Firefox 4 Beta 1 UI Changes

(best viewed in full screen)


Theora 720p

WebM 720p

The first Beta of Firefox 4 is here, and you can download it now.  In this video we quickly review a few of the initial UI changes that have already landed, including:

1) Our Feedback UI and how to control user interface tests

2) Switch to Tab

3) Tabs on Top (more details in an earlier video)

4) The Firefox Button (note that this is only the default UI for Windows 7 and Vista)

Additional Notes

-This is a very early Beta, so a lot of features are not complete yet, and the interface is still rather unpolished

-Currently most of the initial UI changes have only landed for Windows.  If you are on OS X or Linux, expect to see additional interface changes in future betas

-If you are on OS X and you’re finding our visual design of tabs on top to be broken, please note the previous two disclaimers :)

-If you have modified your bookmarks toolbar and it was hidden during the upgrade, this is actually a bug.  The current plan is to only hide the bookmarks toolbar if the user has not previously modified it (or if they have a brand new profile).


Please use the comments below for any questions or feedback, or you can of course use your shiny new Feedback Button in the Firefox 4 Beta :)

We hope you enjoy this early Beta build!


  1. Thanks for the video. Really appreciate the multiple video formats. Also, do my eyes deceive me, or does the Theora version look better than the WebM version?

  2. insanelyapple

    im curious how final version of fx4 will look like – hope will be more eyecandy, like in stephen horlander mockups

  3. I am really liking the new UI and am interested to see how this will shape up. I also like the new notification designs, as well as the new add ons UI and the proposed configuration UI.

    Is there a tracking bug for issues relating to the new UI? – it would make finding existing bugs easier.

    Keep up the great work.

  4. This is the second major video from you where you don’t address the decision to disable the Bookmarks Toolbar by default. Are you hoping nobody will notice?

    I think it would be better to auto-fill the Bookmarks Toolbar with “frecently” used websites. See bug 577215.

  5. Peter, the bookmarks toolbar should only be disabled if there are no changes to it (from the default bookmarks) or if there’s nothing in it. Users that use the bookmark toolbar in their profile should see it. If they don’t, then it’s a bug.

  6. I’m not using a clean profile however I see the orange firefox menu / button as well as the normal menu on XP. Yet you say the orange firefox button is for Vista and 7 only?

  7. I like the new UI for the most part, but I would like to see an old FF2 function come back that wasnt included in 3. Being able to select a tab, and move through them by using the arrow buttons ( ). I found it useful if I had a lot of tabs open, especially if they were not named appropriately and I had to go through them all to find what I wanted again. Better than having to click on each one individually.

  8. Just to add….. XP users can get the Firefox button by removing the tick beside the Menu Bar in Toolbars :o)

  9. Where is h.246 support? I personal think it is a mistaje to not include it :-(

  10. I liked the old tabs position better; it’s one of the reasons I prefer Firefox over Chrome and other browsers. Hopefully there’s an option to have the tabs below the address bar.

  11. FF4b1 OS X overlaps it’s … “features” … onto my existing install of 3.6.6. One of those is decidedly *annoying*. Now, if I close all windows, Firefox will exit instead of waiting in the background for either the quit command or to be invoked again. VERY annoying, very un-Mac-like and sooo needing to be fixed before release.
    Just my 2¢ worth.

  12. I love the animation when opening a new tab, and I’ll be cool if the same happened when closing one… :)

  13. I’d like to see the Firefox button also available on Windows XP…

  14. Same as Leeto’s comment. I much preferred the tabs below the address bar, above the address bar makes it feel cumbersome to use.

  15. I really like the new UI redesign. I hope the Linux version gets it too soon.

    Firefox button on the title bar (like in the mock ups) would certainly look better than as a “bar” on Windows XP. Hope Mozilla manage to complete the revamp

  16. My only problem with the UI is that the orange Firefox button doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut since I’m a laptop user. Other than that, it’s great!

  17. carloscastillatorres

    nice blog
    tell how others put an icon on their comments?

  18. I am using the Bookmarks Toolbar frequently (for most links I have removed the labels completely, so I just see the icons). I really would like it to be present even with tabs on top. But then I feel they are completely misplaced below the location bar. It does not represent a feature or option of the current tab.

    So it should be placed outside the current tab space, in the space for browser functions (glassed area), maybe next to the orange Firefox button. At least this should be an option.

    Having to use the new bookmarks button instead would mean having one additional click every time.

    Thanks for considering this.

  19. I hope there will be an option to hide the firefox button
    Personally I would prefer the tabs to be at the bottom of the browser as I have them now.
    I just wish I could turn the tab bar style upside down

  20. Inquiring minds would like to know: have the (wildly unusable) “Bookmark This Page”/”Edit This Bookmark” dialog box(es) been fixed (or replaced) yet?

