Australis is landing in Firefox Nightly

Madhava Enros

303

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

303 responses

  1. Jonathan Shariat wrote on ::

    Wow this looks like a great step forward. Congrats to the UX and UI designers who worked hard on this.

  2. Pedro wrote on :

    The tabs I love. I’m not sure how more customizable it is to older iterations. But man, still hiding information from the user sucks.

  3. Nope LOL wrote on :

    This looks terrible. So glad I’m still on Firefox 8.

    1. Acido wrote on :

      Glad you are NOT enjoying the beauty of the Web. hahaha

    2. THAC0 wrote on :

      Why are you still on Firefox 8? If you don’t want the new UI, fine, but you’re like 17 versions worth bug fixes, security updates, HTML 5 improvements, major performance enhancements and dev tools out of date.

      How can you be glad about that?

  4. indy wrote on :

    Since the screenshots are only on Mac, it isn’t clear what happens to the “Firefox” menu in Windows. I hope it doesn’t all go into the chrome-style drop-down at the far right, The subtle Firefox menu is sleek, simple, easy to navigate, and most importantly easy to find, Things that have never been true in Chrome. Accessing settings, extensions and bookmarks have always been more difficult in Chrome.

    1. Nathan wrote on :

      The menu looks exactly the same as it does on the Mac. Same goes for Linux. The interface is exactly the same across all 3 platforms.

      1. Tom wrote on :

        Your screenshot indicates otherwise. On Linux, the window title bar remains its normal height. On Windows, the window title bar is shrunk to about 2/3 of its normal height. On Mac OS X, the window title bar is shrunk to a mere 1/3 of its normal height.

        It looks very pretty, absolutely, but I can already tell that it will be harder to use on my Mac. I left Chrome primarily because I got frustrated with always dragging tabs when I meant to drag the window. (I suspect that Australis will be even a little worse than Chrome because the top of non-selected non-hovered tabs are completely invisible, so it looks at first glance like the draggable area is even bigger than it actually is.)

        Please don’t shrink title bars down to an unusably small size. Standard-sized draggable title bars exist for a very good reason.

        1. bochecha wrote on :

          On GNOME you can drag a window by clicking **anywhere** inside that window, as long as I’m holding the SUPER key while doing so.

          I would be very surprised if Mac OS X didn’t have something similar.

          With this kind of feature from the environment, applications like Firefox can reduce dramatically the areas of “drag handles” like the titlebar, and as a result give much more space to the actual content.

          Hope that helps. :)

          1. Tom wrote on :

            Yes, I know that most window managers in X support this, which is why it’s strange that Firefox does a *better* job of maintaining the title bar there. That’s the one platform that doesn’t need it!

            Mac OS X doesn’t have this feature. According to various responses I’ve found (e.g., on superuser.com), there are third-party extensions that can replicate some of this behavior on Mac and Windows. (It would be impossible to replicate all of this behavior, at least with a standard keyboard and without losing any normal behavior, because the Mac already uses all modifier keys + click as some other feature.)

            I think “modifier key + drag anywhere” is a fantastic feature, and so for Linux users, it makes perfect sense to make the title bar smaller. Windows and Mac OS don’t have this feature, and so for them, it doesn’t.

            It would be like removing all menus from the Firefox window, on the basis that the Mac has a menubar at the top of the screen already. That’s great for the one platform that has it, but it’s harmful on the two that don’t.

    2. Madhava Enros wrote on ::

      This interactive mockup may give more of a sense of the UI on Windows:

      http://people.mozilla.org/~shorlander/mockups-interactive/australis-interactive-mockups/windows8.html

  5. Pablo Massa wrote on ::

    I install Nightly in W8 but no Australis UI present :(
    http://d.pr/i/bmHY
    ¿Didn’t work for W8 yet?

    1. Madhava Enros wrote on ::

      Hi there – it’s landed, but the Nightly build with it is still being spun up. Try later today or (to be safest) tomorrow.

  6. Cristian wrote on :

    I like it!

  7. Dom Diesel wrote on :

    Fine, switching to Chrome now. If you force a Chrome like Design on me where i have to increase my small carefully choosen amount of addons i have installed to get back Basic Customization i can also use the real thing.

    Not getting this cheap chrome clone. You have not even be able to reach the amount of CSS3 and HTML5 features support of the “original” – and in real user made benchmarks Chromium starts way faster compared to Firefox and loads sites faster.

