I’m Akash, a Product Manager who works on Firefox Desktop, and I’m excited to open a new thread of ideas with you all - the Firefox New Tab Page!
As we continue to build a modern & engaging browser, we’d love to hear from you on what you find important when choosing a browser. Let’s get started!
How can we improve the Firefox New Tab page so you have a more enjoyable experience?
I’d love to know…
Looking forward to hearing from you all, and welcome to Mozilla Connect!
Well, if a website has a high-resolution icon, its short cut icon would be perfect. But as shown in the screenshot, many sites only have tiny icons which are not beautiful in any sizes. So for me, the feature is barely unusable because I have high requirements when it comes to visuals.😂
Luckily, as I said before, Firefox offered many ways to open bookmark sites, so it wouldn't hurt if I just disable the shortcuts. Still I can use the bookmark button in toolbar.
thoughts on the start page:
- on mobile, there's no way to see where each of the top sites goes. long pressing doesn't show the URL. and the titles sometimes get all out of sync somehow, so that's a problem
- developing the top sites section over time is like raising a tamagtochi. it's something you show off to anyone looking over your shoulder. turned off pocket? street cred for that. social media sites that your circles use? street cred. no embarrassing links? street cred.
- the width allowed for top sites titles is too narrow compared to typical page titles. it's just one of the weird things about the grid design
- I've always wondered how the "dismiss" option is implemented. does it remove it from your history so that it naturally is no longer a top site? does it make an additional record saying "ya I go there a lot but don't show it on the top sites?" does it reduce some kind of running average, such that it can show up again later if you continue to visit?
- I hardly ever use the search box, because opening a new tab focuses the address bar and I can already type there
Linking my ideas here for reference:
Currently I only use New Tab Page to open a new tab. I don't use the shortcuts as they're misleading - this one says "facebook" but it's not a shortcut to facebook.com, it's a link to my for sale items page on facebook marketplace:
Some further thoughts:
- Since the icon labels for sites on the new tab page can be misleading (see my above link), I think showing thumbnails would be cool:
- Would be great to see info from about:protections like Brave does - like showing how many blocked trackers etc. This would really show-off Firefox's privacy angle!
- How about a bookmarks menu/folders? I usually set the bookmark bar to only turn on for a new tab so having them on the new tab page would be handy
- An RSS feed or just a notification at the bottom about Firefox news - a great way to advertise stuff like VPN or even just Did You Knows. How about advertising the new Firefox Translations addon
- Some customisation would be handy, I wouldn't mind widgets like a calendar/weather/calculator
- Perhaps it could show things like "open tabs you haven't looked at in ages"
- Recent notifications: I think this is being worked on, but perhaps a place to view recent notifications as well
Hope this is helpful! Cheers
Thanks for your feedback @KERR , this is definitely helpful!
We're always looking to create experiences that improve your Firefox experience. This is a great place for us to begin explorations, so thanks!
A follow-up: when using the New Tab page, how important is it to you that the New Tab page is minimalistic?
This is awesome -- I really appreciate that you're asking the Firefox community about what they want in their browser.
I feel like what the new tab page is missing is wallpapers. On Chrome or Edge, I can add a nice nature background, which is something I find really calming. Starting a new tab page without a wallpaper just feels empty, and when I'm trying to get work done, something nice in the background is always appreciated. It's not a huge deal but it's certainly something I do really miss from Chrome.
On that note, I find that Firefox Android's implementation of wallpapers is pretty lackluster as well. Text is rather hard to read with a wallpaper applied and things feel messy. Worse yet, a colorful Firefox logo is overlayed against a colorful background, which just looks bad. Contrast that to Chrome where there is generally a background behind text with a wallpaper, and a monochrome logo, and the feature just feels a lot more polished. I ask that an implementation of wallpapers to Firefox on desktop be more polished than on Android. 🙃
Thanks for the feedback, @lolrepeatlol !
This is helpful and echoes what many others have mentioned! While I can't promise any deliverables at this moment, I'm happy to use your feedback as a starting place for future explorations.
A followup: Hypothetically, how often would you want to change between wallpapers? With other browsers/extensions, do you find yourself changing wallpapers often?
