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Firefox reveals new look: rounded rectangles

'Australis' design upgrade now available in nightlies

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The Mozilla foundation has released 'Australis', the new design for its flagship Firefox browser.

Australis is only visible in Firefox nightlies for now and Mozilla isn't saying which release of the browser it will land in. It is, however, destined to become the design standard for all versions of Firefox on all platforms.

Mozilla says the Australis represents “A streamlining and simplification of the basic browser interface.” The first sign of that change is rounded rectangles as the new shape for browser tabs. Illustrated below, the rounded rectangular tabs have new mouse-over properties that sublimate unused tabs and highlight the tab you're using.

Firefox's new tabs

Is that a new tab design or an infringement on the iPhone's design?

Tabs are also higher up the page, saving a few pixels for showing web pages. The browser does its best to get out of the way with a few enhancements that reduce the amount of screen space occupied by its interface. A Forward or Back button, for example, will only appear if there's a page to go forward or back to. Adding a bookmark requires only a single click. Download progress bars either float over a page or appear in place of a download button.

A new customisation mode to make selecting controls for the toolbar is another addition.

Mozilla says the new design represents foundations on which it will build future enhancements such as alternative page layouts, a new help bubble feature and a better start page.

Firefox nightlies can be had here or if you'd like to see Australis without installing it, there's a video demo here. ®

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