UI improvements in Firefox for Android

February 25, 2013

Now that we’ve landed all the major changes for our next UI iteration, it’s probably a good time to spread the word about it and get some more feedback.

The goals with these changes are: keeping a clear distinction between different types of tabs; making better use of the screen real estate on different form-factors and orientations; and being more compliant with Android’s design language. So, what’s new?

Tab types

With the introduction of private browsing support in Firefox 21—now in Aurora—came the need for a clear distinction between regular and private tabs. We’ve done two UI changes to accomplish that.

First of all, the tabs tray is now divided into sections for each type of tab—regular, private, and remote—so that you always keep things separate and organized. Furthermore, once you select a private tab, the main toolbar becomes dark as a clear sign that you’re in a different browsing mode.

Two-way tabs tray

We now use a horizontal scrolling tabs tray whenever it improves our use of the screen space. This is achieved with a TwoWayViewannounced a few days ago.

On phones, the tabs tray is vertical in portrait mode and horizontal in landscape mode. On tablets, the tabs tray is a vertical scrolling side bar in landscape mode and a horizontal strip in portrait mode. Small tablets (7” or so) now share the exact same tabs UI than large tablets.


The Firefox UX team has been working on streamlining the Firefox UI across all platforms—both on desktop and mobile. The idea is that Firefox should feel like the same product wherever you use it. Finding the right balance between cross-platform design consistency and native platform compliance can be tricky but I think we’re getting there.

We’ve recently landed a new skin for Firefox for Android that is more aligned with Android’s Holo design language. Almost all textures and gradients were replaced by flat colors giving a much lighter feel to the browser. I love it!

All these UI changes are now available in the Nightly build. Give it a try and let us know what you think—ideally in form of bug reports!

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