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Mozilla Plans Major Design Overhaul With Firefox 25 Release In October 250

Posted by Soulskill
from the taking-cues dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla is planning a major design overhaul of its flagship browser with the release of Firefox 25, slated to arrive in October. The company makes a point to discuss its plans for changes openly, and this upcoming new version is by no means an exception. In fact, even though Firefox 22 is in the Beta channel, Firefox 23 is in the Aurora channel, and Firefox 24 is in the Nightly channel, Mozilla has set up a special Nightly UX channel for Firefox 25. Grab it here."
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Mozilla Plans Major Design Overhaul With Firefox 25 Release In October

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  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:16PM (#43917527) Homepage
    From the screenshot [thenextweb.com], it looks like they are finally completing the project of making Firefox completely indistinguishable from Chrome.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by The MAZZTer (911996)
      Don't worry you still have your separate useless search bar you never use and hide from the toolbar (well, I did).
      • by robmv (855035) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:57PM (#43918005)

        not useless for me, it allow me to write things in the URL without sending every keystroke to Google, you know, like which host names I write there. The integrated search and URL field on Chrome behaves for me like the Ubuntu integrated search. I don't want to send everything I write there to Google. You can disable this in Chrome but you loose search predictions, so or you send eveything or we (Google) will not give you predictions. With Firefox I have predictions without sending every keystroke when I write a url

    • But seriously, Chrome did a LOT of stuff right. The menu button thing is still odd if you ask me Firefox's old choice was also valid) but now we have more room for tabs by using Chrome's method.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dracos (107777)

        No, they made a lot of bad stuff fashionable. The only thing they did right was "Paste & Go" on the location bar context menu.

        • they borrowed that from Opera. Back when Opera was still a paid browser, the Paste & Go feature was unique to Opera, and an amazing feature. I'm glad it has been copied.
        • by Sloppy (14984)

          The only thing they did right.. [some UI thing]

          No. Let's not forget Chrome's real claim to fame: it's multi-process. Different web pages don't need to be browsed in the same process. Give 'em some credit for that. Plenty of browsers still do the wrong thing here, Firefox being one of them.

          • by hedwards (940851)

            I disagree, Chrome did it wrong. And that's why the memory usage is so poor.

            Firefox is still working on it, getting processes for the plugins and one for the UI at large and one for the content in the tabs basically. I wish they'd put more thought into that, rather than waste energy on stupid bullshit like this.

            I do realize that it's different people, but I'm using Firefox because I don't want to use Chrome. At this point though, I might as well switch to Chrome as the Fx developers seem hell bent on turnin

          • except ie did it first :/

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @05:05PM (#43918097)
        The problem with Chrome is its complete lack of user customization. Compare that to Firefox (and Opera) where an about:config lets you change nearly anything.

        Perhaps the thing that bothered me most about Chrome is there was no option to change history to:

        Keep cookies
        Keep downloads
        But don't keep a log of the pages I've visited and don't change the colour of URLs that I've already clicked on (yeah, I know its minor but it bugs the crap out of me)

        Instead, Google thinks you either need to be in super-secret-pr0n-surfing mode or keep a log of anything you visited (and show it in the address bar when you're searching).

        Heck, I think even IE lets me have more control of my browsing history than Chrome does!
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Chrome also does a LOT of stuff wrong. I'd dump firefox but there's no reasonable alternative yet.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Precisely, I've been using Firefox for over a decade now, and the developers seem hell bent on chasing everybody away from the browser. If I wanted to use Chrome, I would use Chrome. All the bullshit with the UI changes and the version number nuttiness aren't making me want to stay, the lack of reasonable alternatives is.

      • by nmb3000 (741169)

        But seriously, Chrome did a LOT of stuff right.

