Another glimpse at Firefox's upcoming Proton design refresh: the new menu - gHacks Tech News

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Another glimpse at Firefox's upcoming Proton design refresh: the new menu

Mozilla is working on another design refresh for its desktop version of the Firefox web browser. Some may fear the worst, others may be looking forward to design changes.

The refresh is a work in progress, and that means that things may change along the way, may not change at all, or may look totally different from what the current state shows.

The screenshot below was captured on a Windows 10 device running the latest version of Firefox Nightly with all the Proton preferences enabled.

firefox proton redesign

The screenshot shows the refreshed New Tab page, the tab bar, and the main menu.

Compared to the current design, which you see on the screenshot below, you may notice that several things have changed.

firefox current design

The New Tab page features new icons that fit better in the page and use less space on the page at the same time.

The main menu has a new cleaner look, thanks to the lack if icons, but also menu items that have been moved. Some menu items are not present in the new menu, e.g. Developer Tools are nowhere to be found, and the menu starts with the New Tab option, a new menu option not present in the old menu.

Since this is a work in progress, it is possible that the order of menu items will change, and that missing items will be added before the final release.

The tab bar looks large by default and somewhat out of place. It may be ideal for touch users as it is easier to interact with tabs in Firefox, but users who use the mouse may find it too large. There is an option to change the density to compact, and the following screenshot shows the difference between the two designs.

firefox tabs redesign

Firefox features a touch option when it comes to density as well, and it questionable why tabs in normal mode should become bigger as well, as touch uses may use the density instead.

One reason for the tab bar to look out of place right now is that the changes to the address bar are not visible yet. It remains to be seen how the final design looks like once it lands in a future Nightly version.

We talked about the changes to tabs in Firefox and the New Tab page already. Mozilla plans to change the design of other interface elements in Firefox. Apart from the main menu, which features the new design already, plans are underway to refresh the design of the address bar and info boxes.

It is unclear if the right-click context menu will also see a design refresh at this point in time.

How to enable the Proton redesign right now

Users interested in checking it out need to download the latest Nightly version of the web browser and enable a few preferences on about:config to unlock the current state of the redesign.

  1. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Confirm that you will be careful by selecting "accept the risk and continue".
  3. Search for the following preferences, and set them to TRUE to enable the feature, or to FALSE to disable it.
    • browser.proton.enabled the general toggle for the new design
    • browser.proton.appmenu.enabled to enable the new main menu.
    • browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.newNewtabExperience.enabled to enable the New Tab page design.
    • browser.proton.tabs.enabled to enable the new Tabs design.
  4. Once you have made all the changes, restart Firefox to see them in action.

Now You: What is your take on the new design. Keep in mind that it is not final at this point.

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Another glimpse at Firefox's upcoming Proton design refresh: the new menu
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Another glimpse at Firefox's upcoming Proton design refresh: the new menu
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Mozilla is working on another design refresh for its desktop version of the Firefox web browser. Some may fear the worst, others may be looking forward to design changes. 
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Comments

  1. Iron Heart said on February 10, 2021 at 2:45 pm
    Reply

    Not a copy of the Chrome menu at all… Even the menu entries are in the same order… They pay designers for that?

    1. John said on February 10, 2021 at 3:26 pm
      Reply

      For being with them. Others already got fired.

    2. about:config said on February 10, 2021 at 5:51 pm
      Reply

      Beautiful, Firefox is getting better by the day! Go Mozilla!

      And remember kids, haters don’t really hate you. They hate themselves because you’re a reflection of what they wish to be. Poor, confused people.

      1. Iron Heart said on February 10, 2021 at 9:42 pm
        Reply

        @about:config (about:cofig is dead on Android, desktop will follow – just saying)

        > Beautiful, Firefox is getting better by the day! Go Mozilla!

        Yeah, it’s getting better by becoming more like Chromium, or so Mozilla seems to think. Are you trying to confirm here that they are sad wannabes? They seem to hope that users will mistake their lookalike browser for Chrome, mistakingly sticking with it in the process. :D

        > Poor, confused people.

        You mean the < 5% of the Internet population still sticking with FF?

        http://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html

        Or do you mean the vast majority who has moved elsewhere, and which Mozilla now tries to win back by imitating the victor of the browser wars?