    No thanks, you can keep your Mozilla Chrome, i stay with Firefox 27 until it is not possible to watch sites anymore properly with it and then make the fulltime switch to Chromium.

    Means also i ban at my company Firefox from all 50 machines and replace them with Chromium.

    Well done Mozilla!

    1. Madhava Enros wrote on ::

      Hi there -

      All existing customization via add-ons continues to work. We’re making the basic built-in customization tools easier to find and use. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

      Madhava

      1. Wilderness wrote on :

        Some questions:

        1) Right now, I have the +- zoom control on my Firefox toolbar. Will I be able to put it there again in Australis? This is important for me, as many web pages unfortunately display as a narrow column on my 21.5 inch iMac and I therefore use the +- zoom to zoom them in very quickly (two seconds), but if I have to open something first to do that it would slow this process down and ruin the Firefox experience on my iMac.

        2) Will Firefox’s excellent bookmarks management be the same? This is the most important and useful feature that sets Firefox apart from all other browsers. I have thousands of bookmarks organized inside of folders inside of folders inside of still more folders. There is no other browser that is so fast and easy to use in organizing mass quantities of bookmarks. If you mess this up, I am done with Firefox.

        3) I don’t like the basic idea of Australis, which is to dumb down the browsing experience, as the video really makes clear. Why would you want to make Firefox like dumbed down Safari, Chrome, and IE? You had the one browser that wasn’t dumbed down, but now you don’t have that anymore. Why should anyone use Firefox now?

      2. Dom Diesel wrote on :

        As i said, the addon route for basic customization is unaccaptable for us. My company values only first class solutions, that mirrors also in the programs we are using.

        We have been able to customize Firefox very much without addons until Version 22. Now Mozilla goes the path of second class solutions in terms of customizability.

        No basic customization inside the browser without addons, we use the browser which is more future proof in technological aspects – aka Chrome.

        You guys have gone too far.

        No one needs a second chrome, there is already one!

      3. Rob Crowther wrote on ::

        > All existing customization via add-ons continues to work

        This doesn’t appear to be true at all – Web Developer Toolbar is completely fubar after the upgrade.

      4. Andrew wrote on :

        > All existing customization via add-ons continues to work

        Will multi-line/grouping tab plugins like the TabBar still workable with the Australis?

        My greatest concern is that Mozilla UX command doesn’t seem much concerned about usage patterns involving more than 10 tabs at once. What about 20 tabs? 50 tabs? 100 tabs? and all are visible and not hiding in the $h%tty unusable Panorama, so I have them at my sight and remember about them?

        For example, I never ever saw a designer mockup which shows how browser looks and feels with at least 50 tabs opened in one window, and it saddens me because it show UX designers care only about trendy, glamorous and lightweight teens who use the browser for Twitter and Facebook only, and don’t care at all about engineers who have to keep opened hundreds documents and webpages at once, every single day.

        Without a good built-in tab management in FF, we “tab-junkies” have to use plugins, and what I’m afraid the most is that the Australis will break them. Convince me in the contrary, please.

        1. Mel wrote on :

          I’m one of those “tab-junkies” you are talking about. And the unfortunate and sad thing is, I can’t use any other web-browser (because no other [current] web-browser besides Firefox 25.01 can handle it).

          My laptop’s specs are Pentium 4 2.8GHz clockspeed, 2GB of DDR RAM, 120GB 5400rpm PATA (commonly referred to as “IDE”) hard-drive, B/G-standard built-in WiFi-network-card, built-in 56kbps modem, 15″ 4:3-aspect-ratio LCD screen (and have a 17″ CRT 4:3-aspect-ratio monitor connected to my laptop’s VGA-port because the LCD screen doesn’t display video anymore (as in, all I see is a black screen. It doesn’t display anything anymore), “combo” DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, and the usual protections: AVG Antivirus Free Edition 2014, Spybot Search & Destroy 1.62, Malwarebytes Antimalware Free Edition (version 1.75.0.1300), SpywareBlaster, Comodo Firewall Pro [free version], latest version of JAVA Runtime-Environment, latest version of Adobe FLASH (by installing it DIRECTLY from the .exe “installation file” instead of using that “Adobe Downloader” stuff).

          Like I said in another post, one day I decided to take the time and count how many tabs I had open (and how many tab-groups I had open in “Panorama” or whatever you call it now), and I found that I had over 400 tabs open (and that was a typical day, by the way. I wasn’t doing anything special or “Engineering” or other stuff. Which I *AM* going to college for and taking courses in and other stuff (other institutes and learning centers, distance-learning, etc. etc.), by the way), and more than 10 tab-groups open (if memory serves me, that particular day, it was like 12 or 15 tab-groups open).

