield precisely the kind of backlash that you can see throughout this discussion.

      In fact, I like it very much. A separate search bar helps me remember what i have searched last. It reminds me about how long I have been killing time browsing the internet…

      Anyway, I am not sure what you mean by “wasting space”. For me it is the situation in which fairly oft-used controls are hidden by default. I have a large monitor on my desktop (1920×1080) and it is really huge – in the sense that it is larger than my field of view. Yet it is nothing extraordinary, but rather fairly common (along with 1920×1200) on the desktop.
      So I do not need more “screen real estate” or more “dumbed-down” user interface; instead, I want more user convenience and rather trade that void space for a place to put my controls within easy reach. And it is no visual clutter, it is reclamation of voidness.

      Unfortunately, there has been a sudden influx of self-styled user interface experts who apparently cannot tell the difference between a smartphone display and a desktop monitor.

      Reply

      1. Mel wrote on :

        I second your entire comment (@Antikapitalista). Especially the part “Unfortunately, there has been a sudden influx of self-styled user interface experts who apparently cannot tell the difference between a smartphone display and a desktop monitor.”).

        Case in point: Google Chrome. Windows 8. Ubuntu “Unity”. etcetera. etcetera. etcetera.

        (and now — unfortunately — Mozilla Firefox :-( ).

        Reply

    3. Nate wrote on :

      Fortunately you can still remove that, as I have done so.

      Reply

  26. Batbayar wrote on :

    I have one idea, if you really want curved tabs, make it only to active tab and other inactive tabs can remain as current.

    is it possible? i am web designer with some UI knowledge and i think i can be made effectively.

    Reply

  27. violet wrote on :

    It’s easy to get all the functionality back. Just download the 64bit nightly version of firefox that was released the day before Mozilla’s catastrophic fail on November 18th, 2013.

    http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/2013-11-17-03-02-03-mozilla-central/firefox-28.0a1.en-US.win64-x86_64.installer.exe

    Reply

  28. AESouza wrote on :

    I notice that I can no longer have tabs and the url bar on the same row. I can still do so with the oneliner extension (h t t p s : / /addons . mozilla . org /en-us/firefox/addon/prospector-oneLiner/) but I can’t do so from the Customize panel.

    That feature is a space saver in terms of screen area devoted to web content as opposed to “chrome”.

    Thanks for reading!

    Reply

    1. Max from Argentina wrote on :

      Tested…

      Nice!!!

      Reply

  29. Nate wrote on :

    So I finally got around to building a new firefox again and while I do not hate the interface itself like so many others do, I am finding that I cannot stand the lack of customization it is enforcing. I’m sorry, but the one element I really wanted to move from the far right side to the left side is the menu element (I guess that’s what you call it). I know that this is on the right in chrome, but it doesn’t make sense there either – I am not a right-to-left reader. Also, why is the back button part of the location bar? It also seems to be in the wrong place as far as I’m concerned.

    Oh, and the buttons are way too small, even on my 1080 monitor which I don’t really consider particularly high resolution anymore.

    Reply

  30. Design is good improvement wrote on :

    Many thanks to the design team for the much needed face lift to firefox. the overall design looks quite good. don’t worry about all the negative comments, internet has more trolls than intellects and its not by any means a true representation of people using firefox.

    I wish firefox would use a different font to make it look much more beautiful.

    Reply

    1. Eric wrote on :

      So negative feedback now counts as trolling???

      Reply

    2. GreyKnight wrote on :

      There is no need for name-calling. Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn’t make them a troll. This goes double for something as subjective as UI design.

      Reply

  31. James Harris wrote on :

    I’m excited for this new theme. It looks very modern, very simple, and cross platform. For someone coming from Linux all I can say is thank you! I’ve been waiting forever to have my firefox look as good as it does on Windows and Mac.

    Reply

  32. Samuel wrote on ::

    I like the new look and feel of the FFx. I could be the only one, I started using UX with Australis a few months back and haven’t gone back to the “older” UI.

    Two comments I’d like to make in regards to the comment on being able to see less tabs.

    Actually more like one comment/suggestion to FFx devs

    I think that tab panorama mode is the most wonderful thing, I wish it was a little more accessible and that firefox actually guided users through using that mode. More than just showing them the feature, emulating something similar to the vertical tabs to show some kind of grouping to the user so that they know how to get back to where they were before.

    The current implementation requires some good memory and remembering the shortcuts. If it was a drawer on the browser say on the left(just to pick a side) that showed all active tab groups then when i moused over to the section it expanded to show me the ‘live’ tab tiles so that I can pick which group to go back into that would make it more discoverable.

    Back to the less tabs argument, a smarter and more discoverable tab panorama mode would remedy the less tabs argument.

