Mozilla's Firefox web browser supports three different theme densities. Normal is enabled by default, but users may switch to Touch mode, for touch-based devices, and Compact mode, to reduce the height of the browser interface and get more room for displayed webpages.
Mozilla revealed plans to remove the latter in an entry on its bug tracking website. Problem was: the wording of the bug made it look like as if the organization based the decision on assumptions and not on hard data.
Sites started to report about it and the discussion heated up quickly. Mozilla may have been unprepared for the backlash and negative press it received from Firefox users and media outlets.
Engineers added new information to the bug, and it appears that at least some of the engineers are interested in getting hard data about usage of the Compact mode feature before making any rash decisions.
Mozilla plans to collect Telemetry data about the usage of compact mode in Firefox. Since the company is working on a new design for Firefox, codename Proton, another bug has been added to collect data about user preferences between normal and compact mode with Proton enabled as well.
Proton will increase the size of the browser chrome significantly when it lands. One positive outcome of all of this is that Mozilla did reduce the height of the navigational toolbar in the Proton version by 8 pixels already, and that it did improve the compact density mode as well under Proton.
There is still hope for Firefox users who use Compact mode in the browser. While it is still possible that the mode will get removed after all, it is reassuring that Mozilla is not just going ahead with the change without basing it on data or reconsidering.
To be fair, objections about the upcoming change were also voiced by Mozilla employees, especially those in the engineering department (as opposed to the UX department, the driver of the change).
Many Firefox users seem to be unaware that they can change the density of the interface, but Mozilla still seems to have been surprised by the reaction of users in regards to the removal of Compact mode in Firefox.
Now You: do you use Compact mode, or would you, if your favorite browser would support it?Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.