    Consider this situation: a user has several dozen folders in their bookmark collection. They wish to bookmark the current page in one of those folders; they must (on Windows): Ctrl-D to open the Bookmark This Page dialog; move mouse (or press tab), then click on (or alt-down arrow) to open the Folder drop-down to see if the folder they want is in the MRU list. It is NOT, so then they need to click on the “Show All Bookmarks” drop-down (hmm…two drop-downs side by side), a seemingly NEW dialog appears (different title, controls, etc.), but maybe just the old one morphs (?confusing, no transition, and poor visual stability), then the user (usually) must scroll through the (open) list of folders (and, likely, scroll repeatedly, as the list shows no more than eight folders, and only six by default!).

    OK, I’ve beaten this to death, but I think you now get the points: too many clicks/keystrokes, and not enough data elements (e.g., folders) shown by default.

    If there’s not time for a ‘proper’ fix, then–as a suggestion–why not just make the “Edit This Bookmark” dialog box taller (so more folders are shown by default), and also RE-SIZABLE?

    Please, pretty PLEASE?

  21. thebunnyhunter

    If they changed the orange buttong to the firefox icon, move it into the tab row, and then get rid of the extra space above the tab bar( Also adding keyboard shortcuts to the firefox menu would be beneficial.

  22. It’s a massive improvement and kudos to the team for doing it.

    I have a few hangups on the button.

    1. It’s position wastes an enormous amount of vertical space at all times – maximised and unmaximised.

    2. Obviously it’s still in development but it’s structure of items defined by text labels make it seem unimaginative and boring – I clicked it and left very quickly. It looks important until you click it. The proposed ideas of picture icon based options is much nicer. Better click space, more intuitive for all users and professional looking.

  23. i don’t know how i ever used IE now that i use firefox …keep up the great work

  24. I switched over from Chrome to Firefox 4.0b1 because of the new interface. I’ve always liked Ff because of the customization and freedom, but the toolbar buttons all had different colors. I like the look of Safari, with all the icons the same color. But now that the buttons are all the same, I’ve switched :-) UI matters a lot to me.

    Can’t wait for tabs on top like in Chrome, and Greasemonkey! It hasn’t been updated for 4.0 yet…

    This is the last thing I’m gonna say: can you add a gray or aqua blue Firefox button to Mac OS X’s toolbar?

  25. +1 for the allowing us to move/remove the Firefox button at the top. I like the functionality, but I would prefer if I could move it down to be left of the tabs, or to the far right under the window sizing functions. Just seems like a waste of space as it is now.

  26. I don’t care for the tabs on top, and I haven’t figured out how to save a new bookmark yet, either. The bookmark button only lets me save all open tabs, not just one. And it looks like the Google toolbar doesn’t work, either.

  27. I see no real function reason to put the tabes ON TOP of the browser window. It means more clutter to read below the tabs, rather then actual webpage content, and increases the amount of vertical mouse movement to access the tabs.

    A good GUI should strive to minimize both visual clutter and mouse movement.

    I hope y’all have the smarts to make the tab location a user choice/optional. To do otherwise, imho, is a big step backward.

    I want to see tabs, and below them, content… not icons, an entry field, and buttons. That wastes my cognitive and physical time.

    YOU may think that such a change in location is subtle regarding mouse movement, but I can speak from 26 years of “mousing” experience (and design experience at that).

    My right hand will ache forever, particularly thanks to the sloppy GUIs being designed these days, that instead of minimizing mouse movment, have you “zipping all over” frickin’ large screens.

    You won’t find me using a touch interface for the same reason. With a mouse and clever lifting, I can decrease the amount of movement required to do most things, but having to move my fingers constantly across a flat surface I gotta believe will make for some fine arthritic right or left hands in a few years.

    Yeah, you don’t feel it in your twenties or thirties, but when you’re in your early fifties like I am, it make a helluva difference. Same holds true with my index button and the left mouse button. Repetitive injury due to lousy interface designs don’t help.

    FYI, Mark

  28. I find the tabs on top really annoying. With several tabs open and switching between them it is extra mouse movement to get from the working area past the other tool bars to the tabs.

    I found it so annoying I have revered to version 3. When the toolbar ordering addon is available for version 4 I will happily change back

  29. I really like the new browser functions but i really hope mozilla get care about firefox button to be avalide in XP like Vista/7 :P

  30. Mark, I find tabs on top much easier, its the same principle as having windows on the bottom of the task bar – It takes allot less effort to mash the mouse to the top of the screen, only having to worry about horizontal position to pick which tab, with tabs below you have to get a horizontal position and vertical position right requiring more effort – moving the mouse to the edge of the screen isn’t as hard as getting it to a specific space on the monitor.

