Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Firefox’s new preference window

Screenshot of Firefox's new Preferences Window Ben Goodger has posted screenshots of the new Preferences window for Firefox 1.1. This is its fifth incarnation, and while the basic structure of 5 core tabs remains, there are a number of differences.

  1. The tab icons are now along the top of the dialog. Personally I’m unsure about this, especially as at the moment there’s no indication of which tab is active (like in the current dialog). However, it will make the dialog look better on the Mac platform.
  2. The ‘Advanced’ and ‘Privacy’ tabs are much improved. The ‘Clear All’ option has been moved to its own entry on the Tools menu and is now called ‘Sanitize’, however it is now possible to configure it under Privacy. It will also be possible to have all, or selected personal information cleared when the browser is closed.
  3. The Cookies dialog, which until now was largely unchanged from the Mozilla Suite, is now much nicer, with cookies being sorted in a tree formation by domain. It now also has a search function, which works like Quicksearch in Thunderbird or the search function in the about:config screen.
  4. Plugins and download actions are now a sub-dialog of Downloads, and it’s now possible to select whether you want to have files opened by the default application, a different specific application, a plugin or saved to disk. Like with Cookies, there’s also a search function.
  5. Language configuration has been moved to the new Advanced tab, which then has four ‘subtabs’ which cover the various options. The Security and Certificates options in particular look much tidier.

On the whole, I think the new dialog looks pretty good overall, and it should certainly be easier to use than the current one. Now, can someone work some similar magic over Account Settings in Thunderbird? 🙂


  1. The only thing that will bug me is that mass of white space on the right of the icons – maybe centering them would have been a better idea?

  2. I really like this… But I still believe that we’re breaking usability in a few places.
    1) Why user has to add host to trusted ones to just install one extension? He should have easy way to install it ONCE without adding host to the trusted list.
    2) Why user has to add host to trusted ones when he want to open popup ONCE? (similar to first)
    3) User should be able to easly remove all cookies from one host. For example by selecting host and pressing “delete cookies” or seletcing multiply cookies and pressing “delete”
    4) Selected tab should be visible as selected in main tab list. So when I’m in “Advanced” it should have other background or sth like this.