Please don't remove the compact density option for the Proton redesign

According to this bug on Bugzilla the compact toolbar density option is to be removed upon the release of the Proton redesign. As I and many others have expressed in that bug we would like to keep that density. Its removal would only leave the normal density, which - as agreed by others - wastes too much vertical screen space.

Even on my 27" screen (2560x1440) the normal density Proton tabs are rather large.

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I agree. I customize Firefox to give me as much vertical space for web pages as reasonably possible.

The bug says “We want to make sure that we design defaults that suit most users” but then argues for removing compact without providing any evidence that “normal” is better for most users than “compact”.

Telemetry would help, but the bug also states that “compact” is “fairly hard to discover” so low use of compact would (according to the bug author) not be evidence that compact isn’t the better layout.

(If it is necessary to reduce the number of options, the best information would be “of those users who have tried both Normal and Compact, which did they stay with”, but that probably isn’t available.)

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My take is that if the default design will be less compact I too will be inclined to switch to Compact mode.

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Seconding this — I use Firefox almost exclusively in fullscreen mode to free up the extra vertical space from the Mac menu bar. Every bit counts on a laptop.

This option could be more discoverable — I’ve been a user since the late 90s but had missed this option existing.

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Just a heads up for all participants here: The bug just got assigned and it reads as if Product Management is willing to go forth with the removal, despite many users’ negative feedback both on Bugzilla, here and on Reddit.

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I already find compact mode in the current design to be an absolute necessity on my laptop, and something I greatly appreciate on my desktop - both for the sake of screen space.
Considering that the Proton design is already significantly taller than the previous design, removing compact mode seems like a bizarre move.
I honestly don’t know if I’d use firefox without this going forward considering how large the proton tabs are and how much better-looking compact mode is (in my opinion). I realize I could re-implement it locally in userchrome.css if it gets removed, but I really hope this doesn’t become necessary considering how many users find this to be valuable.

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I use Firefox on a mb air 2017, it’s a 13 inch laptop with a 1440x900 screen. Such options as compact mode are crucial here.

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Thanks.

:arrow_forward: Enhance the calm … (in Reddit) :arrow_forward:

– I voted for both.

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True.

I probably set the preference years ago (maybe through about:config) however it took me years to realise (or be reminded) that there’s a GUI for the preference.

From https://old.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/m3fizq/-/gqrfmki/?context=1 (about bug 1693028):

the foot of the window was never the correct place for preferences that affect the top .

Basic discoverability.

TL;DR: Me too! I’d rather speak up than regret not doing so.


Honestly, I tried proton a while back, and while I didn’t like it, I could kinda adapt to it. Note that I do generally like change: I thought the quantum redesign was great. I even liked Windows 8 (I know, right?)

But as far as removing the compact option goes, I’m not sure if I’d be pissed off or just annoyed, were it to go through (My honest opinion - I don’t mean to flame anyone).

When I tried proton + compact mode on nightly, it seems to cause some issues with the “Playing” indicator, because firefox tries to place it on top, instead of on the side. I would imagine this is what is prompting the removal - likely among other issues that I’m unaware of.

But the way I see it: here it’s proton that’s the problem, not the other way around.

Does compact mode have low engagement? I would think so. But I’d seriously doubt that engagement numbers are low among those who are aware of it. For me it was an obvious choice once I found out about it.

But even if the overall engagement numbers are low; If it is high among the heavy firefox users, that would mean that it’s removal would constitute what I’d call a “papercut”. There is a reason for the phrase: “Death by a thousand papercuts”.

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Yeah, I also think it wastes too much.

We decided to focus on 768 pixels as the minimum height we want to optimize for and the new Proton tabs and address bars account for 92 pixels height, therefore leaving 88% of screen height available for the users in our worst case scenario of 768 pixels height.

Currently I use compact density on my Firefox and [even more] compact version on other Firefox-based browser (25 for tabs and 28 for adress bars, 53 together). 92 sounds and looks painful.

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And this decision is even more strange, if you consider that 768-users were in the first place among Firefox-users in 2019. Even two full years have not passed.

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Please don’t get rid of the option to choose compact mode.

