Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Thoughts on the new Firefox theme

Firefox 2.0 Release candidate 1 is out (you can download it here) and with it comes what should be the final version of the new theme for the browser.

Though I have got access to Firefox in Windows Vista, I’m going to concentrate on how it looks in OS X, mainly because Mac users are so fickle about how applications look. While I feel that on the whole the theme is an improvement, there are two key things which unfortunately make it sucky:

Screenshot of the toolbar in Firefox 2.0 RC1

The screenshot shows these two things well. First of all is the choice of white for the toolbar background, which looks stupid considering that the link toolbar, tab bar and title bar are all grey. An attempt at mimicking the all-in-one title bar and toolbar, as used in other OS X applications, would have been better, but even just making the background grey would have been a start.

Then there’s the close tab buttons, which look awful. Seriously, they look like someone drew the ‘x’ in MS Paint using a couple of straight lines. They don’t look anti-aliased and seem horribly out of place. 10 years ago a user interface designer could get away with icons like that, but not now.

I do like the new icons and the new search box is an improvement – it more closely the search boxes used in other OS X applications – but though these niggles may seem small they are in the main window and so are highly obvious during a browsing session. This is a release candidate and so any further changes to the theme are now highly unlikely, which is a bit of a shame because I think it would look really good with just these two minor changes. As it is, I may consider looking for a new theme once some more are available for Firefox 2.0.


  1. The old theme is being updated by the author from what I can tell:

  2. The choice of white is a bit random. I think you are right in saying that mac users are going to be the most concerned about the look, so it really should be a priority.

  3. I really think mozilla should work with the Camino author in getting the rest of the firefox features onto it. Then they could offer Camino as the main browser for Mac and peeps would be a lot happier.

  4. Er… why does the default theme matter, when there are so many to download?