          Now, my mom’s laptop computer: Intel Centrino Duo 2.8GHz, 4GB of DDR2 RAM, 320GB 5400rpm SATA hard-drive, DVD-RW drive, B/G/N-standard built-in WiFi-network-card, 14.1″ 16:10-aspect-ratio LCD screen, latest version of JAVA Runtime-Environment, AVG Antivirus Free Edition 2014, Spybot Search & Destroy 1.62, Malwarebytes Antimalware Free Edition (version 1.75.0.1300), SpywareBlaster, Comodo Firewall Pro [free version].

          My damn brother (for I don’t know WHAT reason) installed Google Chrome on it. While running maintenance (unfortunately I’m the tech-guy for my family and extended family) on it, I found Google Chrome installed on it and decided to try it out. It choked up after I opened the 2nd tab. Literally, 2 tabs, it couldn’t handle. (And I’m not talking “ooo, graphics-intensive” websites. I’m talking “two tabs of http://www.fanfiction.net in each tab”). Chrome blows and sucks, Firefox (at least the current “latest stable release” (ie. 25.0.1)) rules.

          PLEASE, for the love of God and Humanity, don’t fix what ISN’T broken, and don’t release Australis. The changes you’ve made aren’t worth it. I’ll get working on taking a screenshot of my Windows-XP-Professional-SP3 Firefox 25.0.1 with all its tabs and tab-groups open so you can see just how many I have and so you can see EXACTLY how I have Firefox set-up (in my ‘old’ Toshiba Satellite laptop), and how I have Firefox set-up in my Asus laptop (Intel Core i3 “2330M”-processor (“Sandy Bridge”) 2.2GHz clockspeed, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 500GB SATA2 5400rpm hard-drive, B/G/N-standard built-in WiFi-network-card, DVD-RW drive, 14.0″ 16:19-aspect-ratio LCD screen, latest version of JAVA Runtime-Environment, AVG Antivirus Free Edition 2014, Spybot Search & Destroy 1.62, Malwarebytes Antimalware Free Edition (version 1.75.0.1300), SpywareBlaster, Comodo Firewall Pro [free version], latest version of Adobe FLASH (by installing it DIRECTLY from the .exe “installation file” instead of using that “Adobe Downloader” stuff)).

    2. Quinn wrote on :

      This is just a nightly build. Until it hits FF stable, it’s not a problem unless for some reason you run a company on an unstable browser. By the time it hits stable, it will be an excellent and finished product.

    3. Skoua wrote on :

      I really wonder what people do with their Firefox when they say it’s unusable. Do you have 28 tabs opened with 1080p YouTube videos loading at the same time?

      Firefox is really fast, maybe Chrome launches faster but who launches its browser 37 times a day?

      Anyway, congrats for the new design, it looks great on OSX.

      1. NoAlias wrote on :

        I do.
        I only launch my browser when I need to view a web page. Otherwise it’s closed.
        I’m not sure what to think of this new design. It will surely take some time to get used to it.

    4. jh wrote on :

      If you think it looks like chrome and thats bad, how does switching to chome fix that?

      If you really hate the look that much:

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/classicbookmarksbutton/?src=userprofile

      Problem solved.

      1. Dom Diesel wrote on :

        Because if there is now an inferior Chrome clone, the original is much more attractive. Better HTML5 and CSS3 features, more performance. Australis clones only the Restrictions in Customization and copys the design, but brings nothing of value.

        And my company only uses quality 1++ software. Australis makes Firefox into a very low rated Browser joke. And we are not using copyware! We use originals.

        1. Dom Diesel wrote on :

          So there is not any reason for me to use “Firechrome”! Right now we are in the process of switching the over 5000 workstations of our customers in all europe we maintain away from Firefox over to Chrome/Chromium.

          We will not support Googlezilla! Period!

  8. Michael wrote on :

    I think it looks great! Can’t wait to try later today on the Nightly channel.

    1. Michael wrote on :

      OK! Updated Firefox Nightly and I have Australis. It’s awesome, I really like it. But, It’s a shame a have lost a some px of content because the tab bar (top of window) has a greater height. It’s noticeable because of my 10″ Netbook. I used small icons.

      Should report a bug regarding this? Smaller tab bar (top of window) on 10″ or smaller screens?