The current page is mostly fine, except that handing off the search box to the URL bar is a giant security risk and should be reverted to the previous behavior. I have experienced the same issue as this commenter, where I intend to search for a potentially malicious URL or IP address, but the search is redirected to the URL bar and it navigates to the malicious site instead of performing a search. The ambiguous behavior is incredibly frustrating.
I know there is an about:config setting to disable handoffToAwesomebar, but it does not work in private windows. So either the search box provides different results depending on the query, or it behaves differently in regular and private windows when you try to fix it.
Besides the security risk, redirecting where you're entering text to a different part of the screen is a weird behavior and a bad user experience. Many people have complained about this and there's a huge thread of people looking to disable this feature.
The search box should act as a normal search box.
You can click "this time search with" to search a URL instead of visiting. I can also suggest using VirusTotal for checking potentially malicious links - you can also add it as a search engine and get used to this option.
Having said that, I agree that the case for ambiguity exists - the address bar already can show 2 options for ambiguous queries - visiting and searching, but it doesn't always show it, so if you don't pay extra attention, you can fall in this trap. I think, I've seen an idea about this here
I do know about "this time search with" but it's an extra step that you only need sometimes. If you happen to search for something with a dot in the wrong place, then you need to perform different actions to get search results. It's too easy to mess up.
Looks like there are actually several ideas/discussions about this topic:
Man, this site really needs better moderation/curation to merge all the duplicates.
I really miss one thing: custom background image. I changed from edge, and I really loved the custom image function.
Other than that, I like the current state. I dont like when its bloated with things (crypto prices, weather, news, articles,bookmarks etc. I always turn them off in other browsers).
I find the current New Tab experience useful as a good way to get to common sites fast. Sure I have bookmarks saved, but the new tab is for "daily driver" content.
What would make it better:
Being able to add more shortcuts. I am using the 8 by 4, but feel that the gaps down the side of the page could be used for more.
Being able to theme the background. As a theme designer, I know I can change the colour, but it would be so good to put a background image there.
Have some way to sync top sites with Firefox for Android. If the number of top sites could be leveled out (32 max on desktop, 16 max on Firefox for Android) and the Pocket recommended stories availability was the same (Pocket in Firefox for Android is not available outside of the US) - this could create a more seamless experience between the two.
Thank you for the detailed feedback @Seburo !
Your feedback is very helpful and echoes what many others have also mentioned, so thanks for sharing!
When it comes to shortcuts/top sites: do you find yourself manually changing/editing every single top site?
For background wallpapers: how important is customization to you when using wallpapers? With other browsers/extensions, do you enjoy having many options about the 'genre' of wallpaper?
Thank you for hosting!
I do not change top sites too often, but when I do, I identify a site that I no longer need and edit the URL and name (and maybe drag it to a new position).
I do not use any add-ons or hacks to set a new tab background, but being able to set it to my own image would be good, such as my desktop wallpaper so the browser appears more minimal. Being able to have it included in a Fx theme downloaded from AMO would be awesome. I am a theme artist and while I can set the new tab colour as part of a theme, I cannot set an image in place there (at least not easily).
I hope that this helps.
Thanks for the feedback, @aloerobotics ! Apologies for the delay in my response here!
Your feedback echoes what others have mentioned! For background wallpapers, how important is customization to you when using wallpapers? With other browsers/extensions, do you enjoy having many options about the 'genre' of wallpaper?
How about making the other search engines more discoverable on the new tab page? Eg amazon/ebay/wikipedia? I use these all the time in the address bar:
They're great as you don't have to load the ebay/amazon/wiki page first (and get distracted) before searching. I'm not sure how many people know they exist though?
I think "Container Tabs"/"Firefox Containers" integration for the shortcuts would be nice. For example, I have 3 Gmail accounts in 3 separate containers. I would like to have different Gmail shortcuts for each of those containers. These could be distinguished by a border color or icon in the corner etc. Currently I have to right click the same shortcut and select the container from a sub-menu within the context menu.
Love seeing so many great, detailed responses—keep them coming!
Just a quick heads up, Akash is out of the office for a couple days but will be back at it later this week and ready to continue the conversation on how we can improve the Firefox New Tab page.