    However, the huge waste of space that is the “Firefox” button changes this completely, as the tabs aren’t on top, a big waste of space is. Why not put the “Firefox” button next to back, and shove all the “file” functions in there, thus cleaning up the interface hugely – or just shuffle the tabs along a few pixels (saving hundreds of pixels of wasted space) I don’t know the last time I clicked “file”…

    The other thing is the font on the tabs makes them invisible on my computer…

  31. I stopped upgrading Firefox at version 2 because of the direction it was moving, and now I have seen this I am yet more put off the thing.

    FF was ruined long ago when the decision was made to chase the mass market. FF started off a good idea, a slim and sleek browser that used extensions so the user was in control of features.

    But then Google came along and started “donating” to Mozilla. And soon FF started to move towards a being some kind of web application delivery framework. Google pimp Chrome something like “a shell for the web”, and the Mozilla browsers seem to be trying to do an impression of it.

    IBM and MS made their billions by locking users in for years, and industry has clocked that if a user’s application and data is not on their computer at all, but on some web server somewhere, the scope for lock in is even greater than in the past. And once locked in, rape their wallets or spam their faces with adverts.

    This is why web applications are hyped so much today, and why industry is pushing all the browsers in the same direction. The same dumbed down, hand holding, make on line irritations as acceptable as possible, type of direction.

    I have no idea what a “Firefox button” would be, but I presume it is another way of dumbing down the application so that ultimately the user is less empowered than in the past? Like the removal of the status bar, so the user doesn’t pick up clues as to just how many 3rd party tracking and advertising things are out there. And how common they are, and how “waiting for” pushed so many to advert blockers in the past. When the biggest funder of Mozilla is an advertising company, you would be naive to think things won’t move towards just being advert delivery systems.

    FF is FOSS, and it should remember that. The user should be placed first, not the business interests of sponsors. The dumbing down and hand holding and all the rest of it are about getting the user to always reach for the browser when they want to do something on a computer. This is not necessarily in the user’s interest, as is the norm for most middlemen.

  32. This is a bummer, all of the “new look” features for FFrc4 are the things I find most irritating about chrome. tabs on top, one menu button (though being able to quickly “alt” it back into view is a plus) All of the “new look” stuff can currently be accomplished with addons and that is what made FF great, you get a bare-bone browser and IF you want to make it really crappy you totally can. Now, like with FF3 you need to spend time undoing redundant obstructive features.

    The switch to tab feature is abysmal, and brings back to memory the time I had to spend turning off most of the features mozilla thought made the “awesome bar” “awesome”. I don’t need my book marks searched through the URL bar and I don’t need to switch tabs by typing there, any combo of ctrl, tab, alt, and the number keys accomplish this task in the quickest and most efficient manner and if all those break on the same day I still have a mouse, a tablet and a touch screen.

    The user experience of FF has become such that after much time and tinkering you can turn FF into a less obstructive browser than the alternatives, it would be nice to see mozilla move towards educating people on some of the more use full and mostly hidden features in FF rather than creating redundant ways to accomplish the same tasks.

    Of late innovation seems to consist of adding redundant features aimed at those who cannot use a program without holding a mouse. which would be fine but in many instances these “awesome new features” interfer with key commands and other functionality.

    On the plus I like that alot of the visual clutter is removed though I would imagine that will bother more people than it makes happy.

  33. I was totally against the tabs on top until I watched the video, and it did sway me with its arguments.

    But as others have mentioned, the bookmarks toolbar destroys the whole idea. I can’t seem to move it above the address bar.

    Additionally, I had to reenable the menu bar because the single Firefox button menu leaves out all the menus that get created in the Tools menu for addons.

    And finally, what is with annoying transparency you see with the menu bar enabled? Hurts my eyes to look at, especially when the window loses focus. I have transparency disabled in my display settings. FF is the only app I see using it.

  34. I want to be a part of firefox ,and spread it on social media
    let me know what should I do ?


  35. You should fix the “hidden bookmark” toolbar as soon as possible. I had easy access to all of my needed sites with just one click; now that functionality is lost, and has forced me to use IE (ugh!) for the time being.

    Maybe I’ll roll back to a previous version of FrFx . . . fix it! Please!

  36. why does google toolbar not work in firefox 4??????

  37. What happened to the cascade menu to navigate back to sites formerly visited? It is extremely annoying to go to a site that does not allow you to navigate back even one page because the site has you captive. You either have to close the browser, or totally waste time by doing a google search or opening up a bookmark just to escape from the page. I will eliminate Firefox 4 for this reason alone.

  38. all time i use firefox mozilla and i like it,Like the removal of the status bar, so the user doesn’t pick up clues as to just how many 3rd party tracking and advertising things are out there

  39. I’m still learning from you, while I’m trying to reach my goals. I definitely liked reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the aarticles coming. I enjoyed it!