Can Firefox’s New Look Save the Web Browser?


Firefox published version 89 recently with a new look called Proton. It brings a major change to the user interface in its colors and appearance, giving the Web browser a more modern atmosphere.

Web browsers look incredibly similar these days, with tabs at the top, an accessible menu to the right, and a bookmarks bar if you like. However, Mozilla has been unique in these browser wars, working on improving its own Gecko engine instead of moving to WebKit or Google’s Chromium variant like Microsoft Edge has done.

With the new look now available on all platforms, we spoke to Mozilla about the new version, and if he has any particular hopes for WWDC next week.

A new look

Using the new user interface, it made us wonder why redesigning it now?

“At the end of 2020, we had a vision of what we wanted Firefox to be. Right now, we are living in a hectic time where people face really difficult challenges every day. Problems that pop up all over the web are difficult to solve, ”a Mozilla spokesperson told us via email.

“We believe the browser should be software you can count on to protect you, whether it’s privacy, performance or security, and it looks amazing and it works. seamless with the Web. “

While the UI is clearly an improvement over what came before, it also prompted the team to work on overall browser optimization.

“On June 1, our version of Firefox had groundbreaking design work, inspiring engineering work, and a really great end product,” they tell us. “With this release, we made it our mission to save everyone’s time. On Firefox, this means speeding up page loading, using less memory, or simply streamlining daily browser use.

We believe we have a new take on the internet and the tools we use to operate the web.

In every project we do, there is always an aspect to be proud of, no matter how minor. Mozilla agreed.

“The team is very proud of the simplified and clutter-free menus. We prioritized the content based on what people clicked on when they visited the menu, ”we were told.

“We made the labels less cryptic and more consistent. Additionally, we’ve removed some items and updated icons to make it easier for people to see where they want to go at a glance. We’ve worked to deliver an engaging, high-quality experience so people can feel calm no matter where they’re using Firefox – on a computer, phone, or tablet. It meant reducing and streamlining rather than adding and expanding.

Accessibility in Proton

A new UI must also cater for those with accessibility needs, so we asked if Proton’s new look makes sure to accommodate that.

“For this release, we looked at the use of dark themes and colors and the overall minimization of visual noise,” Mozilla explained. “This year, we will continue to work with the accessibility community to address their specific needs and integrate them into future releases. “

It appears that the company is not yet done improving accessibility for Firefox and Proton as a whole.

However, one aspect of the user interface that is already beyond many users are the tabs. They seem more suited to touchscreens, so we asked Mozilla if this was on purpose.

“For the tabs, our main goal was to redesign these tabs to float perfectly, and we’ve added visual indicators, like blocking videos from autoplaying until you’re ready to visit that tab,” Mozilla explains. “Over 50% of people have four or more tabs open. We’ve detached the browser tab to make it more inviting to move, rearrange, and extract tabs in a new window to suit your flow, and organize them so they’re easier to find.

Gecko engine on iOS 15?

Of course, we are on the eve of Apple’s WWDC where iOS 15, macOS 12 and many more updates are expected to be announced. I asked Mozilla if they had any wishes of their own, or even if they were just allowed to use the Gecko engine instead of WebKit, which is a requirement for Apple App Store browsers. .

“Yes, the most obvious is being able to take advantage of GeckoView in our Firefox iOS app. Overall, Apple is a partner and we were very happy to see the new privacy features rolled out with iOS 14 and the default browser option. We hope for more good news for this next WWDC.

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