      Michael

      1. Michael wrote on :

        By using “Classic Toolbar Buttons” add on helps a little to get more content and making tab bar smaller. I’m on a 10″ screen, that’s why I used small icons.

        https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cstbb/

        Michael

  9. Dr. Insano wrote on :

    Is there anyway to hide the “Customize and Control Nightly” button? It doesn’t provide any functionality that I need.

    Apart from that, not really sold on the new UI, maybe it will grow on me. The tabs look bigger now, maybe it would look better if the height was adjusted a bit.

  10. Vincent wrote on :

    Hurray! I’ve been testing Australis since it was in UX and I’ve enjoyed using the minimalist themes (especially the solid colours) in Firefox. The team has done excellent work on this. I hope that we continue to see this design being refined in the future.

  11. Ryan wrote on :

    Wow, that looks amazing. My faith in Firefox/Mozilla is obviously well placed. Customisation mode in particular seems like a brilliant idea; I can’t wait to install the nightly build.

  12. Tom Hunkapiller wrote on ::

    It’s a little heartbreaking to see the old UI go, but I’ll give the new one a shot.

    Either way, you lot do good work. Keep it up!

  13. Ruslan Bekenev wrote on :

    This is awesome changes. But. I use Australis now and tabs looks like have no many pixels. Sorry. English is too hard for me. http://screencloud.net/v/tJ69 – see. this screenshot. See? Left and right sides looks not so smooth :(

  14. Ryan wrote on :

    I’m probably missing something, but I just downloaded Nightly and I don’t see Australis… Just the boring old Firefox UI with a blue Nightly button in the corner. Do I have to turn this on somewhere?

    1. Stephen Horlander wrote on :

      Might have to check for the update again. It went out a little later than usual.

  15. Omar wrote on ::

    the great thing on firefox new loook is that we can customize it as we want it to be.

  16. AM wrote on :

    Something sad I see on screenshots. The most powerfull GUI feature with tabs is ability to 1d – horizontal navigation. I mean if you want to switch tab with your pointer you just throw cursor to top of screen and move it in one direction left or right. In screenshots I see you have to aim to narrow tab little below top… Thats terrible. Nowadays most people use browsers in maximized windows.So this must be common feature. Also you have to abstract from platform window managers and unify all stuff like titlebar button sizes etc. If you want I can put those suggestions to firefox bugtracker. ))

    1. Stephen Horlander wrote on :

      On Windows if you maximize your Window then the tabs move to the top of the screen. In non-maximized mode we leave some room for window dragging. On OS X and Linux pushing to the top of the screen isn’t possible.

      1. David Naylor wrote on ::

        Nice. I was hoping you would (still) push tabs all the way up in Win. Great!

      2. AM wrote on :

        I’m not sure I understand word possible just like you. Because it’s possible indeed. Just window without decorations and that’s it. Is it possible to contribute? I’d like to do that on Linux if Firefox team don’t. That would be nice optional feature.

  17. Adonis K. wrote on ::

    This is my opinion, take it in whatever way you want:
    The “let’s hide everyone under a dropdown menu, it’s true UX epicness” is back. I don’t want to look at a great UI, I want to have a great time using that UI.

    1. Stephen Horlander wrote on :

      Hiding infrequently used items in some fashion is unavoidable if you want to have secondary and tertiary UI; e.g. classic menu bar. I would like to hear, from your perspective, what is more hidden now than before though?

  18. Will Rubin wrote on :

    While I like the direction, I’ve switched to the Tree Style Tabs extension with tabs on the left as all my empty space was on the sides. Tabs on the left should be built in too.

    1. J T wrote on :

      Here here! I have been a big fan of the Tree Style Tabs extension for years, and this single thing is what has kept me firmly using Firefox and not thinking about switching. I look forward to the day when this is just plain built-in.

      I guess I’d like to comment to the Firefox UX designers that I’d really like to see this tree-based style of workflow be considered for tab management. I routinely open and keep open 30+ tabs in trees because it matches how I search and cull results. Yes, it wastes space on the side. It’s not especially minimalistic. But it’s amazingly productive, and is so far the best option I have for tree-style tab management on any browser.

      That said, I’m going to try out the nightly right after this and see how the new UI is coming along. I’m crossing my fingers that this will magically appear one day.

      As a fellow developer, thank you for all your hard work in making an awesome product and also in taking time to continually improve it!