      2. Kölle alaaf said on February 11, 2021 at 11:08 am
        Reply

        »Mer looße üch nit allein«

        Poor, confused people.

        Iron Heart: “You mean the 5% of the Internet population still sticking with FF?”

        Facts First !

        Ferrari has a market share of 0.01% of all cars sold worldwide. That’s no indication that #ferraristas look poor nor that they are confused people.

      3. Iron Heart said on February 11, 2021 at 11:46 am
        Reply

        @Kölle alaaf

        Do I need to point at your fallacy or have you already detected it yourself? Both Firefox and Chrome can be downloaded for free. If Ferrari had the same prices at Fiat, Fiat would have ceased to exist long ago. Your comment is folly to the extreme.

      4. Man möht och jünne künne said on February 11, 2021 at 2:17 pm
        Reply

        @jeck em rään

        Facts First

        Brave uses and is based on Chromium, which according to NetMarketShare has a 0.05 percent global browser market share.

        By your logic, Brave users are 100 times more confused than Firefox users.

        Do lors de, wat! … or do I need to point at your fallacy?

      5. Iron Heart said on February 11, 2021 at 2:38 pm
        Reply

        @Man möht och jünne künne

        Chromium is the basis of many browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, Samsung Internet etc. In summary, those browsers have a worldwide market share of more approx. 80%, dwarfing Safari (WebKit) and even more so Firefox (Gecko):

        https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share

        Are you done writing fairly dumb comments now, or do I have to reply to yet another one? You are wasting my time.

      6. promoting healthier online discourse said on February 11, 2021 at 7:15 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart
        Facts First

        Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Samsung Internet etc. are not based on Brave. Add to that the Fact that Brave isn’t even mentioned on gs.statcounter!
        How come?

        “However, finding any statistics or data on Brave’s global market share can be challenging. The reason for this is because it’s ‘disguised’ as other more popular browsers Therefore, users will be counted and seen as originating from Chrome or Firefox, rather than from Brave itself.”
        – source: kinsta.com

        Let’s confront this quandary with the latest alternative facts: The Brave Belly Button – MAU

        Hmmm … 3.8 to 8.6 million daily active Brave users disguised as the more popular Firefox? That explains it all. What a confusion!

        By strict adherence to your principle:
        “Every contradiction can be explained away; no form of argument can prevail against it”
        we must immediately subtract these numbers from Firefox Monthly Active Users — Et voilà! Confusion is gone ;~)

        Still confused my dear Iron Heart [Editor: please use the correct user name]? No surprise → By your own logic, Brave users are 100 times more confused than Firefox users.

        Kölle alaaf

      7. Iron Heart said on February 12, 2021 at 8:44 am
        Reply

        @the usual suspect

        > Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Samsung Internet etc. are not based on Brave.

        No, they aren’t “based on Brave” – Brave and them are all based on Chromium, the tech that dominates 80% of the market.

        > Add to that the Fact that Brave isn’t even mentioned on gs.statcounter!

        It’s not mentioned because Brave identifies itself as Chrome, it uses the Google Chrome user agent. Thus it appears as Chrome and is a subset of the Chrome market share figure. Please do your research.

        > alternative facts

        Quotes a real source and calls it “alternative facts”. One *facepalm* isn’t enough here.

        > Brave users are 100 times more confused than Firefox users.

        Why are you focusing on Brave? Brave is a Chromium variant, and there are others like it (most popular being Google Chrome). Firefox is tiny and irrelevant compared to Chromium, of which Brave is just one out of many offshoots.

        Please stop the idiotic replies, we get it, the fast growing Brave project that is only a subset of the dominating market force (Chromium) has confused users compared to the complete failure of a project that is Mozilla (going by current stats), it’s OK. We get it.

      8. I am the Doctor Eisenbarth said on February 12, 2021 at 3:35 pm
        Reply

        @the only usual suspect

        > No, they aren’t “based on Brave” … and so on and all the rest of your usual rhabarbar rhabarbarum

        Have you ever come across the term “Classical Conditioning”

        > We get it.

        Not even in a hundred years!

      9. Alex said on February 12, 2021 at 9:12 am
        Reply

        How much do you get paid for writting nonsenses, bad karma for you!!

