Blinded by the light! – An improved image viewing experience in Firefox

4 January, 2012 § 19 Comments

Starting with Firefox 11 (currently in Aurora), directly viewed images in Firefox are finally treated as a first-class citizen within the web browser. Thanks to the contributions of Carlo Alberto Ferraris, images are now centered vertically and horizontally and placed upon a neutral/dark grey background [1].

Browsing the internet with the lights turned off and clicking on a link to an image used to result in short term blindness, what I like to call getting “blinded by the light”. It’s crazy that Bruce Springsteen and Manfred Mann have been talking about this use case for so long and it took until now for it to get fixed :)

Here’s some screenshots of what it looks like in case you’re using something older than Firefox Aurora or one of those other web browsers:

The cool kids using Firefox Aurora or Firefox Nightly are seeing and experiencing this change already. Join us today!

[1] For those feeling like this is too much change, Dagger has created the “Old Default Image” add-on that adds the ability to revert to the previous behavior or change the background color to your own liking.

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§ 19 Responses to Blinded by the light! – An improved image viewing experience in Firefox

  • Kees Grinwis says:

    It’s a pitty that there isn’t a switch included to change between a dark and a light background. Most of the time the dark colour is acceptable, however when viewing an image with a shading I’d temporary like a light (white) background.

    The missing switch is a mistake in my opinion…

    • msujaws says:

      There have been a few people who have been looking in to what it would take to add a switch that could change the background color. As it stands now, it seems like we will try to follow the “keep it simple” approach. The issues related to the contrast between images and their surrounding background aren’t new. Can you try Dagger’s add-on?

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  • zorb says:

    mozilla has always been providing about:config switches for such changes and i think its very important to have one here.

    such changes feel cool – but its also what alienate users don’t like big visual changes so they need *at least* a complex hidden switch so they know they can switch back if they really hate it.
    it’s not that they will switch, but at least, they know they can, and that make them a little more at ease.

    when there’s no switch at all, they go all crazy with “this sucks, im leaving for xxx”.

    it’s not like if a switch like that was any big deal code or bloat wise ;-)

    You guys know that by now…

    anyway, eventually firefox could also detect if the background color is too similar to the picture edge, it could dark or lighten itself a little bit to create enough contrast,too – wouldb’t be too noticeable but allows you to see the edges of the picture.

    • msujaws says:

      At this point, there is a very good switch that was implemented by Dagger. As far as having one built-in to Firefox, that would probably be dependent on Bug 677302 getting fixed.

  • In addition to a color switch (even invisible, maybe just a simple keyboard shortcut like), it would be great to finally have a solution to zoom/unzoom the picture without clicking but with the keyboard (pressing Space for instance).

  • Jeff Walden says:

    At risk of jumping the shark design-wise, if it were just me I’d add a small (in color and/or in size) box-shadow to the image to make it look like it’s floating on the gray background. This would also make the image dimensions more obvious, for images which fit inside the viewport dimensions. I have no idea if this has been considered, just throwing it out there if it hasn’t been.

  • Kees Grinwis says:

    msujaws :
    There have been a few people who have been looking in to what it would take to add a switch that could change the background color. As it stands now, it seems like we will try to follow the “keep it simple” approach. The issues related to the contrast between images and their surrounding background aren’t new. Can you try Dagger’s add-on?

    I’ve just tested the add-on and I do not think that this is the solution. With the add-on everything is reset to the old solution.

    However for most of the images the new solution is nicer, however when looking at (PNG) images with a shadow and/or alpha blending a white background would be much better.

    Adding a light switch should allow a user to have both, when the switch is turned of the background is dark and it will light up when switched on. This could be in a pop-up menu to prevent cluttering the visible user interface….

    I really hope that this will be revisited and solved…

  • MT says:

    Dark background isn’t actually an improvement. Most of sites have white background, so opening an image on dark background may itself make huge “blinded by the light” effect.

    about:config pref should be added for image background color. It could be named like image.background, and its value could be have CSS-hex format like #ededed or #ccc.

    Thanks.

  • AC says:

    Leaving aside its aesthetics (which I’m not too fond of, but probably because I’m not use to it), I’m not liking the fact that I can’t highlight the image with my mouse or that I can’t un-highlight the image when I highlight it (via ctrl+a).

  • AC says:

    I think basically so that I can copy an image through ctrl+a –> ctrl+c, which is marginally quicker than right click (which seems to be the main possible way now). Very minor, but the inability to do so puzzles me (and if it was intended that it simply be impossible to highlight the image, I feel ctrl+a should be disabled too).

  • AC says:

    Oh, and now I realise that it IS possible to do what I was saying, so I suppose the only main reason I don’t like being able to highlight with the mouse is inconsistency…

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