New Mozilla Firefox UI designs revealed

Mozilla, the creator of the world's second most popular web browser, Firefox, has revealed some of the latest user interface designs through its nightly builds program. From the version numbers that Mozilla have published on their website, the refreshed design of the internet browser will be seen in Firefox 8, which, based on the current release cycle, will be released in the early stages of 2012.

Amongst several of the smaller interface changes, Mozilla have appeared to keep to their word in removing the standard "http://www." from URL addresses in the navigation toolbar. The company recently talked about the idea of reducing the amount of space that tabs and the address bar take up, and this is reflected in the latest nightly builds which show an integrated URL/search bar and the movement of the tabs into the top window area. You can download the latest available versions here. Mozilla have also been trialing several other alterations that can be viewed on one of their presentation mockup pages.

Whether these designs will make it into the final version of Firefox 8 is yet to be seen, Mozilla has been known in the past to change its plans last minute and particularly in the fast release cycle that the company has put Firefox through, it will be no surprise if we see further changes closer to release date. In a recent speed test, Firefox 8 displayed results that put it 20% ahead in terms of speed when compared to the current Firefox 5.

The developers of the internet browser have been criticised lately, even by Microsoft, when it comes to supporting businesses that deploy Firefox through their networks. When Mozilla decided to take a different approach in the software release cycle that put it on par with Google Chrome, there was frustration from the industry that the steady stream of regular updates would make it more difficult for web administrators to keep their servers up-to-date and secure. Only time will tell as to how this will affect the internet browser's market share worldwide.

Thanks to Ben Dyson for the news tip!
Image Source: Mozilla

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ALTHOUGH It has a chrome-like design I personally think this looks more unique than chrome's design and I think it'll be easy to customize it to your taste too, unlike google chrome it has this feature.. I never been a fan of chrome's theme design.. only the speed, and their extensions. just my opinion on those things.. gj Mozilla keep it up.

What is this obsession of Firefox to reduce the vertical space taken by the address bar and the tabs bar? Enough is enough. If they want to make the minimalist window an OPTIONAL format, fine. But, leave the full three lines for (1) "File, Edit, View..." (2) Navigation/address bar, and (3) tabs.

ThePitt said,
thats not firefox, thats chrome. And I bet still eating 500MB with just two tabs open... 3.x for life.

Not a fan of the Chrome look either (changeable at least of course), but the memory usage isn't anywhere near as bad as it was with v4. Got 4 tabs open currently in Aurora v7a2 and I'm under 300, and that's with a good number of addons, pretty fast too. They've definitely improved that aspect of it.

ThePitt said,
thats not firefox, thats chrome. And I bet still eating 500MB with just two tabs open... 3.x for life.

Use Firemin - it keeps my Firefox under 50 MB at all times

The Mac mockup looks nice. The Firefox button in the Windows mockup looks out of place. IMHO they should wait for Windows 8 first, then design for it.

I don't get those retarded gear buttons in Chrome and now Firefox, they serve no purpose on Mac OS X since it already has a Menu Bar... There isn't a single app with native interface that uses one. Basically only cross-platform browsers. Those cut/copy/past buttons are especially silly. Use keyboard shortcuts or the edit menu.

hotdog963al said,
Now the Firefox fanboys can finally enjoy Chrome's delicious UI!

Heh I can call Chrome's UI a lot of things, but delicious isn't one of them Fortunately it would take all of 3 seconds to get back the "proper" Firefox look that I prefer.. just not a fan of smushing up an interface as small as possible. Meh.

I wish they would give this crazy numbering system up. I like my extensions to be able to work for longer than 5 minutes.

Is it wise removing "www"? I've found some websites do not load when I've typed in an address lazily without the www, then it works fine once the www. is added.

Salty Wagyu said,
Is it wise removing "www"? I've found some websites do not load when I've typed in an address lazily without the www, then it works fine once the www. is added.
www. isn't removed. Only http://

1. What is with that tab design, stick with the squares. Also why can't people choose to have the apple design on windows ? I prefer it to the windows aero look.

I'd prefer squares than ovals, but all in all, I trust Mozilla. It's weird though, seeing Firefox more and more Chrome-ish. And all that UI is in "limp mode". I think they should go all the way to Chrome asceticism or keep they own style, not chrome-super-stable-firefox. It simply doesn't work...

