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Firefox 29 out now, gets design overhaul

Firefox 29 has been revealed and is billed as the biggest update to the open source browser since Firefox 4 in 2011, with a new design and more customisation tools

An image of the new Firefox browser with the menu open

It’s been over two years now since Firefox went the Chrome route and decided to release regular updates to Firefox. The overall design of the browser hasn’t changed much in that time, however all this is about to change with the release of Firefox 29 – a major visual update that Mozilla is calling the biggest change since Firefox 4.

An image of the new Firefox browser with the menu open
A more simplified design, reminiscent of Chromium

The first noticeable change is the way tabs are presented. Dispensing with the more chunky tab and Firefox menu layout, Mozilla has seen fit to adopt the lighter look of Chromium and Google’s Chrome right down to the curved tabs sitting along the title bar. It’s also introduced more customisation, allowing you to configure the interface even more – although you won’t be able to change the tabs back to the previous style if that’s what you preferred.

The idea is to make the interface more streamlined and simpler when it needs to be, hiding options when they don’t need to be used.

Madhava Enros, senior manager of Firefox user experience elaborated on the goals for the redesign:

“Everyone involved in the design of Firefox works to a set of Firefox Design Values. They don’t tell us what controls the browser should have or where a button should be placed, but they do help steer us in making something that embodies the meaning of Firefox.”

Apparently these values include:

Firefox takes care of you
You help make it
Firefox plays well with others
Finely crafted
Firefox makes sense of the web
High user performance
Firefox balances power and simplicity

Some of these sound a little abstract and a touch like a middle-manager thought them up, however it seems about right for Firefox. You can grab the source for the latest version now or wait for it to enter your distro’s repos.