I don’t know what I can say to try and convince you that it’s one of the few remaining crucial accessibility customization options for smaller viewports. Honestly, I don’t think it needs explaining. The fact is it’s an extremely natural thing to support, under the supposition you’re actually interested in supporting many kind of desktop setups and not just “the one”.

I also don’t suppose there’s much point in pointing out that on the Firefox Reddit, people are exasperated at these constant encroachments on usability. Most are just baffled at the idea of removing important customization options, and then the other half isn’t even going to bother saying anything because Mozilla devs have never bothered to seriously listen to people on these issues and they’re not going to start. And they’re not wrong: whenever I’ve raised my voice here on usability/design issues here I’ve only ever been met with microaggressions from devs who take an “us vs the world” approach. And people who do speak out are said to be “just a vocal minority” vs the invisible majority that most definitely just wants the compact mode removed. So in that vein I don’t really expect much by posting this comment, because I also don’t expect anyone to give these concerns even a nanosecond of serious consideration, but I can’t not post about it either.

Software needs to have options like this. You don’t just remove them because “there’s low engagement”. Maybe you should consider that the application isn’t making it easy to discover, rather than that nobody wants it. Screen space is important. Having a good experience on small monitors (or larger monitors, for those who want it) is important. Especially in this day and age when every application (and web designs, too!) just seems to be itching to find new ways to waste screen space needlessly.

Like a ton of people on Reddit are saying, it’s really becoming impossible to keep loving and supporting Firefox. It seems you are all just committed to making software that satisfies arbitrary metrics rather than people .

If all the decisions that make what Firefox is going to be are going to be decided by tests and users engagement, this is not the browser I’d like to advocate for. You still can make a good product without removing all the options people used before.

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First removing features is anti user, if you feel the engagement is too low, try presenting the option more clearly (e.g. first run how would you like it?).

Second I use this feature, and I’m on a 4k display with 150% scaling. The current “normal” UI option has a lot of wasted space and looks cluttered. the compact view is nice as it keeps the UI nice and minimal (I keep bookmarks in my URL bar too) and allows me to focus on what I care about, the content being rendered.

This feature is not about ultra low res screens, it’s an aesthetic choice for users of all screen sizes, similar to how many of the customization options are not widely used but very helpful.

One of Firefox’s main selling points is how customization it is, by chipping away at these all you’re doing is making Firefox more like chrome but with less compatibility (because sites don’t seem to test on firefox anymore).

Please reconsider this, in my view terrible idea.

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Count me as another user who did not know about this option until this news came up. I’m using compact mode now, please don’t remove it.

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My partner works 10-12 hours a day on a 900 pixel tall laptop, and GNOME eats part of her vertical space already. A taller toolbar would decrease the amount of screen usable for content and increase the amount of scrolling required. This would be a step in a less usable direction.

Who in Product Management is making this decision? Can members of the Firefox community have a conversation with him or her?

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I am a Firefox user since Phoenix, and ambivalent to the other changes that caused “friction” among the hardcore user base. Dumbing down the UI may break me however, the compact setting is the first change I make under a fresh profile.

What is to gain from removing this option?

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Just registered here to add a +1 to the calls to NOT remove compact mode. I have used it on every firefox install on every device for years, irrespective of screen resolution. Having features that distinguish Firefox from Chrome is a good thing.

Removing features will only push users to look at forks or other browsers.

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Used Compact mode for years, please stop screwing around

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While I understand that there need to be changes, I don’t think it’s a good idea to remove features like this for such bad reasons. The poor placement of the density options and thus their infrequent use, assumed only because of the lack of telemetry, should not be a reason for their removal. Enough examples of real-life use have been given to make it clear that the compact density option is more important than its poor placement suggests.

I use the compact density option myself, because I don’t want to waste more vertical space than necessary. It’s actually one of the first things I do after installing Firefox or creating a new profile, whether it’s a small laptop screen or the large screens at my workplace. Being able to customize Firefox like that is one of its strengths.

Presumably, this change should be part of making Firefox simpler. While it’s certainly good to make things as simple as possible, it’s important to remember that things also need to be made as complex as necessary to work well. Unfortunately, the latter part is often forgotten. Hopefully this won’t happen with Firefox.

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