  19. Bèr Kessels wrote on ::

    Desktop-integration: There is one thing I find prettier then a beautifull application: consistency. All my (Gnome/Ubuntu) applications look, feel and act similar. But not Firefox. Or Thunderbird.

    For me, the user, that adds clutter: I now need to switch contexts between every application: Was there some Hambuger-icon, or did it use the global-menu like 90% of the applications? Why is this application using the ssystem-wide scrollba(behaviour) and is the scrolling here different? Confusion, albeit small, is bad for productivity and the overall experience.

    For you, the developers, this adds overhead: in maintainance, development and whatnot: You could’ve just re-used what was already there (and have the additional benefit of the user getting an experience she is already used to in the rest of her desktop). Had you re-used what is already there, it would not only save you development-resources; it would probably even lower the footprint of the application: not having to drag along its own tab-management, widget-drawing and so on.

    There is one group, I don’t know its size, that will benefit from this: a group of users that uses firefox for a very large majority of their work, and do that across multiple OS-es in their day-to-day computer use.

    There is a reason safari, midori, epiphany and, yes, even IE often outperform Firefox in boot-time and memory-footprint and so on: they add a very thin layer of Standard Desktop Widgets around a rendering engine. I’d love to see Firefox moving more towards that area, rather then further away from it.
    Firefox, nor Thunderbird, are OS’es, Desktop Environments. They are merely one of many applications *on* a desktop. Please keep the user in focus, and consider that many such users use your product amongst many other software. And that for all these users proper integration and recognisability are more important than having one, sole, application looking, acting and working different from all others they use during the day.

  20. Gwenhael wrote on ::

    I lost the ability to customize the location of the back & next page arrows. The default position on the left side of the address bar makes no sense to me and I love Firefox for allowing me to position them on the right side of the address bar where they belong. Please tell me it’s just a glitch that’s being worked on.

    Other than that I like it, keep on the good work!

    1. Matěj Cepl wrote on ::

      Generally, looks pretty good, but +1 here … how can I get rid of Back/Forward arrows only? It seems that removing the buttons removes also whole URL textbox.

    2. Rob Crowther wrote on ::

      There are bugzilla some defects about this, like 940078, currently marked as RESOLVED WONTFIX. Nice to know they’re keeping an open mind.

  21. Kyle Kress wrote on :

    I really miss “Use small icons” though—I know it’s listed as WONTFIX in Bugzilla, but I really preferred them.

    1. zero wrote on :

      Oh, I was about to ask about this. That’s terrible.

    2. David Naylor wrote on ::

      Wow, I had almost forgotten about that setting! An old inheritance from the ~1998 browsers. Hardly necessary on today’s high-res screens I would have thought?

      1. kshade wrote on :

        Why wast screen space, especially horizontal screen space, by having bigger icons though? It’s the first thing I do on a new Firefox installation, besides turning off the bookmarks toolbar.

      2. Symmetry wrote on :

        It’s not because of lacking resolution at all, it’s just that some of us prefer having our tool and navigation bars really that small. I am very much not enjoying the fact that they removed the Use Small Icons setting.

      3. bozo wrote on :

        … think phones.

      4. Dr. Insano wrote on :

        This setting was very useful if you are surfing the web on a 11 inch MacBook Air. You not using that setting != not useful.

        1. Kyle Kress wrote on :

          Yeah, I’m on a 10″ Chromebook right now where the real estate is limited. I don’t see much use in all that extra padding above and below the Awesomebar. As a designer, I can respest white space, but I don’t want it in my browser chrome–I want my chrome about as ‘gone’ as humanly possible and compacting that space is an easy way to achieve it. I’m sure a little TLC in my userChrome file might do the trick, but I’m afraid addons may no support pixel-fitted 16×16 icons any longer and scaling the icons down will introduce undesired fuziness. I like the general feel and reasonings behind new layout though. I guess I like my browser UI like I like women–slim and useable.

  22. Yokhannan wrote on :

    To save me installing it just to know, could you please let me know if the “history” button can be moved to the bar and not hidden under the dropdown. Thank you.

    1. Stephen Horlander wrote on :

      Yes you can move almost all of the items between toolbars and the menu panel.

  23. Mac Guy wrote on :

    Is there a reason the Mac window has almost-square corners on the top, instead of the normal rounded corners? It looks weird both in the context of the normal round corners on the bottom of the window, and next to other windows on OS X which use the normal rounding on the top as well.