      10. BluePill said on February 18, 2021 at 7:51 pm
        Reply

        @Alex I too have wondered how much Brave are paying Iron Heart

      11. PsychologyWorks said on February 12, 2021 at 5:33 pm
        Reply

        Your time is worthless and cannot be wasted. You are here all day and your comments make up 17% of this entire article at the time I write this.

        * [Editor: removed, please keep it polite]

      12. Iron Heart said on February 13, 2021 at 8:15 am
        Reply

        @PsychologyWorks

        Now 18%, just to piss you off. :D Fewer nonsense replies to my comments mean that I have to write fewer responses. Do the math.

      13. MathsIsCool said on February 18, 2021 at 7:53 pm
        Reply

        > Now 18%

        That’s not how math works. Are you smarter than a 3rd grader?

      14. Iron Heart said on February 19, 2021 at 4:47 pm
        Reply

        @MathIsCool

        * [Editor: removed, please..]

    3. ShintoPlasm said on February 10, 2021 at 8:04 pm
      Reply

      Barf.

    4. binocry said on February 10, 2021 at 9:27 pm
      Reply

      LMAO firefox now wants to be chromefox. the next step is to use the chromium engine and remove the gecko LOL

      1. Iron Heart said on February 11, 2021 at 8:09 am
        Reply

        @binocry

        I think that is unironically going to happen – more and more web devs stop caring about the irrelevancy that is the Gecko engine in 2021 ’cause market share. This will force Mozilla to look at this option (adopting Chromium), if you ask me.

      2. Mettworscht said on February 12, 2021 at 2:07 pm
        Reply

        My conclusion is that firefox gets worse and worse with every update. Why can’t they just let the design as it is right now…?

    5. Anonymous said on February 11, 2021 at 12:28 am
      Reply

      Yeah, when is Chrome going to stop copying Firefox?

      Firefox 2002
      Chrome 2008

      1. Iron Heart said on February 11, 2021 at 8:06 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        Mozilla has lost the browser wars:

        http://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html

        So they are trying to copy the winner, hoping that this will make users return to them. IMHO, it’s not going to happen.
        Besides, Chromium (which is not identical with Chrome, by the way) has pioneered many important UI concepts, like the omnibar, tabs above the omnibar, the hamburger menu etc. It also pioneered the multiprocess architecture, which Firefox didn’t even have until 2016. Just saying.

        The fact that they are both browsers at their core doesn’t mean that Chromium is a copy of Firefox.

    6. Perceptivo said on February 12, 2021 at 6:36 pm
      Reply

      @Iron Heart: forget the haters, you are on a righteous mission and will not, and should not, stop until 99% of all comments on ghacks are about the many flaws of Firefox and Mozilla fanboys. There’s simply so much more to say on the topic. I’m not sure how this particular change in Firefox is a copy from Chrome’s features though. Could you explain what you mean by that?

      1. Iron Heart said on February 13, 2021 at 8:23 am
        Reply

        @Perceptivo

        > I’m not sure how this particular change in Firefox is a copy from Chrome’s features though. Could you explain what you mean by that?

        No problemo:

        Exhibit 1, Chrome’s hamburger menu when clicked: https://www.bleepstatic.com/images/news/web-browsers/chrome/chrome-73/managed-by-your-organization/settings-menu-full.jpg

        Exhibit 2: The upper picture in the article.

        Looks so identical, it’s embarrassing. Another one for good measure:

        Exhibit 3, Chrome’s print dialogue: https://www.androidcentral.com/sites/androidcentral.com/files/styles/large/public/article_images/2020/04/native-chromebook-print-8.jpg?itok=mBx8MYKu

        Exhibit 4, Firefox new print dialogue: https://old.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/lh3y26/firefox_is_getting_a_print_dialogue_redesign/

        Again, looks so identical, it’s embarrassing. QED.

  2. Coriy said on February 10, 2021 at 2:52 pm
    Reply

    I see they got rid of the helpful icons in the menu and reordered the entries, as well as removing some things. That’ll go over so well, as user’s muscle memory gets things wrong. I’m surprised that they haven’t changed the back and forward buttons in the refresh, it’s been years since they messed with those.

    1. John said on February 10, 2021 at 3:26 pm
      Reply

      Yeah, stupid changes.

  3. Anonymous said on February 10, 2021 at 2:55 pm
    Reply

    Where’s the option to change density?

  4. Anonymous said on February 10, 2021 at 4:11 pm
    Reply

    Address bar and new ‘tabs’ – ugly and uglier.