        But they did at least one thing horribly, horribly wrong, and have at the same time managed to popularize it amongst many other products. Firefox jumped on board a while ago to some extent, but this new UI looks like they've gone balls-to-the-wall to "COPY CHROME" mode (just look at their new "Firefox menu" icon. It's a damned copy-and-paste of Chromes! What the hell! I don't understand why, but today's user interface designers are like marketing consultants -- they're all in a perpetual race to mindless

        • by hedwards (940851)

          This is the result of handing the responsibilities for UI design to graphic designers rather than to people who actually care about usability and logical consistency. A good UI is one that is out of the way when you don't need it, but easily accessible when you do. Where you can easily find the options that you commonly need efficiently, but where infrequently used options are located in a logical location.

          And yes, getting it right is hard, but you're not likely to ever approximate it, if you're focused on

    • by adiposity (684943)

      It does look more like Chrome, although I think the curved edges waste even more space than the angled edges on Chrome (and they look different).

    • Except the user experience that makes Chrome so popular was never its look. It had always been its responsiveness. Instead of copying superficial things like version numbers and menu buttons, Mozilla should have never abandoned Electrolysis, the multiprocess overhaul to Firefox.

    • by Xest (935314) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @05:23AM (#43922813)

      Presumably because they think it'll stop the haemorrhaging of users to Chrome.

      Ironically though it'll do the opposite, if Firefox looks like Chrome then I might as well just start using Chrome as that's the last thing stopping me switching to Chrome.

  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:16PM (#43917535)

    Fuck me, curved tabs instead of square ones. This major change has totally changed my mind about Firefox.

    • by Gertlex (722812)

      Well it also does more damage to the default UI... Those curved tabs are just wasting space horizontal space.

      Definitely taking the "be like google" approach to UI's seriously. E.g. recollect how Google Reader's UI continued to add wasteful whitespace everywhere over the years. The remake, CommaFeed is glorious in its compact nature. Thankfully, Google Reader is dead.

      And thank goodness Firefox at least remains straight-forward to customize, unlike the various Google sites. (And I've tried; greasemonkey s

  • by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:28PM (#43917649)
    If you do this to Seamonkey.... then I don't know what i'm going to do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Megane (129182)

      I came here to post a similar comment. Keep your damn fingers off of my Seamonkey, you god-damned dirty apes. It's the last bastion for those of us who want an old-school browser.

      Also, "What, another major design overhaul? How many is that so far in the past 2-3 years?"

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:29PM (#43917657)

    Based on the headline, I mistook this story for something that might interest me.

    From TFA, it's clear that the design overhaul refers to design in the sense of "graphic design," i.e., superficial appearance, not design in the sense of software architecture. So the headline would be better phrased, "Mozilla is planning changes in how the browser looks."

    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Yeah, I actually got kind of excited, too. It was stupid of me to think that they were actually going to change something that matters.

      It seems like Mozilla does nothing but try to piss off their old-school users, while ineffectually trying to appeal to Chrome users. Some of their changes have been good, and some have even been great, but the vast majority have just been perplexing.

  • From experience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Synerg1y (2169962) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:29PM (#43917659)

    Don't redesign the UI once it's accepted by the users, you can't possibly improve it, it's already been accepted... just add features as you need to and stay within the design constraints of the UI.

    However, if their goal is to have new devs join their team and venting their frustration, then... score!

    • Don't redesign the UI once it's accepted by the users, you can't possibly improve it, it's already been accepted... just add features as you need to and stay within the design constraints of the UI.

      THIS! I wish the hell Microsoft would follow this behavior.... Witness the crapfest known as Windows 8...

    • Re:From experience (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @05:13PM (#43918173)
      Exactly.

