The latest Firefox update has been released for general consumption and it’s loaded with big changes.
The most striking, of course, is the way the overall interface has been sleekified and rearranged. The default tool bar has been stripped completely clean, giving users the option to add only the tools they want. And adding those tools is super convenient: the Customize link is easily found on the new dropdown menu. A drag and drop page allows you to place tools and functions where they make the most sense to you. The only items you can’t move are the address field and dropdown menu icon (so you don’t inadvertently lock yourself out of the interface).
One thing you may have noticed even before the new UI is the tabs. Firstly—no second, first is that they’re very pretty—the difference between the inactive tabs and the active tab is much more dramatic. While I question the overall need (I personally wasn’t aware that the old inactive tabs were distracting) it does make for a much cleaner look. And, well, they’re pretty.
These visible changes reflect four priorities for the massive update:
- To give Firefox users their most beautiful, deeply designed experience to date.
- To streamline and declutter the default interface—in a sense, cleaning the slate—providing a versatile experience for the way people are using browsers today.
- To make it easier for more users to customize their browser.
- To improve consistency across multiple devices.
Ultimately, Mozilla aims to lay a foundation for seamlessly accommodating future features, and wants to make the browser’s inevitable growth and changes less of a roller coaster ride for users. While predicting the future of the web is a less-than-perfect science, it’s clear a great deal of careful and inspired thought has been put into this release.