  5. name_same said on February 10, 2021 at 4:22 pm
    Reply

    We want colorzed icons!
    why it’s so hard to understand.

    1. Allwynd said on February 10, 2021 at 7:11 pm
      Reply

      Because it’s no longer 2004.

      But I feel you, these new flat designs with monochrome icons are both so ugly and so boring.

      I think they do them like that and enforce them, because of laziness and because it’s easier for them to maintain them.

      Probably scaling is also a thing. A colorful icon with gradients and gloss will probably not scale properly. If it’s too small, when it’s upscaled, it will look blurry and ugly. If it’s too big so it looks alright when upscaled, chances are if it’s downscaled, it will look kinda fuzzy and somewhat pixelated also kinda ugly.

      I guess colorful icons with gradients were OK in like 2003-2006 when people did not have huge monitors, now people have 4K or 8K monitors.

      1. John said on February 10, 2021 at 10:32 pm
        Reply

        This new menu DOESN’T have any icons, monochrome or colored.

      2. LookItUp said on February 11, 2021 at 2:27 am
        Reply

        “Probably scaling is also a thing” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalable_Vector_Graphics … key word SCALABLE

      3. Anonymous said on February 11, 2021 at 4:39 am
        Reply

        There’s no connection between colorful and scaling.

        Newer designers are just becoming more lazy.

  6. Ryan F said on February 10, 2021 at 4:38 pm
    Reply

    I hated Australis so much that I always used an extension to change it and give it square tabs. I was extremely happy with the current design when it was introduced. Now they’re changing it again? I know the world doesn’t revolve around me, but I wish they would just leave it alone at this point. Not a huge fan of change for the sake of change, but it still looks a lot better than Australis so I’m not too upset.

    Curious about one thing – the screenshot showing off the new layout has a uBlock Origin icon while the screenshot of the current layout lacks this. Does this mean uBlock Origin is installed/enabled by default, or am I reading too much into this?

    1. James said on February 14, 2021 at 6:44 am
      Reply

      > Does this mean uBlock Origin is installed/enabled by default, or am I reading too much into this?

      You are. Either the icon is hidden in the >> overflow menu, or Martin just used a different setup/profile this time.

  7. Toni said on February 10, 2021 at 4:57 pm
    Reply

    I think Firefox just completely lost it’s way,they want to be Chrome so bad it’s embarassing.Also they need to stop catering to touch users.

  8. Thaumiel said on February 10, 2021 at 5:25 pm
    Reply

    So much waste of space and padding. Did they hire GNOME developers to design it?

    1. Anonymous said on February 12, 2021 at 9:54 pm
      Reply

      This is the real question!

      I hope they are not trying to make one interface for Touch and Desktop.

      Firefox <3<3

  9. Paul(us) said on February 10, 2021 at 5:32 pm
    Reply

    What I am personally a big fan of is: rows below each other. Like the Tab manager add-on was offering. Maybe I have overlooked it but I still cant find a add-on or command that gives me that opinion.
    Anybody do you know a easy to use command or also easy to use add-on who does this?

  10. Cor said on February 10, 2021 at 5:50 pm
    Reply

    I think this design visually changes tabs into buttons. Not sure if that’s the best idea.

    1. James said on February 14, 2021 at 6:46 am
      Reply

      It’s a terrible idea – what’s there to be is unsure of?!

      1. James said on February 14, 2021 at 6:47 am
        Reply

        *be unsure

  11. Carl Gustav said on February 10, 2021 at 5:56 pm
    Reply

    Applying makeup to the dead body…

    1. James said on February 14, 2021 at 6:49 am
      Reply

      Same sentiment, but “applying lipstick on a pig” sounds far less macabre. :)

  12. Kwasiarz said on February 10, 2021 at 7:44 pm
    Reply

    9 years later they still think copying everything from Chrome is a great idea to attract users to Firefox…
    Sometimes I wonder why do I still even bother with this browser.

    1. James said on February 14, 2021 at 6:51 am
      Reply

      Inertia, and a desperate hope that things might improve. Sadly that’s unlikely to ever happen based on their past record, as you’ve yourself pointed out.