      Once something has been learned, its really hard to un-learn it. I don't care if your alternative solution is "better" or not its automatically less usable because I have to change my muscle memory. Incremental changes can be good and in places where the "normal" UI hasn't been solidified change can be good! For example, with smartphones and consoles its quite possible to create a new UI that improves usability, because the technology to interface with the hardware is fairly new (capacitive touch-screens for phones, new controllers for consoles), but when it comes to the keyboard and mouse, just keep it the same, Firefox hasn't added anything beneficial UI-wise in the past 3 or 4 "design overhauls" and instead has added a good 15 minutes of tweaks I have to do to any fresh install.
      • by Synerg1y (2169962)

        Dedicated developers seem to have a brain tumor in regards to this, they're always looking for ways to improve an application, but can't emphasize with the users that they are creating for. My biggest criticism of the Moz team is this disconnect and the fact that anybody with leadership/management experience can spot it in under 5 seconds, yet they haven't remedied it and instead maintain the attitude of we do w/e we cause we're OSI.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:30PM (#43917675) Homepage

    The new big feature is rounded tabs. Really. I'm so impressed.

    • But they're moving the menu button!

      You totally needed an add-on to do that before.

      But yeah the last time I checked out the UX channel there was an awesome new Customize toolbar UI. It was broken at the time, but it looked like it would be great when they got it working.

      Also the XP theming support looks nice. Chrome doesn't even bother to go that far.

  • Kill the link (Score:5, Informative)

    by phizi0n (1237812) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:35PM (#43917735)

    It is very irresponsible to link to a dev branch of firefox without even including instructions on how to set up a separate profile for it. There is a good chance that it will mangle your profile in ways that will be incompatible with the final release or the current release should you choose to go back.

    • by vlueboy (1799360)

      It is very irresponsible to link to a dev branch of firefox without even including instructions on how to set up a separate profile for it. There is a good chance that it will mangle your profile in ways that will be incompatible with the final release or the current release should you choose to go back.

      I assume most of us know about Nightly being one of the dev branches. I am a nightly user (despite various posts more or less swearing off firefox since 2010).
      This UI version of nightly is news to me: It's so bleeding edge that the DL still had version #24 in the filename when I went to check. What intrigued me is why that is compiled to only EXE (installer has bigger chance of overwriting your current live EXE, unless they now use C:\Program Files\...\Nightly) and no zip file.

      Every time I go on a new compu

  • by cyberchondriac (456626) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:37PM (#43917767) Journal
    They're outta control with the "minimalistic interface" BS.. No one wants to go through submenu after submenu to get to something.
    It's a balance between clutter and functionality. They're obsessed with what they must consider to be a "clutter problem" where there really isn't any; it's not clutter if the user wants it that way. Clutter is in the mind of the beholder.
    • There is a major clutter problem. Have you ever looked at a browser on a small 16:9 screen? Count the number of lines of menus/tabs/messages/titles there are on the top and bottom of the already-too-short screen. (Heaven help you if you're also using gnome2.) It's a UI disaster. My solution is to stick with 3:4 screens (and not use gnome), but someday duct tape will not be enough to hold that old thinkpad together.
      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        I'm currently typing this in Firefox 21 via Ubuntu (with Unity) on a 10" screen, and I don't see any clutter problem. The top line of my screen is taken up with the system tray, including the File, Edit etc. menus. Next row is the tabs. Next row is my URL bar and Search bar. Rest of the screen is all content. What on earth could be further reduced without breaking my experience? Get rid of the tabs? Get rid of the URL & search bars?

        At some point, there is nothing to be gained from reduction, only things

  • Booo, hissss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magic maverick (2615475) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:38PM (#43917785) Homepage Journal

    First: Search for the addon Status-4-evar [sic] to keep/replace your status bar.

    Second: Product manager Asa Dotzler, is this the same person responsible for some of the abominable changes in 4.0?

    Third: "Separate Bookmark Star from locationBar and merge with Bookmarks Menu item", well that sucks. (Also, if you hate having stop and refresh as one button, edit the tool bar and drag stop to the left of refresh. Who's bright idea was it to combine those two? I want to hit stop, and if I hit it more than once, it starts to refresh the entire page. The exact opposite of what I want!)

