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Compact Interface Option

Reduce the vertical space in the browser used by tabs and address bar so that I can have more visual space for web content.

edited on Jun 2, 2021 by Asa Dotzler
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AwesomeSheep48 1 month ago

Exactly, it was removed when it was needed most

Reply 91

Krestek 1 month ago

When the world needed him most, he vanished.

Reply 3

·wind Long 1 month ago

u r right

Reply 0

Vector 1 month ago

I would also like this addition. It seems that the "Compact" mode is now the "Normal" mode and is no longer supported. I think this is a bit silly to completely not support as the new version of Firefox is supposed to be a cutting-edge, fast, and easy to use browser. Deprecating the mode and making it harder to find for an unsupported mode sends the wrong message ("take it or leave it") and goes against the theme of a well-designed browser.

Reply 45

Jan Mertl 1 month ago

There is still possiblity to set browser.compactmode.show in about:config to true and then it luckily works!

Reply 13

yellowsubroutine 1 month ago

This did not work for me, but changing browser.proton.enabled = to false did work for reducing the tab size, and also bringing back the high contrast color difference between active and background tabs.

(setting browser.uidensity = 1 will reduce the tab size even further than the previous default height, if you want to shrink it further)

Reply 12

Jan Mertl 1 month ago

but disabling proton cancels also many other elements of UI. After enabling that option, you must then select Compact mode in toolbar customization/properties! then it should work!

Reply 2

yellowsubroutine 1 month ago

Thanks! I didn't realize you had to enable it through Customize. I'm still going to keep browser.proton.enable set to False though, because I still find the current active tab contrast/visibility much too low for quick use.

Reply 5

Jan Mertl 1 month ago

Ok it's up to you, I use the compact mode with Proton now.

Reply 1

AwesomeSheep48 1 month ago

You still need to switch to compact mode, browser.compactmode.show only lets you pick it

Reply 3

Jan Mertl 1 month ago

Yes he must then select it.

Reply 0

EPJ2 1 month ago

I tried that. It didn't work.
I only just "upgraded" to 89, to discover the display change (the only noticeable change as yet.) When I looked for a fix, about:config ALREADY had browser.compact.mode.show true and it was still selected in personalization, but the display was unaffected.
Setting all the browser.proton items false seems to be a patch for now. I just hope it stays available.

Reply 0

velw 1 month ago

That's *so* much better - thank you!!! I have a usable browser back!! 🙏

Reply 2

Jade Tiger 1 month ago

Hi Yellowsubroutine, I still can't see the high contrast color difference when I set browser.proton.enabled to false. I really miss that big bold stripe at the top of the active tab. It's hard to tell what is an active tab with the new firefox.

Reply 0

alban sirot 1 month ago

I am just an end-user. Where do you enter this information (is it at a command line level ? if yes, please where ?
thanks for you help

Reply 0

AyeBraine 1 month ago

There is a configure tool inside Firefox. Open a tab and type "about:config". This opens a long table of all the configuration flags that the browser has. But you can narrow them down via search bar on top. And you can toggle them or input things into them (depending on the type of flag).

Reply 2

James Lockhart 1 month ago

Only partially. The Menu, Tool, and Bookmark bars go back to being compact, but the height of the pulldowns is still too high. Thought a lineheight indication in the css file might fix it, but it doesn't.

Reply 1

Vector 1 month ago

Sharing the following: Firefox Photon and Lepton are good, temporary fixes to this problem https://github.com/black7375/Firefox-UI-Fix

Reply 11

Jan Mertl 1 month ago

but mozilla should make official proton good enough not rely on this.

Reply 26

Maxy 1 month ago

Exactly.

Reply 1

Nathan Weil 1 month ago

I agree completely, however in the meantime, this is a nice workaround.

Reply 0

ntelas 1 month ago

Came here (and created account) to say that. The tab selector is tall and this is not very nice on small screens. I have to say though, It's a very nice redesign overall!
Update: I actually like the new design even more now, after using it for a few days. It's super modern and easy to see and select tabs.

Reply 21

Mark Appier 1 month ago

I would agree. If we can keep the compact option available for those on lower resolutions who would like to save screen real estate for content, much of the rest of the redesign is rather nice.