  13. Anonymous said on February 10, 2021 at 7:52 pm
    Reply

    Rectangular tabs to rounded tabs, then back to rectangular tabs and now rectangular tabs that seem to appear disconnected from the URL-bar. To me this does not look nice, but I could accept that and that they seem to be thicker, but the menu is much worse due to it not having icons, if that is what it would finally be and the spacing of the new menu is bad as well.

    Certainly for touch-devices and for handicapped people it appears to be a good open to have thicker elements with more space between certain elements, but it should be optional.

    Overall it does not look better or seems to feel better in the way it can be used nor does it seem to improve much if anything at all. Well UI creators can do one thing, create UIs, but I feel Mozilla needs engineers. Even better would have to be a goal, which is not to copy other browser. If someone likes to use Chrome, he or she will not switch because Firefox will look the same.

  14. empirefall said on February 10, 2021 at 9:13 pm
    Reply

    meh, if this is what the redesign looks like, I would rather stick with the old design, I am mostly indifferent about it as long as Mozilla does not make the functionality of the tab bar worse than it already is, I am fine with the redesign as long as I can continue to enjoy the same convenience that I do with the contemporary tab bar

    I like that the icons were removed from the hamburger menu, it does look cleaner, the icons serve a better purpose as a minimalist way to present shortcuts functions that are pinned to the awesome bar

    if there is anything I wish Mozilla would do is to bring back the add-on bar FFS!
    I want a Tab Bar, I want an Awesome Bar (that is not cluttered with add-ons) but I also want an Add-on Bar goddamnit! (I do not want to access addons from a menu that is tucked away) I usually have my browser window minimized and pinned to one side of the screen so that I can have another application pinned to the other side (so that I can multitask), that leaves little space and makes a real hassel when fiddling around with the extensions in the add-ons menu, I have no idea who in their right mind thought that it was a good idea to get rid of the add-on bar outright, users are not even given the choice to reinstate it, what a joke

  15. Anonymous said on February 10, 2021 at 11:20 pm
    Reply

    Looks awful. Another nail in Firefox coffin.

  16. Farmers said on February 11, 2021 at 12:33 am
    Reply

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see very much different between them. Certainly nothing drastic, and based on this I probably won’t notice the change when it happens.

  17. King of the Night said on February 11, 2021 at 11:19 am
    Reply

    New menu lokks more… Chromish…

  18. Christoph54 said on February 11, 2021 at 12:25 pm
    Reply

    If a once Conservative developer betrays its origin ideology and user-base – copying the role-model and discarding your own unique creation (XUL) is the result.

    Social Justice Warriors and Progressives are a disease to everything – whatever they influence they destroy in the process.

    This is just utterly saddening.

    1. John said on February 15, 2021 at 3:03 pm
      Reply

      What does a browser redesign have to do with politics? Way to drag politics into everything

    2. Michael said on February 15, 2021 at 4:12 pm
      Reply

      Crying about “social justice warriors” on an article about a browser redesign? Stop being a snowflake and give Mozilla constructive criticism.

  19. Cocoa Puff said on February 11, 2021 at 3:32 pm
    Reply

    This is a move in the right direction, but will it have singing, animated emojis and icons? I want that!

  20. Stella said on February 12, 2021 at 3:25 am
    Reply

    I love it!

  21. Anonymous said on February 12, 2021 at 6:11 pm
    Reply

    Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy, that “ghacks.net##.comment-item:has-text(Iron Heart said)” uBlock Origin filter works great!!! I opened this artcle in a different browser and GAWD what a bunch of stupid shit!

    1. Iron Heart said on February 12, 2021 at 7:04 pm
      Reply

      Glad you like it. Nobody cares.

      The best part, though: You’ll never read this comment. I don’t want ignorants who can’t bear reality to read my comments. If they mute themselves, great.

      1. Stella said on February 13, 2021 at 5:16 pm
        Reply

        It looks like you care tho.

      2. Iron Heart said on February 13, 2021 at 5:43 pm
        Reply

        @Stella

        No, I don’t. The more Firefox fanboys don’t comment under my posts, the better for me, and the better for gHacks. Everyone profits, including myself.

  22. computer said no said on February 19, 2021 at 6:34 pm
    Reply

    URLbar,tabs,menus.
    These are the fundamental features of all browsers so who is copying whom.?
    You could say chrome copied netscape for example and so it could go on.
    The most innovative browser would surely have to be the first ever produced.

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