  24. injust wrote on :

    it’s almost 2014, do we really still need a search bar?

    1. K wrote on :

      If you don’t like it, you can remove it. Being customizable is what makes Firefox so great!

      1. David wrote on :

        I agree but think it should be off by default if they truly want a streamlined interface by default

    2. Pramod wrote on :

      Absolutely, I asked the same damn question , why a separate search bar????????

      1. Wyatt wrote on :

        I wouldn’t want to live without the search bar on work’s intranet. The DNS resolves all sorts of innocuous words that you might search. Also, my search bar opens to a new tab, which I prefer.

    3. Rob Crowther wrote on ::

      Yes.

    4. James wrote on :

      Yes. I have seventeen search engines in the Search Bar and the drop-down selection makes getting them simple.

    5. Mel wrote on :

      Did you know that whenever you type something in the “combo” address-bar/search-bar your “search”-query is instantaneously sent towards whatever search-engine you have picked for your search (instead of just — “I want to visit http://www.weather.com, so I’ll go to it. I’ll just type it in to my web-browser address-bar and go to it. Not search it nor anything. Just go to it”).

      That’s what Chrome (and every other web-browser that has “1 box for searching AND website-address-going”) does.

      Personally, I can live without that invasion of my privacy. If I want to search something, I’ll search it, thank you. If I want to visit a website, I’ll visit it; I don’t need to have you guys (the web-browser maker) sharing my search-details with anyone, thank you, and/or, sending my search-details to anyone (and/or, anyone I don’t consent to have my search-details), thank you.

    6. Mac Guy wrote on :

      No web browser yet has been perfect at guessing whether something I type is meant as a URL or a search, so I personally love that Firefox lets me be explicit. But you can turn it off if you want.

  25. philipp wrote on :

    i think the tab-bar background makes australis quite ugly on windows 7 aero (probably the platform where most firefox instances are running).

    1. Carson wrote on :

      I agree. Why is it that ugly gray-ish color? I’m hoping that this will change before Australis hits Stable.

  26. AI wrote on ::

    A very nice change to the UI!
    Can’t wait to use the new firefox :-)

  27. Mario wrote on :

    Really guys? Curved tabs? When is this failed UI experiment going to end already. And why waste so much vertical space on giant aliased curved tabs? Right now you can have simple Firefox window that maximizes vertical space and that gets out of the way

    http://imgur.com/pSzvcAi

    and with these changes, we will have to install additional 3 adons just to make Firefox look decent and be user friendly again.

    1. jh wrote on :

      Just one:

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/classicbookmarksbutton/?src=userprofile

  28. Deekshith Allamaneni wrote on ::

    Sad to see the addon bar go.
    I will be glad if you can bring back the addon bar in Australis.

    1. Jean wrote on :

      + I totally agree!
      + it’d be nice to have an in-content library and view source.
      + The bookmark star/menu fusion is a good idea but it made sens to be inside the url bar.
      + shadows don’t seem to work on Linux (xfce at least)
      + “Highlight all”, “March case” and close cross are too far from the search input (but I guess it’s not a question about australis).

      Good work btw, and “bon courrage”!

  29. Guhan wrote on :

    Please add the ability for tabs on the bottom!!! I tried browser.tabs.onTop to false in about:config…and it no longer works. God no! Please!

  30. Malchik wrote on :

    Whilst I find the UI quite attractive the loss of customisation and the addon bar make me very sad. I also find the new menu button a complete waste of time – can it be removed? In all honesty, the only way to make the product semi-usable – until Aris releases his addon – is with the menu bar enabled.

    Bottom line, the UI may be a step forward but the continued ‘dumbing down’ of the functionality is a major regression. Soon, there’ll nothing left of the main product, it will just be a container for addons that put back everything you’ve ripped out.

    Sad day for firefox.

  31. WandersFar wrote on :

    I’m all for minimalism and streamlining but Australis does NOT deliver.

    In fact, it does just the opposite. My browser has just updated, and my toolbars are thicker and there are more of them.

    Prior to the update, I had my tabs, icons and URL all on one slim bar.

    After the update, I’m stuck with two bars, one for tabs and one for icons and the URL, and THERE IS NO WAY to consolidate back to one bar.

    You’ve effectively doubled Firefox’s UI for me, and decreased my available vertical resolution.

    This is a terrible step backward. AT THE VERY LEAST you need to make it possible to combine the URL and tab bars again. To achieve your goal of minimalism and streamlining, you also need to address the thickness of the bars.

