The crusade to make the world a more beautiful place inches forward. The Mozilla Visual Identity Team is happy to see the preview of a new default theme for Firefox, which will be included in the next release (0.9 – in the next couple of weeks).
The new theme was designed by Kevin Gerich and Stephen Horlander, the dynamic duo behind Pinstripe, the default Firefox theme on Mac OS X.
The new theme, called Winstripe (“Pinstripe” and “Windows” – get it?), aims to bring more polish and consistency to the Firefox interface. While it is based on the original artwork behind the Mac Pinstripe theme, it has been heavily reworked to blend in nicely with the Windows look and feel.
There will inevitably be a lot of feedback by those who loved the previous theme (called Qute), and might not like the new theme. Constructive feedback is appreciated, but “I hate it” doesn’t count as constructive feedback.
We realize that the new theme doesn’t blend perfectly with the Gnome / Linux interface, and we do hope to make improvements in that regard. That said, we find that Winstripe does work relatively well in Gnome for the time being. All kinds of good work is going on to make Firefox look and feel better in Gnome. Also, the Winstripe theme was rushed in to make it into the 0.9 release, so you will see improvements and refinements over the coming months.
If you aren’t a fan of the new look, give it time. Wait until the new release and try it out for a few days. See how you feel then. If you still don’t like it, you can always install the previous theme.
People tend to get very attached to the look and feel of an application, especially when it is an open-source application. I get the impression from some of the early reaction that people feel like we went into their living room and painted the walls.
I can understand this reaction, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- At the rate that Firefox is growing, there will be thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of people who use the 0.9 even more, the 1.0 releases as their first introduction to Firefox. They won’t have any attachment or familiarity with any previous default themes.
- We see familiarity as quality. People are used to the previous theme and anything different will take a bit of getting used to. Give it time – reserve judgment until you’ve used it for a week.
- We’re not trying to create great art here – we’re trying to create a clear, simple, elegant, and unobtrusive set of toolbar icons that are easy to understand and don’t get in the way.
Great work Kevin and Stephen.