Reply 1

kuzeyron - 1 week ago

There could be two versions of the Compact mode. One like it is now and 2nd would be very useful if the web-navigator could be aligned with the tabs and same goes with the menu and flex when there are too many tabs opened.

Reply 0

nl dune 1 month ago

Please also fix the look of the tabs, they look like buttons now; before this update the tabs were real tabs and now suddenly changed to buttons - even in compact mode they look like (large) buttons.

Reply 61

Andre 1 month ago

Agreed. The "tabs" look like ridiculously fat buttons. The tabs were perfectly fine and they are changing stuff just for the sake of change. They are definitely not consulting real users.

Reply 45

Daniel -- 1 month ago

On my smaller screens i just hit F11 and the tabs are hidden, is this not the same thing as compact mode?

Reply 0

Dmitrii Frolov 1 month ago

I may be wrong, but it seems like that was the point. I like it, looks fresh and the pill look doesn't make them any less functional. And you still can not confuse them with anything else. Though I agree that compact mode would be useful. As for the visuals, I think for that we can ask them to make userChrome theming more official

Reply 3

Ben Wright 1 month ago

The pill removes the visual connection between the active tab and the content pane.

This is an interface design defect.

Reply 14

Dmitrii Frolov 1 month ago

Tabs as pills are a well-known concept already
https://getbootstrap.com/docs/5.0/components/navs-tabs/#pills
They work the same and almost look the same as tabs. They are perceived as tabs not because of padding (non-)existence, but because they are positioned on the same baseline, aside from content and because they all have the same size.
If we are talking about breaking visual connection with content pane - when Chrome appeared, Firefox was still positioning tabs below address bar. Now every browser has tabs in the window title bar, having an address bar and bookmark panel between tabs and content. Now, using them this way for more than 5 years, can you say that it's a defect?

Reply 0

Ben Wright 1 month ago

"Other people are doing it wrong, so we should do it wrong the exact same way" is not a strong argument.

It's a retrograde step, back to when confusing Windows native dialogues would use radio buttons on one part of a form to change what was displayed elsewhere. The unified positioning and connective hints are what made tabs a viable interface option in the first place, and familiarity with the concept does not excuse implementing it poorly. Unified positioning alone does not convey the connection adequately.

I'd forgotten that FF tried to put tabs in the title bar, because I turned that nonsense off as soon as it appeared. I avoid using Chrome for the same reason.

(Tab below address bar was also incorrect, for what it's worth. So is putting navigation controls below the tab, but that's less aggravating.)

This really is a prime example of 'this is considered the cool look and feel now' that everyone wants to jump into; despite it being less functional. It's behind the recent downgrades to Twitter and Facebook and I'll be damned if it's forced on me universally.

Reply 5

Dmitrii Frolov 1 month ago

The same way "If it's bad for me, it's bad for everyone else" argument isn't that strong either.

Others, the majority, who don't disagree with the redesign just don't give a care about this feedback website.

Different changes have a different level of practical impact.

There is removal of compact mode, which affects people with small monitors/high system scale factor and specialized devices on linux which have small screen because of their size - for them a compact mode is really useful.

There is a contrast issue that impacts people with bad eyesight or cheap monitors or powersaving mode turned on (which makes actual contrast really low) - for them a default higher contrast theme with borders and tab separators is really useful too.

There are few websites that don't have favicons, making such tabs less distingushed from others, which impacts everyone who works with old website or raw html - for them a default icon that would work as a marker for a tab would be useful (even a simple circle with a color from a theme)

There were windows radio buttons that changed something you can't see - a real usability problem.

But changing tabs appearance to pills and making them taller by 10px in regular mode (1% of average screen height, bookmark panel is 2%) is such a small nuisance that it's much more of a personal taste problem than it is a usability problem. And the scope of it makes it even less than Discord font redesign (which I disagree with but it's not hurting my productivity).

Btw, Firefox still has element-free areas in the title bar on both ends of tabs (+ area around address bar) which are easier to hit than Chrome's narrow space above them. And menus under title bar are still accessible if you press Alt, like everywhere else, where it still exists (not in Chrome), if you're afraid of losing that menu.

