Polishing Firefox for Windows 10
22 July, 2015 § 12 Comments
Over the years, the Firefox front-end team has made numerous polishes and updates to the Firefox theme.
Firefox 4 was a huge update to the user interface of Firefox compared to Firefox 3.6. A couple years down the line we released Australis in Firefox 29. Next month we’ll be releasing Firefox 40 and with it will come with what I believe to be the most polished UI we’ve shipped to date.
The Australis release was great in so many ways. It may have taken a bit longer than many had expected to get released, but much of that was due to the complexities of the Firefox theme code. During the Australis release we removed some lesser used features which consistently were a pain in the rear when making theme changes (small icons and icons+text mode, I’m looking at both of you 👀).
Now with Firefox 40, we’re able to show the benefits of our refined theme code and our ability to ship updated and modern themes much faster than ever before.
With Firefox 40 on Windows 10, which you can download today using the Firefox Beta channel, we’ve matched the tabstrip and toolbar to the native Windows 10 theme. This includes refinements to our standard icon set, as well as much improved HiDPI (>1dppx) support. All of our first-tier icons now have 2× variants that are shipped with the browser, and the remaining icons buried in the depths of the browser should be fixed soon as well.
My favorite feature of Firefox on Windows 10 is the increased URL and search bar height (pictured above). This is actually something that we’ve wanted to do for a couple years. Firefox has continually had a pretty small font-size for the URL bar, one which makes it hard for users with poor vision to read. The text in our URL and search bars is now on-par with competing browsers. It may not seem like a big deal to most, but it is the small cuts like these that can either add up to cause death by a thousand wounds or be part of the stitches in a bullet-proof product.
Looks like increased font size (1.15em) and height (28px) takes place in Windows 10, but not in Windows 7. Why? Such change would equally improve usability regardless of exact Windows version.
There are plans to increase the font size for other versions of Windows as well as other platforms, but we wanted to focus our attention on the upcoming Windows 10 release first. Many of the changes that we’re making are being uplifted quickly from Firefox Nightly to Firefox Beta, and as such we want to limit the scope to reduce risk. Bug 1186562 is on file to track porting this change to the other themes.
Once the dust settles we’ll be able to bring some of these changes to other platforms.
[…] interface changes that ship with Firefox 40 won't create nearly as much controversy as they mostly change the look of […]
I’m still using XP and 7, will these changes effect those operating systems and is there a way to turn the increased urlbar height off, as the current one works fine for me?
The URL bar height on Windows 10 is not actually any taller, just the font-size of the text within it is larger. You won’t notice these changes on Windows XP or 7 with Firefox 40, but they should make their way to Windows XP and 7 in a later release.
We don’t have plans for adding a toggle to turn off the larger font-size, so you would have to install an add-on or use a user-style to revert the change.
Edit for clarification: When I said that the URL bar height is not increased I was talking specifically about the #nav-bar element. When I measure Firefox Nightly on Windows 8.1, I get 41px for the height of the #nav-bar. Firefox Nightly on Windows 10 has a height of 39px for the #nav-bar (measured using DOM Inspector).
So, yes, the #urlbar is taller, but the actual height of the toolbars is not any taller, in fact it’s a couple pixels smaller.
I don’t know if this is caused by Firefox or Windows 10, but the close/minimize buttons could use a little bit of polish when using a different theme:
Maybe increase the height of the accent colored field a bit?
What theme are you using? Is it a “complete” theme or a lightweight theme? There is a known bug with the close/minimize buttons being hard to see on dark lightweight themes, which should be fixed soon.
Can’t seem to reply to you…
This theme, I assume it’s lightweight? https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/black-15433/
Also noticed a pixel being off on the top left border?
Yes, that’s a lightweight theme. Can you test with Firefox Nightly on Windows 10? I applied the theme to Firefox Nightly and it doesn’t look as bad, but the buttons are impossible to see unless you hover over them (the close button for example). This is being tracked by https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1184934 and should be fixed before release.
Both things I complained about are not in nightly. The background is white instead of the windows accent color though (may be intended?):
Confirm this: so there will be a separate Firefox 40 for Windows 10 and Firefox 40 for other Windows versions? Will you continue to release a separate version of Firefox for Windows 10 in future?
There is no separate Firefox release for Windows 10. When Firefox starts up it detects which version of the operating system it is running on and can adapt its theme to suit the operating system.