    Fourth: Tabs under the address bar please. I don't care about your ideas about how it's illogical, I am more likely to want to change tabs than to click on the address bar, and if I need to get to the address bar I can use ctrl-L or alt-D.

    Fifth: I hate the Chrome UI, the new MSIE UI and similar. Don't do it to Firefox as well!

    Sixth: From the article: "In this vein, there is a discussion of removing the Add-on Bar completely, killing user-created custom toolbars, and having the main toolbar feature a dedicated area for add-on buttons and widgets instead." What a bloody awful idea. What will I do with my Web Developer toolbar [chrispederick.com] than?

    Seventh: It doesn't matter what anyone thinks, Mozilla will push these changes through regardless. Just because. We can only hope that addons will be developed to revert the more moronic changes (like getting rid of the status bar).

    • Re:Booo, hissss (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dagger2 (1177377) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @05:18PM (#43918215)

      Sixth: From the article: "In this vein, there is a discussion of removing the Add-on Bar completely, killing user-created custom toolbars, and having the main toolbar feature a dedicated area for add-on buttons and widgets instead."

      Heh. "Discussion". This is what discussion means [mozilla.org].

    • by mlippert (526036)

      Yeah I agree, I've had to find ways to "undo" most of their UI changes in the last couple of years.

      I like my statusbar with add-on info on the bottom of the window. I didn't like losing the statusbar but at least there still was an addon bar I could use for the info at the bottom of the window. I don't want add-on info being moved to the top toolbar area.

      I like having a forward/back dropdown so that I can see where I am in my back/forward history and select how far forward or back to go next. I had to insta

  • ... that "Firefox" menu is like a Cheetos-dust-coated thumb in my eye. Man, I'm never going back.
  • Dear Mozilla, (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:48PM (#43917919)

    If I wanted such Chrome, I would have installed Chrome. Fuck off.

    Signed, the internet

    • by rilister (316428)

      Dear the internet,
      despite your declaration of love, I see you've been unfaithful lately:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Usage_share_of_web_browsers_(Source_StatCounter).svg [wikipedia.org]
      hugs,
      Mozilla

      • by SEE (7681)

        Dear Mozilla,

        Try plotting those dates on the X axis against the Mozilla 4.0 alpha/beta/release cycle and the final end of support for 3.6.x. Go on.

        So, since that UI change to be more like Chrome was demonstrably a failure, you're going to try being even more Chrome-like? Did you fall and hit your head?

        My advice? Dump that Asa Dotzler shithead and actually try to win us back.

        Your ex,
        The Internet

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:53PM (#43917967)

    It's been widely known for sometime that Firefox developers have been suffering from a terrible case of Chrome-Envy. When Chrome started gaining market share, and Firefox stagnated(market-share wise) there was great gnashing of teeth. What did people see in Chrome? They couldn't figure it out, so their answer was to slowly but surely turn Firefox into a Chrome clone. Rapid release? Check! Remove most of the UI? Check!

    Much to their shock, however, this strategy hasn't increased their market share any as users continue to defect to Chrome over Firefox.

    In the very near future, Firefox will be almost completely indistinguishable from Chrome. Oh, sure, Gecko and Blink will still have some differences in the way they will handle things, there will be some minor differences in the browsers themselves-but these will be the kind of differences that are completely non-apparent to your average user.

    Once this happens, and Mozilla has successfully eliminated everything that made Firefox unique and valuable, people will ask 'why do we need a browser that looks and acts like just like Chrome when we already have Chrome?'

  • by hobarrera (2008506) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @05:01PM (#43918051) Homepage

    Yeah, nice going making a new look and feel that you carry over across OSs. But how about respecting the look and feel the user chose? You know, on gnome, use gnome-like tabs, and gnome-like menus. On plain linux, try and see if the user configured gtk or qt with some theme, and use that. On KDE, use KDE's theme, etc...