    As it stands, Australis is unusable for me. I’m either gonna downgrade or install an extension to undo the changes. I am very disappointed.

  32. t3hmrman wrote on :

    Hi, I just updated from the PPA (so I could run stable + nightly side-by-side), but I don’t see the UX changes in the PPA-updated version…

    Versions are the same (28.0a1)… Thought I should note this somewhere

  33. Paul Morris wrote on :

    Congrats on landing this! As an add-on developer it will be good to have an add-on’s widget or button appear in the main toolbar by default. (I assume that’s what will happen.) The “easier customization” changes should also help in this area too.

    I have two bits of constructive criticism on the visual design FWIW. Maybe these kinds of things can be changed with a theme?

    1. I’m not a fan of how the close button (“x”) is visible for inactive tabs. Why not hide these until you hover over a tab?

    2. I don’t really like how the straight vertical line separating inactive tabs becomes the curved edge of the tab when you hover over it. (Try moving your mouse back and forth several times so it goes from one to the other.) Not sure what could be done about this, short of always showing the tab outlines, or just omitting the straight vertical divider lines.

    1. Shingen wrote on :

      @1. Just like in older Firefox, you can control it by setting ‘browser.tabs.closeButtons’ pref in about:config to different values.
      afaik it works like that:
      0 – x only on the active tab
      1 (default) – x’es on every tab, until you have too many of them, which makes it visible only on the active one.
      2 – no x’es at all. you have to close the tab by ctrl+f4, ctrl+w, clicking it with middle mouse button, or right click -> close tab. i use it, and like it a lot.
      3 – single x on the right of the tab strip, closing the active tab on click.
      4 (or any other number) – just like in 1, x’es on every tab, but they don’t disappear if you create many of them.

  34. Jewlander wrote on :

    I actually really like the way this new UI looks but I’m curious if there is a way to toggle the tabs down to the bottom of the toolbars instead of on top? The old method of editing the browser.tabs.onTop value in about:config doesn’t work anymore.

  35. Walker Brownian wrote on :

    I found it annoying to see the icon for “go forward one page” only shows up when “go back” button is used. It causes the URL input box to shift back and forth. I would prefer a more consistent layout and keep the buttons visible all the time.

    For the history, I prefer to have an option to show it in the sidebar like the bookmarks for easier searching.

  36. Lirodon wrote on :

    I don’t like how this looks on Windows. Your theme is meant to go with Windows 7 only; it does not go with the Windows 8 appearance at all, which only uses solid colors and square widgets.

    1. Nate wrote on :

      It looks to me like it is pretty much the same on the 3 major platforms, so it might be kind of hard to make it match on everyone’s desktop. Making something look like Windows 8 probably isn’t a recipe for success anyway.
      I’m guessing you could install a theme though.

    2. Syst wrote on :

      Maybe W8 does not go with the rest of its applications?

      Conforming to W8 appearance is not a standard, also would it be a stupid thing to do.

      Which browser other than its IE self does try to fit in woe8?

    3. Awebb wrote on :

      I’m glad it doesn’t. There are other operating systems FF has to be aesthetically compatible with. Solid colors and square widgets are like living room wallpapers with brown colors and flower prints. It reminds me of an era in the past, when looking at things was unpleasant and depressing. I wished developers would stop shoving “UX” down it’s customer’s throats and start having “customizability” as a main goal again. As long as Firefox supports themes and addons, this will be not an issue, at least not here.

  37. Jayrome wrote on :

    And the search bar is still separate!

  38. Pramod wrote on :

    May I ask why we would still have a separate box for search?? Why not have a unified search cum URL box as in chrome? I can’t get my head around that !!

    1. James wrote on :

      It makes it easier for me to maintain and switch between my 17 search engines.

    2. Mel wrote on :

      Where on earth have you been? Don’t you not know that you can just type in the address-bar whatever you want to search and press “enter” on your keyboard (or whatever other method you use to “go to” the website-address/search-term-you-searched-for) and Firefox will search for it? (this feature is called “the ‘Awesome Bar’ ” and it’s been there since Firefox 4).

      1. Mel wrote on :

        (My previous reply was for @Pramod by the way).

  39. Brian C wrote on :

    Looks great.

    Feature request: Please display tabs in a way that indicates which tab they came from. E.g. From tab A the user ctrl-clicks to open tabs B, C, D. Until they change the tab ordering it should appear that A, B, C and D are all in a group of some kind.