So first was Opera, now Chrome? Mozilla! You never fail to disappoint me. I really don't understand why Mozilla won't get rid of this useless Firefox Menu option and instead place it by home button. It's better that way, since main menu button is not used often. Look at IE, even they got it right!

I don't mind the look, but I honestly like the separate search box so that I can search multiple search engines easily with one click...

It's really just a mock-up by Stephen, but I don't understand why he would want to join the Firefox button and the close button to the corners of the window. It looks odd.

Meph said,
It's really just a mock-up by Stephen, but I don't understand why he would want to join the Firefox button and the close button to the corners of the window. It looks odd.

Ugh I hate that too! Why wont people just stick to the native look (or at least make it look native, if you really have to ditch it for the sake of the Firefox button etc.)

Now that's looks ... very ugly! Tabs are way too high, there is way too much space between the 'firefox' button and the first tab, the 2 buttons before the 1st tab are on the wrong toolbar, no forward button, inactive tabs don't look like tabs, they even made that 'options' menu much uglier and seems to be missing the 'print preview' button (if they are too lazy to make a decent ui that looks good with more buttons, they could at least replace the 'print' button with the 'print preview' button), no always on statusbar.
Maybe they should focus on more important stuff? People that hate the interface can already use a skin. Maybe they could fix the fact that you need a restart when changing or uninstalling a skin (and the same for extensions. I mean you can install, use and uninstall extensions and skins in opera without ever having to restart, so why would firefox still need a restart for the same thing)?

Removing the http is one thing, but they shouldn't ever remove the www part of an url the site http: //www.example.com can be a completely different site then http: //example.com (like it or not but that's just how the internet works). If they really want to change the way an url is being displayed, they can copy what opera already did (as long as they provide a very easy option to revert to the 'old' behavior, like right-clicking on the adressbar)

But at least they are changing something else besides the version number

I'm not sure I can't take any more UI changes... Can't they just add two rows on Chrome's bookmark bar and I'm switching

Two things...

1. This work is being done on a spin off of the nightly branch which is currently labeled version "8". No telling when it will actually move to Aurora for prep for release. It could be Firefox 8 or 10 or 23. No one has said this is going to be in Firefox 8.

2. Along those lines, with the 6-week release schedule, Firefox 8 will be available before the end of 2011.

It looks completely ugly. I can see some similarities to Chrome, but it's still obvious it's not. I think the Mozilla team is really failing, and it's all mere desperation to try and capture back the many that have switched away from this overly bulky browser.

Imitation is flattery, but this is crazy. Tabs look so ugly. Everything just looks bad IMO. Hopefully they work hard on this and ditch the overly wavy tab idea... just bad... ugh.

I think it looks pretty awesome . I've switched to chrome for almost a year now, I did used to love me some Firefox though.

My instant reaction to that first screenshot was, Chrome and ugly.

Chrome already doesn't fit into the Windows shell and now Firefox won't with those ugly wasted space curves.

I don't usually care with the latest trend on browsers using the same designs but, please, I hope they don't all follow the horrid Chrome design.

This is disgusting.

al2k4 said,
Fix application boot time and performance before UI I'd say...

My thoughts exactly! How many years has it been now and they are reportedly finally fixing some of the memory leaks. Lets get some "actual" fixes before we jump on these cosmetic changes. Especially something this nasty looking. I hope they keep the option to give it the look and feel of the classic versions or I won't be upgrading!

These pictures are just mockups. They show you the direction they want to go but not the finished result. Maybe it'll turn out completely different.

Also Mozilla is not removing "http://www.";, since "www." is a subdomain. "http://"; will be hidden in the future by default though.

This looks terrible, the reason I use Firefox is because it is most efficient with tab bar space, this just looks silly... Though I do like the way the location bar goes all the way to the back button. There isn't too much need for a permanent forward button anyway.

It has to be said there is a Chrome influence there too.

Looks nice, but doubt it will change my opinions on Firefox at the moment.

everything after Firefox 2.# is just..garbage. Used to be so good.

Philip James Fry said,
Looks nice, but doubt it will change my opinions on Firefox at the moment.

everything after Firefox 2.# is just..garbage. Used to be so good.

"Used to be so good" you say, when? You meant since version 2 and earlier? And what's that after version 2 that makes you think is garbage?

