Earlier this year Mozilla outlined plans to unify the look and feel of Firefox across desktop and mobile offerings through a new theme known as Australis. The design aims to bring a fresh and consistent style to the browser while still conforming to the underlying platform and best of all, it’s available right now as a preview build for anyone to try.
The most obvious new feature of Australis is the curved tabs at the top of the browser window. These look very similar to Chrome’s tabs but Australis’ seem a bit more refined. Only the active window is shown as a curved tab – all other tables tend to fade subtly into the title bar.
The new tabs were designed and built by Mozilla developer Jared Wein and Frank Yan over the past few weeks. Wein said in a recent blog post that he feels they are pretty close but would like to see if they can draw the tabs using a method that would lend itself to better platform integration.
Adventurous users are encouraged to download and test the new preview build. Since it’s still in a very early stage, we wouldn’t advise anyone working in production environments or with mission critical systems to participate. As of writing, the Australis build is only available to Windows users.
I’ve been testing the new build as I worked on this story and thus far, I have no complains. The new tab system looks great although I can see where some might complain that inactive tabs could be a bit difficult to read if you have a dark desktop wallpaper.