    My two cents.

    I play web developer in the day time, and 99.99% of my life I’ve been/am a space/process optimizer.

    – this was written right before bed, so it might not be really cohesive, but the major points have been made

    Reply

  33. fly web wrote on ::

    greate updates but i hope you will improve the bokmarkeing folders listing

    Reply

  34. anonymous wrote on :

    Don’t really mind the new tab looks, but would like everything else to stay the same.

    Reply

  35. John Elvis (not a relative) wrote on :

    I’m probably an average user, I’m not a web developer, I’m not a beta tester, but I’m probably the right user for Firefox. I run quite some add-ons (10+) which I’d never do without and also just as many scripts mostly not written by me, and I’d never do without those either.
    If I wasn’t interested in running things my own way and being able to set them up the way I want, being the most user friendly or not, I’d using Explorer or Chrome like most of the people I know. They just care about browsing, and those two are great at that but at the same time they lack the customization options and tons of customizable add-ons Firefox can rely on.

    Now I get the impression from most comments here that this is fading away a little, that your going mainstream rather “streamlining”. Well if that’s the case just don’t. Easy fix, do not force user to update, or if you feel like your user base is getting slimmer and slimmer, develop two browsers, one stripped down and as “modern” as you want, the other for more advanced users. You can actually merge them into one and only browser, just do not forget what made and still makes Firefox special.

    Reply

  36. WorknMan wrote on :

    Just like Chrome, this is going to be unusable in remote desktop if you run the browser maximized. Please make the menu bar optional.

    Reply

  37. Jordan wrote on :

    I think Australis is a step backward for Firefox. I don’t want Firefox to look the same everywhere. I want it to look and feel native everywhere. Australis menus do not look like Windows, Mac, or Linux menus. Popovers are not native UI elements on Windows, but Firefox is adding more of them. Even the current downloads popover looks out of place on Windows (it looks like it belongs on Mac). I liked tabs on top and the Firefox button, but don’t like the changes coming in Australis. Pretty soon, Internet Explorer and Safari are going to have the best interface on their platforms. I plan on switching from Firefox to avoid Australis (and I used Firefox when it was called Firebird).

    Also, the reduction of customization in Australis hurts one of Firefox’s selling points. I’m mainly interested in extensions being able to modify the tab bar (like Prevent Tab Overflow does), but also in rearranging toolbar buttons. Personally, I like tabs on top, but people should still be able to pick tabs on bottom. Why remove features?

    Reply

  38. Jeff Carlsen wrote on :

    Overall, I’m a fan of Australis. It’s attractive, easy to use, and well thought out.

    That said, I can see some of the reasoning behind the criticism in regards to customization.

    Australis does a excellent job of handling the primary from of customization, which is separating things into features you use a lot, use occasionally, and never use. The most common features and extensions go into the toolbar. Occasionally use ones end up in the menu, and those you never use can be hidden away. This is great.

    Where the customization is weak is in the ability to organize features by context. For example, as a web developer, I might want to keep the developer tools, web-developer toolbar, firebug, stylish, and greasemonkey functions together, separate from addons and features for consuming news and blogs.

    For this, I could make use of separators, labels, and additional custom menus and toolbars.

    Some recommended enhancements:

    1. Separators with optional labels – On the toolbar, these would create white space between icons. In a menu, they would be a horizontal rule to separate groups of icons.
    2. Custom Toolbars – The user could create as many toolbars as they want, and place them on any edge of the window.
    3. Custom menus – Like a toolbar, the user could create additional drop-down menus to sort features by context.

    All of these features are conceptually compatible with Australis, don’t create complication for those that don’t need them, but provide a lot of the customization that people are accustomed to. Probably more.

    Reply

  39. Dawesi wrote on :

    Nice… keep refining… then release. ;-)

    tabs need to be square these days or mostly, round is oldskool. (until next year)

    love the new drop down icons, would be great to optionally turn it back into a list for the list monkeys out there, but I prefer this visiual drop down to any other browser ATM.

    Reply

  40. Jaroslav Matura wrote on :

    The only thing I actually like on Australis is the new tabs look.

    Other things… Not that much. I will go even as far as to call Australis an ABOMINATION and CRIPPLIFICATION of the amazing browser Firefox used to be. Who was dumb enough to make a move to remove the add-on bar? Who was impertinent enough to remove small icons mode for toolbars? Who was so presumptuous and rude to merge back/forward, stop/reload, and URL bar together? Whose stupid idea was to move the bookmarks star icon outside of the URL bar? Who is so blind that they need a huge icons in their main menu? We’ll probably never know.

    I have no idea where did Madhava find the boldness to say “all tabs are high up in the browser to make more room for the web below”, when Australis takes up 20 more pixels than the current Firefox UI. That’s just outrageous.

