Mozilla’s Australis Survey gives you the chance to tell them what you think of it

The Australis redesign of the Firefox web browser is the most controversial change since the removal of the status bar in Firefox 4. That's at least my opinion on the matter, and judging from comments left here on this site, it is fair to say that I'm not the only one who does not really like it.

My personal concerns are not about aesthetics though. I could care less if tabs are curved, squared, or in triangle shape, or if there is a Firefox menu button or a single icon button.

What I dislike are the changes that impact functionality. The new menu, as customizable as it may be, does not provide you with all the functionality that the Firefox menu button offers. That's the main reason why I have removed everything out of that menu with the exception of addons, options and developer.

In fact, ever since my version of Firefox was upgraded to Australis, I have started to use the Menubar more frequently (by using the Alt-key to display it).

The menu is just one example though. Moving interface elements around, or merging them, may look good on paper, but it is impracticable for many users who do not use the browser the way the designers want it to be used.

Why merge the bookmarks star icon and bookmarks menu? If you only want to display one of them, or both but in different locations, then you cannot do so unless you install extensions.

Why remove the add-on bar and force all extension icons in the address bar? Why force tabs on top? Why remove options to modify the icon size of interface elements, or the ability to display text icons?

If you have played around with a version of Firefox that was moved to Australis already, which is Nightly only or special builds, then you may want to voice your opinion on it. While there is little chance that Mozilla will undo Australis completely, it may resolve some of the issues that users are experiencing.

Anyway, Mozilla has created a survey for users of Firefox 29 which they can use to voice their opinion on Firefox Australis.

firefox australis survey

The questions:

  1. Thinking back to when you first saw this change in Nightly, please tell us about your initial impression. On a scale of 1-7, with 1 being that it was a horrible change and 7 being that it was perfect, how did you feel about the new interfaceat the time? [Scale from Horrible to Perfect]
  2. After having used this new Firefox interface for a while, how do you feel about it now? Please, let us know on a scale of 1-7, with 1 being horrible change and 7 being perfect. [Scale from Horrible to Perfect]
  3. Has this new interface significantly changed the way you use Firefox or is it keeping you from using Firefox the way you want? [Yes or No]
  4. If you select Yes, another text area pops up which you can use to elaborate what has changed for you.
  5.  Do you have any general comments about this interface change that will help us improve the experience for other Firefox users as we roll it out? [Text area}

Once you have filled out those, you are taken to the second page of the survey:

  1. Prior to the new interface, what methods did you use to customize the look and feel of Firefox? (installed extensions, moved buttons or elements around, made my own toolbars, edited files directly such as userChrome.css, used Firefox themes, other, did not customize Firefox at all)
  2. After using the new interface, what methods did you use to customize the look and feel of Firefox? (installed extensions, moved buttons to the new dropdown menu, moved buttons or rearranged the new toolbar, used themes, edited files directly, other, did not customize Firefox)
  3. If you select the "dropdown menu" answer here (you can select multiple), a new slider comes up which you can use to grade the new customization features of Firefox from Horrible to Perfect.
  4. Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your experiences customizing Firefox that will help us improve Firefox for future users? (Textarea)

There you go. If you have something to say about Australis, now is your chance to do so.

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Responses to Mozilla’s Australis Survey gives you the chance to tell them what you think of it

  1. bastik December 26, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    The screenshot shows Opera.

    I'm not sure if they will listen to this feedback, but hey hope is dying last.

  2. Srap December 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I'll just leave this here: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=13268507#p13268507

    • Keith December 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

      Yep, the post by ratman says it all.

  3. Maou December 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Just submitted my feedback, hope they will listen.

    Australis should be optional at installation time and not imposed like they want.

    I don´t use Chrome for two things:

    1- I don´t trust google (yes I can compile my own Chromium build but that´s too much work)

    2- I can´t personalize Chrome the way I need

    Opera is not an option anymore since they decide to be a "chrome"

    I hope that Moonchild can keep Palemoon using the old interface for a long time.

  4. Pierre December 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I'm not sure it is diplomatic displaying an Opera screenshot...
    I answered to the enquiry

    • Martin Brinkmann December 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      Why not? It is a survey that you can fill out in any browser.