In the meantime, excited to see more of your feedback 🙌
You don’t have Firefox New Tab set as your default homepage? Tell us why!
about:blank for me (well, these days it's just called "Blank Page" in the Settings menu).
I very much do not want to be shown "recent tabs", "most visited sites" etc, because those lead me into bad habits of repetitively visiting the same pages. On Firefox for Android, it has not been straightforward enough to get to a completely blank page (though it can be done): so my ask for Desktop would just be that you retain the easy and clear "Blank Page" option on the Settings screen.
Be nice to see coloured tabs for the most popular ones opened, eg. if you have 34 ebay and 23 teksyndicate but only 1 or 2 odd one then the 2 big ones can get yellow and lime tint to them. If you right click on Teksyndicate for example and select a tint, all the other tabs automatically get done if shift is held down too. Nothing crazy just a pale highlight using subtle colours
You need to be able to control, the priv level of new tabs, opened by yourself (R-Click) or by external links.
cf., At present clicking on a PDF (set to open in FF), forces a tab to be opened in a non-protected window. That allows it to become part of history ! User should have a preference setting to allow it to only open in PrivateWindow.. There is also no way to open a tab in a container tab, in the current version. One clearly should be able to rClick a link and say "Open in Container Tab of my choice", else what good are container tabs ! Container tabs are not linkable from current home-page settings.. They appear to be NOT saved anywhere once opened...
A MAJOR FF issue is NOT allowing feedback like this email response...
I would give more feedback, if you would open up the process,, perhaps like a "feedback" link in Settings...
There is a setting, but required logging in each time...
I'm happy with the current Firefox and the new tabs. However, when I add a shortcut, if there are less than eight, a blank icon will be created. There is no problem with usability, but it does not seem to be very good if you care about the appearance. I think that it can be improved by changing it to one big + button like other browsers or adding a + button next to the edit button of the last shortcut that is set.
new thought about this: I don't really use the tiles often. most times I arrive at the new tab page via keyboard: Ctrl+t when opening a new tab or windows+1 when launching Firefox. there's no indication that anything on the new tab page is keyboard accessible. so almost always I proceed by typing a destination and letting the address bar pull up the frequent/recent thing I wanted.
I think the only time I get there by mouse is when opening a new container tab, which doesn't have a keyboard way to do it
I want to be able to set a single page as my new tab page. Maybe my online calendar page, so that I would see the reminders that only pop up when it's open. Maybe a long article that I want to finish. Or an exercise video, to remind me to stand up and move once in a while.
Yes, I know there are other ways to do this, but it's my new tab page, right? Why shouldn't I be able to set it to what I want? We used to be able to do that.
I often peruse the Pocket articles, and have enjoyed reading some of them, but I also find it very distracting. I open a new tab to look for something specific and wander down a Pocket rabbit hole.
As it happens I’m in the middle of an effort to make my interface look like people thought it was going to 40 years ago (for dark mode; I still use light mode during the day, but it’s impossible to make it look more futuristic). With Firefox, I’m trying to achieve it by using nightTab, which is great for this purpose. I used Tabliss before and it was really nice, although in different way. I don’t really use shortcuts, except for an old laptop I use to turn “just a TV” into “smart TV” when I want to and sometimes on mobile, without customisation. Bookmarks toolbar, however, is used extensively for websites I won’t open on mobile (Discord) or when I want to send tabs to desktop, but I know I won’t make use of them immediately after switching devices. It’s a pity this toolbar is invisible in fullscreen mode, I would certainly use this mode more often if the toolbar could be enabled.
I don’t think I would use news if they were on a new tab page (although I have a feeling I would enable it and scroll through headlines about once a day). Two widgets that would make my day are privacy-friendly weather and RSS feeds with sync. For the later, I used Thunderbird but no sync was a dealbreaker; I switched to Pocket+qiip.it, but I’m not happy and I’m looking for alternatives. I’m quite certain I will come back to Thunderbird as soon as this feature is implemented on Android app, unless Firefox implements it properly. On the other hand when it comes weather I don’t really use anything – I open Ventusky when I really need to check it. Speed is also important, but when it comes to less powerful devices I’m happy to make trades (less widgets and features).