Reply 0

Ben Wright 1 month ago

I have seen exactly 1 comment, anywhere, saying "I prefer the new UI", and dozens expressing disapproval. Even if most people don't feel strongly enough to comment either way, it's most sensible to assume the true impression is closer to that ratio than 'most think it's fine'. It's not just me - just in this feedback site there's plenty.

The problem with the pills is not the height - it's the lack of a visual connection to the content pane. I've prepared html reports at work using a library that shows pills for tabbed elements in the page, and more than once I've had feedback from people saying they did not realise there was tabbed content at all. This is an actual issue that I have encountered in the wild. Be honest - if you didn't already know how tabbed browsers worked, there is nothing in the interface to suggest that the content will change if you select a different pill. This is the issue.

There really is no reason not to have tab separators other than 'but I like how it looks without them', which is a terrible reason for a productivity tool. They should be there and conspicuous in default Proton. Their absence is a strong indicator that no-one actually bothered putting the new interface in front of regular users before committing to releasing it. This hurry to get the new hotness out without proper testing is also evident in the contrast issues, how it doesn't handle a missing favicon gracefully - all things that would have been caught with proper testing with actual users.

Things like not handling the lack of a favicon gracefully

Reply 6

Dmitrii Frolov 1 month ago

I've seen more than 3. But again, happy people don't care, but angry people complain on every website and social media

Yep, that's the way of progress, people always resist but adapt to changes. Some time ago people resisted against smartphones, not long ago about TWS headsets, but even I, thinking that corded headphones are superior, every time take earbuds instead of 3.5mm (and I do have 3.5mm in my smartphone) because it's easier. Not like you needed to already know how these work to start using them - you learn. It's just the older you get, the less adaptive you become and get tired of changes.

But agree with lack of testing on a wider audience.

Reply 0

Steven Pearce 1 month ago

I agree they are willing to do anything to have a "modern design" even if its hard on the eyes/brain. I need borders not just slightly white with white borders.

Reply 3

alberts 1 month ago

> and dozens expressing disapproval.

I like the new UI, but why should I proclaim this here - other than now disagree with you obvsly. You will have many ppl willing to create an account to shout out their anger, but a minority to go through that trouble to defend what is not even their product. If we dislike something we are most of the time disproportionately more vocal than the other way around.

> I've prepared html reports at work using a library that shows pills for tabbed elements in the page, and more than once I've had feedback from people saying they did not realise there was tabbed content at all.

I am a dev as well, and IMHO you can't compare hard to find website you elements, which are different of every of a million websites in position color, form, with rather well known and established browser chrome UI elements which are in a well known position on your screen(s).

The rest is for other people to defend ;)

Reply 0

Ben Wright 1 month ago

It's a fallacy to assume that the people who don't care enough to complain are basically satisfied.

Few people cared enough to complain publicly about IE6 or Netscape Navigator yet the moment something better came along people abandoned both in droves.

FF will set itself up for the same exodus if it's not careful.

This was never put on front of general users to see how well they liked it. The devs saw the latest (IMO, bad) trend in interfaces and jumped into with both feet because it looked slick and everyone else was using it, not because there was a need or want for it amongst the user base.

There is literally no interface so cool and useful that it justifies blowing off the conventions and decorators of the underlying operating system. OSs have a unified look and feel for good reason.

(The problem I had is not a website - it's a linear report presented in html for portability. It's very simple and the pills are impossible to overlook. The only simpler use case for pills would be a toy example. It's a stark demonstration that pills are not adequate replacement for more traditional tab selectors even in the simplest case.)

Reply 5

alberts 1 month ago

Thanks for your reply!

> It's a fallacy to assume that the people who don't care enough to complain are basically satisfied.

I didn't say that (I think ... re-reading my comment ...)

> yet the moment something better came along people abandoned both in droves

True! I was one of them ;)
These days all three engines are excellent IMO, though they are partly due to this competition, which means keeping this competition alive would be ("is", again IMO) vital for the web.

> This was never put on front of general users to see how well they liked it.

How do you know?