  5. Dwight Stegall December 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    I have been using it since the first day it showed up in Nightly. I use the 64-bit version. I agree with you it makes no sense to have more screen space to view content and have a menu to put your less used addon buttons in. Keep them out there on your toolbars where they can really ugly up the screen.

    People have been bitching for years that they wanted the GUI to take up less space. A lot of them have dumped Firefox and Installed Chrome for this reason Now I think a lot of them will be coming back since it is now possible to make it way smaller in Firefox. Addons can make it even smaller.

    If you insist on having more unnecessary toolbars you can get them and make toolbar icons smaller in Classic Theme Restorer. It has many more options like move tabs back to the bottom. More are being added with every update.

    Australis Slimmr addon allows you to autohide the navbar.

    With just these two addons you can make the GUI so small it will almost be like fullscreen mode. You'll have to be patient. Not all addons work with it yet. Noia 4 addon and LavaFox V2 themes have been updated to work with Australis Build. But have a hard time displaying toolbars for now. They'll get them fixed soon.

    Don't let articles like this one talk you out of trying it. Then add the above addons and I think you will change your mind about Australis Build. There is no way I want to go back to the old interface. I couldn't stop laughing when I first installed it. But after a few days I loved it.

    • Neal December 26, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

      Except the new Australis takes up more space than the old interface, they eliminated small icon mode and increased the padding between the bars and made the tabs bigger. You can use addons, but that defeats the whole purpose of having a default GUI. Most people don't only use Firefox at home, they use it at other places so dealing with Vanilla Firefox is unavoidable.

      If the vanilla Firefox experience is bad, they will just switch browsers.

    • Nonqu December 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      That's not true. Here: Firefox 25 http://i.imgur.com/gjCBoc5.png That's the whole UI that's visible when I have AiOS minimized. Australis will never get to this.

  6. Clas December 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Hi Martin, good info as always. The survey by firefox. personally i think it will end up in their trash. what would be meaningful would be a note from firefox showing the results of the survey and what if any changes they make as a result. i really think they have shut off their long-time loyal users and have decided to change paths no matter if we like it or not. but time will tell.

  7. sirpaul2 December 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Add-ons should enhance functionality, not replace it. I used to have about 10 add-ons. Now it's about 20. Bad move on Mozilla's part for power users in favor of noobs. It's almost like the death of a good friend, and his idiot brother want's to be your friend now. The adoption rates will be interesting.

  8. michaelpaul December 26, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    I REALLY DONT CARE WHAT FIREFOX DOES ,WAS USING FF SINCE FF 3 ..AS THEY UPDATED AND REACHED VERSION
    25 WAS THE END FOR ME .. SLOW AS CAN BE ,EACH NEW UPDATE SEEMED MORE BLOATED OR FELT THAT WAY ,WHEN I SAW THIS Australis THAT WHAT WAS IT ..BYE BYE
    FIREFOX JUST MERGE WITH CHROME YOUR ALMOST THERE!!
    TRIED CHROME TOOK A WHILE BUT FOUND EVERY EXTENSION I NEEDED AND THAT I HAD IN FIREFOX
    OH YEAH BY THE WAY ..FAST ..QUICK ,RESPONSIVE ..
    CHROME IS ABSOLUTE ....

    • Jeannie December 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      Bullshit

  9. Hogart December 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    Thanks for making it clear what your own stance is with this article, thus informing me on what my own opinion should be. I guess my only option is to say bye to Firefox, because it's no longer precisely what it used to be, and you do not like it. I definitely must hate Mozilla for making their browser worse, and leaving my only options as Chrome (an inferior browser, but hey, at least it's occasional changes are just as annoying) or Opera (which completely changed into a Chrome clone, but hey, at least that's totally a choice the users had input into).

    At least the ghacks writers are still living up to "hacks" in the name.

  10. alex hell December 27, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    NEW UI : https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19362080/ifewioweww.jpg

  11. Daniel December 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Here's another place to voice opinions:
    https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2013/12/12/australis-for-add-on-developers-1/

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