    It looks like firefox worries more about branding these days than it does about OS integration. Sure, we love firefox, but why don't you make it more integrated into our everyday lives, instead of making it stick out so much? We already have Chrome for that!

  • Ahhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mike Frett (2811077) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @05:01PM (#43918053)

    Don't you just love change for the sake of change?. Incidentally, can any of you fine /.ers point me in the direction of some Firefox forks so I can be prepared when they force this change on everyone?. I'm not a slave last time I checked, I hate being forced for silly reasons; especially reasons that are the result of jealousy of other browsers.

    If they do this, you might as well just use Chromium or Chrome, it would be a whole lot faster at least.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      If you want to avoid change, try the extended support release.
      It's currently on v17: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all.html [mozilla.org]

      It gets security patches from the current version without any nags to upgrade.

  • Curved Tabs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nathanbp (599369) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @05:12PM (#43918153)

    I'm not really sure what the point of changing to curved tabs is except to make Firefox look exactly like Chrome. And I'll be pretty annoyed if this takes away the ability to enable the menu bar at all.

    • by MrNemesis (587188)

      They foisted curved tabs on thunderbird users some time ago. It's possible to correct it with themes, but as I couldn't find any themes that were basically "default theme but without ugly rounded tabs" and there's no about:config option for it, I had to resort to editing the userchrome.css file - something that I'm now probably going to have to do on all my FF installations too.

      http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=2110991&postcount=5 [wilderssecurity.com]

  • According to these mockups [mozilla.com], all the sizes are pixel-based. One would think that with hidpi displays already coming out (including retina), they'be be designing vector-based and some unit relative to font-size or something.

  • One of the things I've liked most about linux (and other *nix systems, such as FreeBSD) is that a system is build up of small programs that you can combine in various ways to get someone that pleases you, the user. That's the unix way. For example, my "desktop" is a combination of a number of programs, including a display manager, window manager, terminal, and file manager. It turns out that I can replace one part (for whatever reason) and get an overall desktop that works in the same way. And it has

  • maybe going OT here but this morning while digging through files on my Mac G3, I found a Mosaic application (transferred from my Performa back in 1990s) and so I fired it up and see how it views Google and Yahoo. Not that great with a lot of text of the script, but it downloaded those pages fast (this G3 uses dialup). It can still be used to search the web (again fast as it doesn't have any ability to run all them script and cannot download all the ads).
  • Can I at least opt out of this crap? I still have my installation of Firefox set up to use the classic menus and no tabs. I'm not going to be a happy camper at all if they start breaking that layout.

    If the current trends with Firefox development keep up, it might be time to create a "Firefox Classic" fork, with the traditional UI, traditional status bar, and traditional address bar so you don't have to grub around for add-ons to get it to work the way we're used to.

  • Such as fixing the fact that it has a tendency to peg the CPU while loading pages? with multi-core machines, there's no reason why it should lag my computer while waiting for a page to download. TCP/IP isn't that hard on a cpu.

    They are *way* more important things to fix than try to be another Chrome.

  • by kbg (241421) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @08:26PM (#43920093)

    Why do they always focus on eye candy? The browser is in a need of some serious overhaul for memory usage, memory leakage, crashes, threading, multi core and some serious basic core fixes.

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Why do they always focus on eye candy? The browser is in a need of some serious overhaul for memory usage, memory leakage, crashes, threading, multi core and some serious basic core fixes.

      Because the eye candy is easier and more fun to implement. This is a chronic problem with OSS development: difficult but necessary tasks get pushed back, while developers advance work on the features they want to work on.

  • about how a company is forcing a UI design on to you.

    I guess you could go completely hardcore and use Uzbl (http://www.uzbl.org/) as your browser, where you can actually script the UI (or have the script be the UI) around the actual browser core. At least that's the impression I'm getting from it.

    What keeps me using Firefox is the add-ons, though.

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