> (IMO, bad)
Fair enough. Just because I read their comment a minute ago I will use it as an example:
"Sciomar" here seems to like it https://www.macrumors.com/2021/06/07/safari-b...new-tab-groups/

> The problem I had is not a website
Thanks for clarifying

Reply 0

Ben Wright 1 month ago

I even tried to create a new idea specifically to address the problems with the 'pill' tab style. It's been languishing in 'awaiting moderation' for over a week, now. No 'this is a duplicate', no nothing.

Is this how it's going to be? Hiding as much criticism as possible, no matter how constructive, because the devs have fallen for the sunk cost fallacy regarding their new toy?

Reply 0

Mark Appier 1 month ago

Actually, I think the main idea of the topic is that they like the compact functionality that is currently built into the browser and would simply like to see it remain supported.

Reply 1

Raoul Duke 1 month ago

Yes, it's a defect. Just because bootstrap does something doesn't make it right.

Reply 1

Dmitrii Frolov 1 month ago

And just because you posted a comment doesn't make it a defect, only subjectively.
For me it's all "ugh, change bad". Subjectively, of course.

Reply 0

Steven Pearce 1 month ago

I hate the lack of border around the tabs looks like one blob. Hard on my eyes

Reply 1

Sorin Nemes Ioan 1 month ago

... this should not be the point. They should allow people to choose their tab shape - and this should be the Open Source way, not to impose your will to all others just because you can. Beside that it is an UI defect because it break the visual connection between tab and tab content - it was already an established UX rule. A tab is something and and button is completely other thing ( btw - they look now as main menu items on a web page). I will ask on their developer forums why such attitude.

Reply 5

Dmitrii Frolov 1 month ago

That means that they would need to support it too, and then, sooner or later, drop this support anyway because of legacy, which would not allow to implement certain features and would put too many restrictions for a new code to work with less bugs and higher maintainability. They could make that, of course, but that would require more resources.

Or not make a redesign, new features, stagnate and see how people quietly migrate to other browser, leaving them and 400 loud persons from this forum alone.

Reply 0

SALARD 1 month ago

Tout à fait. C'est devenu ILLISIBLE. Vite soit un retour en arrière, soit une option.

Reply 5

Рафис Х 1 month ago

about:config
browser.proton.enabled=false

Reply 6

Ayame-no-kimi 1 month ago

This is a lifesaver. The new design was so impossible to navigate, this is exactly what I wanted, thanks!

Reply 0

Cicerone Dumitrescu 1 month ago

I have never feel so strong against a "feature". These stupid buttons look like there is a display bug, as they are completely disconnected from anything!!! It is extremely hard to notice which one is the open tab because the visited page does not continue into the tab!!! Please remove or, at least, make it optional. Thank you.

Reply 1

Jason10 1 month ago

Exactly, the tabs are too large and they look really bad on a 13 inch laptop.

Reply 42

Andre 1 month ago

Agreed. I have to keep opening my pages in Full Screen mode and really considering switching to Edge for this reason alone.

Reply 14

Google Account 1 month ago

on 14 inch also, same. switched to edge.

Reply 0

Asa Dotzler 1 month ago

I've made minor edits to this idea and promoted it to the community.

Reply 5

User 2222 1 month ago

Is it possible to reduce the space between lines in bookmarks? Now it is very large. Previously it was normal.

Reply 8

Benyamin Limanto 1 month ago

Use userChrome from lepton...

https://github.com/black7375/Firefox-UI-Fix#installation-guide

Reply 0

Angry User 1 month ago

How about creating an USER FRIENDLY OPTION (I don't think you know what those words mean) that allows people like myself to keep the way the interface looked in the previous version. This new update is hideous and I nearly broke the browser trying to get it to look somewhat presentable. I have just spent the last hour trying to undue a needless update. If you wanna add more security fine, more features or improve on them fine. If you want to change the way everything looks for absolutely no reason how about a heads up before installing such updates. Thanks to this update I will no longer keep auto-update enabled which puts my pc at greater risk. Thanks for that.

Reply 57

velw 1 month ago

I've also disabled auto-update after this update. Really sad to no longer be able to trust Mozilla with something as basic as telling people when you're about to change their entire user experience.