  40. FelixNemis wrote on :

    Now the only thing stopping lightweight themes from being awesome is the lack of style on the new tab page

  41. Pramod wrote on :

    A few suggestions

    1) Get rid of the seperate “Search bar” and have a unified search cum URL bar

    2) When you click “Display your bookmarks”, why are there so many folders?? (Unsorted Bookmarks, recent bookmarks yada yada)…… A user would rather prefer seeing just “Bookmarks”… Let a user have the flexibility to create folders in an efficient way, if he wants to.

    1. webbles wrote on :

      Please don’t combine the search bar and url bar.

  42. Joe wrote on :

    I am an addon developer and want to make my addon compatible with Australis. Is there anyway to detect user is on Australis from both CSS and JS?

  43. Tom Dixon wrote on ::

    Looking forward to this since it is my primary browser across all devices.. Really like the look guys..

  44. Symmetry wrote on :

    Australis looks really nice but you guys have to admit that you have severely decreased the ability to customize Firefox. Use Small Icons is gone, you cannot rearrange certain individual UI elements such as the forward and back buttons as well as the new Menu icon, and you cannot combine everything in one bar.

    “… by being the browser that does things that people, including power-users, want.” This is true with non-nightly builds at this moment, but with Australis it no longer is. You guys are crippling us power users and forcing us into a pigeon hole. PLEASE decouple all UI elements again and allow for true power-user customization. This is all fine and dandy for normal users and they won’t change a thing but there is a reason why you have so many “power users” and that is because you have a history of actually allowing them! Unless I am wrong, if you leave things locked in place, like the Forwards/Backwards, URL bar under tab bar, and Menu button on the right, there is no way any addon will ever be able to change this for us and that would make a great many people unhappy.

    1. Mel wrote on :

      I’m a “normal” user and I have customized Firefox as much as “you guys” in the “Nightly” and/or “Beta” sections have.

  45. Scias wrote on :

    Althrough I like this new elegant UI, one of my biggest issues with Firefox’s UI is the poor handling of dark GTK themes, especially under KDE. I thought Australis would solve at the very least the pesky annoying issues of unreadeable fonts under dark themes but they are still present. That’s the number one issue that keeps me from using Firefox, because Chromium handles dark themes much better.

    Here’s screenshots comparing Australis and Chromium to see what I mean :

    http://wstaw.org/m/2013/11/19/austr-1.jpg
    http://wstaw.org/m/2013/11/19/austr-2.jpg

    It’s even more obvious on the “Customize” page :

    http://wstaw.org/m/2013/11/19/austr-3.jpg

    So yeah, I really wish the new UI was as elegant when using different GTK themes.

    1. Dr. Insano wrote on :

      No offense, but how can you even work with that UI? I don’t mean Firefox here, I mean the horrible font rendering (reminded me of Windows 95) , the ugly system buttons etc.

      1. Scias wrote on :

        Well, it might be just a matter of taste, but I’m totally fine with this UI, especially since dark themes are much more relaxing for the eyes.
        Now in the screenshots, the jpeg compresson doesn’t do great justice to the fonts and the gtk apps (even if most of GTK apps are miles better than Firefox under KDE) are still poorly integrated compared to the other KDE apps (notably colors/icons issues)…

        What I would like Firefox to do is either fully embrace GTK+ or fully rendering the UI itself, not doing half with GTK and half itself so the UI wouldn’t break so easily with certain themes..

  46. James Xu wrote on :

    Really nice, better than Chrome’s UI.

  47. Jim wrote on :

    The rounded tabs seem superfluous and space wasting. But otherwise it looks good.

    Hows the performance during heavy tab use?

    It would be nice to be able to fold tabs together and unload then from memory.

    1. Mel wrote on :

      I easily, at any given time, have more than 400 tabs (in total) open [at the same time], and have more than 10 tab-groups active/open at-the-same-time.

      I’m not kidding.

      I really did take the time to count all these tabs that I have open, in each of the dozens of tab-groups I have open/active/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

  48. Hervé Renault wrote on ::

    I like it on Gnome Shell, it blends perfectly with as you can see on https://twitter.com/HerveRenault/status/402715255643443200

  49. Faraz wrote on ::

    New user interface looks awesome, i am waiting for this beautiful version. Go on it’s awesome!

  50. Mahesh wrote on ::

    I have noticed some performance issues in the releases. I hope that new release is smooth and quick to load and doesn’t have much issues when we run flash based sites. :)

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