I really feel I'm wasting my time replying to your comment. Can't say if trolling or being serious. But still I'm a bit curious... At least, I could understand if you said "after Fx 3.6.x" but 2?

Obtain Pop-corn and wait for extreme bashing.

Anyway, at least Chrome's Tabs are nice. Those aren't in my opinion. Usually they are too much conservatives. When not, they always have Retro Style in mind. I don't understand why they stuck on such curved corners and shadowy borders. And now that wavy Tab... Damn!

At least they give us the option to customise the Browser the way we like, but I'm getting tired of this too. I'd like a nice, clean, "normal" and streamlined UI to moor with. The designer who designed this has many better projects, but, as I said, eventually somehow they focus on an ugly one. And let's face it, Fx' 4 UI wasn't the best could be...

no-sweat said,

Old school browsers like that turn me on with a hit of nostalgia and makes
me happy in a very sexual way. That and Netscape... big bulky browsers...
there's something about them that gets me going.


You'd enjoy using SeaMonkey then. The GUI isn't nearly as bloated as NeoPlanet
was (as in that screengrab) it's more like Firefox used to be before they started
dumbing down the GUI layout to imitate the look of Google Chrome.

It also uses the same Gecko engine as Firefox ... even more familiar territory.

hasn't everyone figured out by now that Google, Mozilla, and Opera are all using the same UI design team lol.
But seriously yes it resembles Chrome somewhat, but I think thats a growing trend. One company finds a niche UI that everyone seems to like and the others follow at least until someone comes up with something better.

And by the way whats that 4th option in Windows version(first pic) with the ['Exit', 'Maximum', 'Minimum'] buttons? The + sign.

FMH said,
And by the way whats that 4th option in Windows version(first pic) with the ['Exit', 'Maximum', 'Minimum'] buttons? The + sign.

If I had to guess I would say this is a 'full screen' button.

FMH said,
And by the way whats that 4th option in Windows version(first pic) with the ['Exit', 'Maximum', 'Minimum'] buttons? The + sign.

Full screen I'd imagine.

FMH said,
And by the way whats that 4th option in Windows version(first pic) with the ['Exit', 'Maximum', 'Minimum'] buttons? The + sign.

Full screen, I assume.

FMH said,
And by the way whats that 4th option in Windows version(first pic) with the ['Exit', 'Maximum', 'Minimum'] buttons? The + sign.

New tab? Not sure.

FMH said,
And by the way whats that 4th option in Windows version(first pic) with the ['Exit', 'Maximum', 'Minimum'] buttons? The + sign.
FullScreen, I suppose.

Everyone! said,
FullScreen
You guys are right. In the current build I went to "Customize...." menu, and the 'FullScreen' button is exactly the same. You guys passed!

windows version does not look like chrome as much as the mac version. looks nice hopefully its as fluid as chrome. thats all thats keeping me from making firefox my main browser again.

Removing "http://www.";, sounds like a good idea, might stop people from wasting their time with writing www .

Not sure if I like inactive tabs not looking like tabs so to speak but it's a nice concept overall.

EDIT: Should be noted, above screenshots and all in the source link were concepts part of a meeting and might already be outdated.
People who want to see what they are currently trying with the interface can download their UX Channel which updates every night with any UI changes (https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mo.../firefox/nightly/latest-ux/)

I like the 'options menu', the tabs, lack of forward button.

But still the overall look is absolutely ugly. So confusing and "un-straight forward" .

FMH said,
I like the 'options menu', the tabs, lack of forward button.

But still the overall look is absolutely ugly. So confusing and "un-straight forward" .


The forward menu is intended to be visible only when you have a site to go forward

Heartripper said,

The forward menu is intended to be visible only when you have a site to go forward
I know. I have a similar add-on.

warwagon said,
Well I guess they have to make you feel like you got something for the version number increase.

Hehe, yea, sooner or later they have to add something that isnt just in the background eh
An animation for moving tabs around has been planned for quite a while now though, wonder when we'll get that...

Leonick said,
An animation for moving tabs around has been planned for quite a while now though, wonder when we'll get that...

Firefox 8 if there is no critical bug and they have to delay it.

Leonick said,

An animation for moving tabs around has been planned for quite a while now though, wonder when we'll get that...

Tab and Detach animations have both already implemented in Aurora builds. They now need to optimise 'em. Obviously they'll ship both with version 7.