Reply 16

Dmitrii Frolov 1 month ago

https://github.com/stepcity/netscape-theme

Reply 1

Seagram Seagram 1 month ago

I just validated auto-install of last update 89.0. All my themes settings are lost! They were important to me, since they allowed me to recognise profiles while switching FF windows.
Now each and every thumbnail has the very same look!

It is not a user-friendly behavior to change things without the user beeing warned and having choice to not update.

Leave this kind of "we know better than you" to M$ people, please!
And tell us where I can find my former themes settings, and force them back?

Reply 13

dano700 1 month ago

I couldn't agree more, the developers really dropped the ball this time. I can't decide whether its their age starting to show that their eyes cannot take normal sized text and tabs and spacing, whatever happened to user input?
Like many others here I will be switching browsers.

Reply 5

Jasper van Zuijlen 1 month ago

One of the tech news sites i follow has hundreds of comments about this new (in most opinions horrible) proton interface. Everybody is disabling it.

Change these settings in about:config:
browser.proton.contextmenus.enabled = false
browser.proton.enabled = false
browser.uidensity = 1

The first gives your normal context menus without the wasted space.
Second disables horrible new graphics where you can't see your tab separation or tab titles (30+ tabs open for work all the time).
Third enables compact mode.

Especially the first two made a huge difference for me. The wasted space between right-mouse options is the biggest pain in the new interface.

Reply 59

john a 1 month ago

Thank you Jasper, this seems to fix several things Firefox 89 brought in that simply were unacceptable to me. I still can't understand how these designers think that wasting space is good -- it's not for me ! Yay for restoring practical tab separators ! And I always want compact views, so there's actually room to view content. Developers, heed the cry !

Reply 23

Andre 1 month ago

Thank you for posting this. I also work with 30+ tabs and not having the separators makes it very difficult.

Earlier, I discovered the browser.uidensity = 1 which helped significantly but look forward to the other changes.

Reply 5

Rick 1 month ago

Have any magic to put my tabs above the web page (below the bookmarks folder) where they used to be?

Reply 0

Jasper van Zuijlen 1 month ago

I haven't figured that out myself but it looks like adding some custom code to your profile might do the trick. Have a look at https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1313745
And note: it might break after every update.

I used to have an extension 'classic theme' a long time ago to bring most of the interface back to old interface when they first started messing around with it. I don't know if it is still around but you can have a search on that as well.

Reply 1

John Pullicino 1 month ago

thankyou Jasper.

thankyou Jasper.
Mozilla shot themselves in the foot with this one.
Your tips work, but at an aesthetic sacrifice. The main UI looks great, but the menus ar from the 80's. Its like driving a porsche with volkswagen tyres.
Mozilla shot themselves in the foot with this one.
Your tips work, but at an aesthetic sacrifice. Its like drivig a porsche with volkswagen tyres.

Reply 0

Máté Kovács 1 month ago

I would also add browser.proton.modals.enabled = false
this removes the ugly new popups (closing a window with multiple tabs, for example), that are just blatant copies of Chrome's design,
Oh, and what happened to using at least some elements of the desktop theme? Firefox looks and feels like an alien now, on any Linux desktop.

Reply 1

Craciun George 1 month ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! And again, THANK YOU!

Reply 1

Hugo 1 month ago

It's only a couple pixels, but my god it makes a world of difference.
browser.uidensity = 1 in particular, this has been something that bothered me for quite a while now, since that change most of my favorite folders got too big to fit in one screen.

Reply 0

Crumble Pie 1 month ago

Many thanks to you for passing this info on, Jasper, Very welcome indeed to make FF back to normal. I hated the new look and I hate when companies force change without options.

Reply 2

JEdwin 1 month ago

Bedankt Jasper! I was missing browser.proton.contextmenus.enabled = false. My menus no longer waste space. What are these developer using? I already migrated my bookmarks to Chrome and was about to uninstall FF.

Reply 3

Dahu des Alpes 1 month ago

Thank you so much Jasper !!!

