Australis Customization

Mike Conley mconley at
Wed Apr 17 22:29:30 UTC 2013

Hello folks,

So the Australis project is chugging along nicely (if you haven't tried 
the UX branch build[1], you should check it out).

One of the things we've started to work on is improving how users can 
customize Firefox. We want customization to be easy and pleasant to do, 
and hard to get wrong (ie, hard to break the browser).

Customization is a hot-button topic, and it's not surprising that once 
we start fiddling with it, users who customize their browser UI are 
going to get concerned. So I wanted to open up the discussion here so we 
can perhaps discuss those concerns, and ideas for mitigating them.

For those who aren't familiar with the project[2], I'm going to try to 
summarize the high-level changes to customization that we're proposing. 
I should emphasize that while we've started to write these things down, 
nothing is set in stone. It's just a place to start.

Anyhow, so here are our thoughts:

1. We want to introduce more specific customization targets into 
Firefox's UI. An example of a customization target would be a box 
immediately to the right of the AwesomeBar, or one to the right of the 
tabstrip, or one in our new menu panel. These boxes are places where 
toolbar items can be dragged to and from.

2. We want to remove (or deprecate) the add-ons bar

3. We want to have an in-content customization palette to replace the 
old window palette

4. We're introducing a fixed Menu button at the end of the toolbar which 
opens the "menu panel". The menu panel will contain one or more 
customization targets.

5. We're considering moving the back, forward, URL bar, refresh and stop 
buttons to the start of the nav-bar, and making them immovable when 
using the customization mode.

We're going to need to migrate incompatible customizations over to this 
new world. Jared and I have started talking about that, and we wrote our 
initial plan down here: - again, not set 
in stone.

So, let's chat. In particular, I'd like to hear from the UX team in case 
I've forgotten something or made a mistake in my outlining of these 
points. But I'd also like to just hear from the firefox-dev community at 
large in case what we're looking at doing is in need of more tweaking.

Sorry for the long post,


2: a UI prototype to illustrate: and a 
spec to read:

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