We have completely redesigned and rewritten the Awesomescreen—where you search bookmarks and browsing history when you tap on the URL toolbar—and the Start Page—the one you see when you start the app. In terms of interaction, we’re essentially merging the Awesomescreen and the Start Page into a single UI with swipable pages. This means the UI you’ll see on startup is the same that you’ll see when you tap on the URL bar.
I really enjoyed working on this feature for a few reasons. First of all, it was a team effort. Everyone in the mobile front-end team (staff and volunteers) contributed something to it.
Second, it was a nice opportunity to modernize and cleanup a large part of our code base. Third, the new design feels more streamlined, cleaner, and lighter throughout.
Last but not least, I really liked the way we approached the implementation through a focused, gradual, and steady process using a separate repository until we felt it was ready to merge. Implementing large features in a rolling release process with relatively short development cycles can be quite challenging.
The new UI is now available in our Nightly builds. Download, install, and let us know what you think. There are definitely some rough edges here and there. In the next few weeks, we’ll be focused on getting it ready for Firefox 26. Enjoy!