Reply 1

Wojtek Pilarski 1 month ago

Jasper I would like to say thank you very much for your advice. I have been using firefox for nearly 15 years and I was close to say goodbay forever. The new graphics was disaster for me especially missing separator tab. I have no idea what did developers want to achieve. Anyway, thanks again :)

Reply 5

Don G Baldi 1 month ago

Bless you! I was about ready to dump FF after 20 years due to this 89.x screwed up UI. This fixes the worst of it. Thanks!

Reply 2

Luc Corbeil 1 month ago

Y'er a gud lad. Thanks for these excellent suggestions. What possessed them? I hope this endures through their next "updates". This used to be the best browser.

Reply 1

Marie Thomas 1 month ago

followed your advises and it works well, thank you but is there a way to change the button for closing several tabs, it's looks ridiculous that way. Thank you

Reply 0

Eemeli Palomaa 1 month ago

I've read that Mozilla will be removing these options in the next update. If this is the case I will finally move on to another browser after using Firefox for nearly two decades.

Reply 4

Jasper van Zuijlen 1 month ago

I hope they at least keep the options for the normal context menus and tabs. One of many reasons to use FF is because i really dislike how other browsers waste space and move to 'picture based' navigation buttons. I would definitely consider other browsers as well if i'm forced to use the annoying interfaces they use.

Reply 0

Jasper van Zuijlen 1 month ago

Just wanted to say thank you all for the great comments.

If all else fails. I still have installers saved for FF versions 1.7.3, 3.5.2 and 4.0.1 :-D Been using FF a very long time. But i suspect they won't work with modern sites that well hahaha.

Reply 0

James Lockhart 1 month ago

Thank you Jasper! That fixes everything for4 me, except the tabs-below-other-bars issue. At least, until FF f's with the UI again. :/

Reply 0

blubbber 1 month ago

while this is working, do not get used to it. In version 90 it will be removed. So find a new browser in this time.

Reply 0

peter nilsson 1 month ago

I prefer the previous setup of the bppkmarks tab !

Reply 4

AugustsEve 1 month ago

The new interface is abysmal. Takes up way too much space for nothing, looks terrible.

Reply 25

Nakturnol 1 month ago

With new update 89.0 it totally necessary. On current moment interface make firefox unusable for me.

Reply 11

Willene-Mike Gladu 1 month ago

The Firefox toolbars are taking up so much vertical space now on my laptop, wish I could go back to the last Firefox version. I guess I will switch to Chrome as my primary Browser, I really hate this new bloatware on Firefox, it's been my favorite browser for years, now it's ruined.

Reply 10

Andre 1 month ago

You can certainly go back to the previous version plus you don't need to uninstall the current version.

Here is the install link directly from Mozilla.
https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/...up%2088.0.1.exe

After you install it, disable the auto-updates:

> In the URL: about:preferences
> Search for 'updates'
> Choose "Check for updates but let you choose to install them"
> Uncheck "Use a background service to install updates"

Reply 0

Máté Kovács 1 month ago

While this is a really bad idea for security reasons, sadly we don't have a choice.

Reply 2

Mark Appier 1 month ago

The vertical space used for the tabs and address is greater than other browsers and takes up too much real estate in "normal" mode. I found the option in about:config, but it should not be hidden.

Reply 9

Jake Perry 1 month ago

I would like to see this feature brought back and officially supported too. The new UI is far too big; even the unsupported compact mode takes up more screen real estate than other browsers' default UI setting.

Reply 8

Ricardo 1 month ago

Esta versión es nefasta. Las pestañas parecen botones y reducen la visibilidad del usuario porque son muy anchas. Los accesos directos de una nueva pestaña se ven feos. Alguien sabe como se vuelve a una versión anterior? O cambiamos de navegador.

Reply 1

LJ 1 month ago

The new default UX for Firefox (v89) caused me to create an account here just to complain about this one misfeature. Thanks, I hate it.

This is yet another change in the wrong direction for Firefox UX and it is the tipping point for me. So long Mozilla, and thanks for all the fish.

To be clear: a big swath of horizontal space is sadly blank. I don't need to see 300+ characters of a URL. Vertical space is a premium--I don't need the browser's own UI occupying more space than absolutely necessary. I also prefer a consistent UI across my OS. Why do context menus now have back buttons?! Is Mozilla having a UI pissing contest? UGH!

Reply 34