A Look At The Latest Firefox 4.0 Design

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 27, 2010
Updated • Feb 23, 2015

Mozilla is working on several different branches of the web browser at the same time currently.

The latest public version, Firefox 3.6.6 just released today, and Firefox 3.7 which will be renamed to Firefox 4.0 later this year.

The latest Nightly version of Firefox 4.0 concentrates on finalizing the graphical user interface of the web browser.

We have reviewed some design changes like tabs on top or Windows Aero support in the past already but recent changes justify taking another look to see what is new and changed.

Chrome and Opera users will recognize many similarities to interface elements in their browsers while Firefox users on the hand may need some time to get used to those changes.

firefox 4.0
firefox 4.0

The most obvious user interface changes are visible in the Firefox header. The menu bar has been reduced to a Minefield/Firefox button which displays the menu items on click.

Tabs are not on top of the address bar by default. That's again similar to how Google Chrome and Opera display tabs but there is still an option to display them at the bottom instead if that is preferred.

Both options can be reverted by customizing the top bars in Firefox. The menu can be expanded and the tabs placed under the address bar. It remains to be seen if those options will be available in the final Firefox 4.0 release as well.

Firefox users who have placed other UI elements in the menu bar in previous versions will notice that they are automatically hidden if the single menu button is active. A bookmarks bar placed in the menu toolbar for instance is not visible in the default design. Lots of free space in the main toolbar which could be put to good use.

The title bar has been removed, page titles are now displayed in tabs only.

The navigational elements fit nicely in the design. The arrow symbol next to the forward and backward buttons provides a listing of the last opened tabs in the web browser.

New buttons can be added to the toolbars as well, available are for instance buttons to display the bookmarks or download manager.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users will notice that the Aero implementation is still not optimal depending on background colors. A dark background image makes the displayed menu bar items almost unreadable.

firefox 4 windows aero
firefox 4 windows aero

The graphical user interface nears completion but it is likely that it will be fine tuned by the developers to sort out the latest quirks before the beta versions and release candidates get released.

The revamped add-ons manager is another new interface element in Firefox 4.0. The manager displays in a tab in the browser now and includes options to manage add-ons, themes, plugins and to get new add-ons there.

firefox 4 addons manager
firefox 4 addons manager

Firefox users who want to test the latest Firefox 4.0 builds can download it from the locations below for their operating system:

[removed as they are no longer recent builds]

What's your take on the new Firefox design?


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  1. edo248 said on July 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I didn’t liked new addons manager. It is just over-sized, without providing much info, maybe good for beginners, but there should be an option to have “classic” windowed one. Also it doesn’t work with All-in-one-sidebar, which is the most inconvenient thing for me in the new design.

    Hope to have more profeesional design solutions in Firefox, not just copying from Chrome( which i don’t think is better just beacause of simplicity) or trying to look *COOL*(like in addon manager case).

    I want Firefox to be MY browser, PERSONAL.
    Overall not impressed with new design chnages, need more creativity.

  2. pizza fırını said on July 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Looks like firefox really inspired by the chrome. I expected firefox team to be more creative

  3. lefty.crupps said on June 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    > and also has a LOT of icons at the top-right of the screen that don’t do anything
    > except drop-down my bookmarks
    Turning on the Bookmarks toolbar removes these icons. Not exactly what I wanted, but better.

  4. lefty.crupps said on June 28, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Loading on Debian GNU/Linux Sid with KDE 4.4.4, this disables all of my current addons and themes, and also has a LOT of icons at the top-right of the screen that don’t do anything except drop-down my bookmarks. The icons are all the left/right/stop/reload/home/downloads… icons, repeated over and over…

  5. Allan said on June 28, 2010 at 11:04 am

    On XP my minefield button appears on it’s own line between the title bar and the address bar. Looks dumb sitting there by itself. If XP doesn’t support putting it up in the title bar then whack it on the end of the address bar line.

  6. bf said on June 28, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Actually looks like Chrome. Hate these changes. Will not be updating until all userstyles are ready to make it more acceptable.

  7. Trent said on June 28, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Looks like Internet Explorer. Way to innovate, Mozilla!

  8. Ahmad said on June 28, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Same asStormtrooprDave, I don`t get Minefield button… Martin help us or any other member….

    1. Martin said on June 28, 2010 at 7:51 am

      If you do not see it you have to right-click the toolbar, select customize and disable the Menu bar.

  9. Muhammad Najem said on June 28, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Thanks Martin . Firefox 4 will be the best browser ever ! or at least that’s what I think :) . Google Chrome crashes a lot even in stable versions and Opera is just too complicated so that makes Firefox the winner :)

  10. StormtrooprDave said on June 28, 2010 at 12:02 am

    I’ve updated to the latest Minefield version but it’s not showing the new ui changes?

  11. Bruno ReX said on June 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    This is even better than the Tiny Menu extension.

  12. Daniel said on June 27, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    New tab position is welcome.
    Keeping an option open will likely be appreciated by many users.

    Not much into personas so, if they can still allow my favorite Littlebird addon as theme, then that will be just fine for me.

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