    Mozdevs say they are “debloating” Firefox by removing these useful features. But where really lies the truth, when they’re adding even more bloat by implementing the SocialAPI, which is a feature noone actually uses? Instead of working on useless things you should direct your attention to actually useful projects, such as Electrolysis, Shumway, Rust/Servo development, Memshrink, and Snappy.

    When Australis hits the stable channel, I’ll just ditch vanilla Firefox and move onto Pale Moon. I’ll even get the bonus of 64-bit optimised build that way.

    Reply

    1. Enkouyami wrote on :

      64-bit versions of firefox are available in nightly builds, in all builds for linux, and not sure about for Macs.

      For Windows & Mac & Linux you can use:
      http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/latest-trunk/

      Other Windows x64 builds of Firefox
      Waterfox http://www.waterfoxproject.org/
      http://www.firefox64bit.com/

      Reply

    2. Max from Argentina wrote on :

      Agreed with the useless SocialAPI, agreed with pay more attention to useful projects like those…

      I think that the new UI it’s appealing one, and You can take the bars back with some work-around. I perceive this new UI not only an approach to the trends, but some kind of “exploration” to fit this superb browser into mobile devices, specially the small one’s…

      Just a thought…

      Reply

  41. Edward wrote on :

    I literally just moved from chrome to firefox today and I fell in love with the aurora build. It’s almost exactly like chrome but with a WAY better new tab page and youtube thanks to the add-ons. I guess that I’ve never had the add-on bar so I can’t really comment on it not being here but if you do change some aspect of australis please keep an option to make it look like how it looks now.

    Reply

  42. Jake wrote on ::

    While I like the new look and many of the interface changes, I have one big complaint – the stop/reload button really needs to be with the other navigation buttons (home, back/forward), and not halfway across the screen as part of the address bar. It’s clumsy, isolated from other navigation controls, and hard to find if you don’t know where to look. It was a bad idea when IE made it part of the address bar, and it’s a bad idea in Firefox.

    Better yet, make it something that can be moved, so people who want it on the right can have it on the right. Customization!

    Reply

  43. Enkouyami wrote on :

    I really miss the Firefox button as well as the addon-bar. I liked having the addon-bar as an option.

    Reply

  44. Doug wrote on :

    I want Firefox to be 64 bit and multi-threaded.
    Pretty please.
    Thank you.

    Reply

  45. Michael wrote on :

    It’s always good to see Mozilla working on Firefox and trying new things, but please don’t make the same mistakes as Opera >12 and Windows 8. Continue to make it a great browser for all platforms and to listen to the community!

    Reply

  46. eric wrote on :

    It is pretty cool what you have done and it almost looks like the firefox I dream of.
    But there is one point I still do not understand: why the “preferences” menu is in a separate window instead of a menu or even better in a tab like the “customize” menu.
    Well I work in Linux and if I could suggest another enhancement wich could be awesome: the possibility to customize keyboard short-cuts.

    However, it is a very exciting “new” browser and I really like your work, good job folks

    Reply

  47. Farzad wrote on ::

    Nice changes :)

    Reply

  48. Max from Argentina wrote on :

    Besides all most every “connected” person in this world have seen (and at least used once) Google Chrome (so, they’re familiar with the UI), Australis, until where I’ve tested, it’s much more faster than previous versions of Firefox.

    I’m a happy user of Firefox from the beginnings, even before (Mosaic, Navigator, Phoenix [I loved that one] ), and until where I know, this browser has been in the leading edge since… all ways!!!

    For some time I’ve developed some little apps with VB (4, 5 & 6 v.) and that was good in those days (Win2k, WinXP). Right now, after lot of time, I need to develop new little apps for my work. I’ve choose Firefox from start-up as default browser and as test-bed for this HTML5+CSS3+JS+jQuerty apps, not only because I’m used to, but because it offers me a good, fast and stable platform, with sharp new functionality, that I can take advantage, some thing that I can’t do with other browsers around (IE, Chrome, Opera).

    Very happy to see this improved UI, that points to familiarity with today’s trends, and still conserve the robustness that I’m used to see in the product :)

    Reply

  49. EagerUser wrote on :

    When are we getting this update? I love the look :)

    Reply

  50. Noitidart wrote on ::

    What happened to the animated height expansion of the custom panel menu when you open a sub menu like developer menu in the main panel, I don’t see that behavior in Windows XP or 7, it’s real pretty and I would like to take advantage of that animated auto size height for an addon I made. Can you please tell me a bit about it.

    Reply

    1. Noitidart wrote on ::

      Oh wait never mind the animation is there but animation is very choppy :(

      Reply

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