Firefox 29 coming soon with a fresh new design paradigm.

"It’s not an interface adjustment or tweak. It’s not a bug fix. It’s a complete re-envisioning of Firefox’s user experience, and it’s been brewing for the past five years," +Jennifer Morrow  says in her blog. Jennifer serves +Mozilla Firefox as the senior designer at Mozilla. This will be the biggest redesign since version 4 which brought us a much cleaner and faster Firefox experience and retired the 3.x design. The new aesthetic is being called Australis, and has already been released to all platforms though as of this writing it is not yet packaged by +openSUSE, though it can be found in the Mozilla community repository.

Australis has been designed to address some idiosyncrasies and deliver a consistent user experience. Users familiar with +Google Chrome  will see some strong similarities in the redesign such as the tabs and menu placement. I feel however, that's about where the similarities end. Jennifer Morrow says, "This is when user experience design is most effective: when it envisions the system as a whole. When it steps away from the trees and sees the forest holistically."

 Firefox 29 is doing more than simply delivering a pretty face, and is bringing the ability to easily customize buttons and toolbars via a simple and intuitive drag and drop interface. I think however, it is clear that this release is far more about user experience and aesthetics. In my tests the workflow is negligibly different. Performance may have taken a hit though, the responsiveness is sluggish and page rendering slower.

Firefox 29

Firefox 29 with GNOME addons
 There has been a good amount of backlash from users who do not like the redesign. The majority of these objections seem to be in regards to it being different, a change to the interface that has become so familiar to so many. For newer users however, I anticipate this to be a welcome change that will help bolster a positive first impression while making the browser more usable and accessible to less technically minded people. My only personal concern is in regards to how well the redesign can be themed to integrate into +GNOME Shell. Currently I'm using Firefox with themes and extensions that make it look nearly native to the GNOME Shell.

You can read more about Firefox 29 on the blog of Jennifer Morrow.

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