Sneak peek: Tour Firefox's revamped interface, still in beta

Firefox rolled out the new 'Australis' UI to its Nightly browser channel on Monday. Here is what the update looks like.

Firefox Nightly
Firefox's new look

After more than three years, Mozilla has rolled out its first significant Firefox user interface update. The Nightly channel version of Firefox, with the Australis revamp, is automatically updated each night so users have the most up to date version.

The Firefox team says that Nightly still needs some polish; even the page users visit to download the new browser prominently says “These builds are for testing purposes only.” Nevertheless, Australis, which was designed with simplicity in mind, sports changes that, while subtle, distinguish it from previous Firefox iterations. Here are some of the changes Australis is bringing to Firefox Nightly.

New tabs
New tabs

Gone are Firefox’s square tabs with slightly rounded corners; they've been replaced by new more-rounded tabs. Madhava Enros, who leads the Firefox user experience design team, describes the new look as “Firefoxy – organic, friendly, and fluid – and a good fit for the general feel of Firefox.” The tabs also display higher in the browser so that web pages can claim more real estate within the browser. 

Background tabs

Another noticeable change is how background tabs are now significantly less prominent. Inactive tabs completely lack the rounded corners, just an “x” floating on the right of the tab and a thin line that fades into the browser between tabs. Tabs that you are hovering over regain the rounded corners, but the color of the font for the tab title is grayed out.

Australis browser themes
Browser themes

Part of Australis' new look is a less cluttered tab bar. As a result, the lightweight browser themes that display behind the tabs at the top of the window, “look the best they ever have,” according to Enros.

Bookmark button

The one-click bookmark button in the Nightly browser is also more prominently displayed. It sits directly next to the bookmark dropdown menu that users access to find their bookmarked pages.

Cutomization

One goal of Australis was to make browser customization easier. Simply click on the horizontal lines at the right-most part of the browser and a customization dropdown menu will appear. Click the "Customize" button at the bottom of the menu for access to a page dedicated entirely to customization. Firefox hopes that this simpler way of customizing the browser will help more users make Firefox into a browser that works best for them.

Related: Mozilla ushers in new Firefox UI