Why Proton?

Hi,

It’s a genuine question here: Why Proton? What’s wrong with Quantum UI?

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@Geobomatic, I’m not a Mozilla rep so I’m just another random dude on the net who uses Firefox, but I have been asking this same question whenever Mozilla decides to push some random UI change to Firefox for no good reason. I truly don’t understand it. The changes being made to Photon seem to be light in Proton but I suppose the biggest thing they’re trying to change is the styling aesthetic and textures for dialogue windows and menus. It’s an attempt (albeit unnecessary) to make the browser look even more “modern”. Mozilla continues on this stupid rally with Google to copycat their UI while protesting ethics—yet they can’t just keep what works because they’re constantly making business decisions instead of decisions that actually benefit the community. Eye-candy UI doesn’t make Firefox easier to use… it makes it more attractive. That’s a business decision, not a decision catering to the community.

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Here we have it shoved in our throat and I really feel it’s a regression:

  • no icons in menu: it’s hard to find what you want in a glance
  • tabs look like random button, disconnected from the urlbar. What’s the logic in that?
  • no color strip on top of selected “tab”: I really miss the blue stripe on dark theme, making hard to see which tab is selected
  • container indicator moving to top make this confusion even worse
  • vertical space taken is more than before and compact mode is “not supported” meaning they’ll leave it to rot until it’s broken

How the company that builds the beautiful Rust language and its welcoming and benevolent community can not listen to its user base?

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Yep, that is exactly what will be happening. Now that compact mode is hidden in about:config they’ll remove it soon as nobody really uses it anymore.

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And I feel like it’s a lost cause. They did add telemetry to see how spread is the usage of compact mode, but now, the setting is hidden in about:config…

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I don’t get the big benefit for removing icons. Icons make it easier to recognize what you’re looking for? Only using text means you have to spend a more time to read each item, or rely on rote memorization of item order.

Without items, the menu can become slightly less wide, but was that even an issue on desktop?

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Exactly my thoughts.

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In my opinion, the icon element of the toolbar seems to be smaller. This may be because the increase in the blank area causes the relative size of the icon to shrink. The blank area is too large now, and the icons are arranged too sparsely, which increases the length of the toolbar and squeezes the space of the address bar.

Another point is the “compact layout” function. It is now displayed as deprecated on my browser, and the compact layout, in terms of appearance, even takes up more space than the old default layout.

I think that the expansion of the space occupied by the tab bar is closely related to the new work tab highlight design: the space around the tab title needs to be reserved for the rounded rectangle indicating the active tab and the space between the rounded rectangle and the address bar.

Therefore, I very much hope to see the return of the old tab bar design.

I also very much agree with the five design flaws @Geobomatic mentioned.

Another point is that the copy link button in the address bar has been removed. Many people may not know this button because it is an optional function in the right-click menu, but I use it every day, which is very important to me.

At the same time, it seems that the buttons in the address bar cannot be customized now, so I cannot remove some buttons that I don’t use.

These are some of my opinions, because my English is not good, I used Google Translate, please don’t mind.

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To be fair, now that I’m used a bit to the UI, my point still stands but I can live with it but for 3 things:

  • Compact mode need to stay and officially supported
  • Dark theme need accent color on the active button border like Alpenglow has
  • Media playing not visible until hovering need to go on the right like before

I know that the rest will stay like it is because “the spec says so”, but if they can fix these points, I think it can calm a lot of angry users

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Yeah, even if users voice valid concerns because the new spec doesn’t comply with WCAG standards in some environments (e.g. Windows).

Exactly! Not having iconography in place in menus is even worse when one is jumping between two or more language versions of Firefox like I am. In the release notes of 89.0beta, it is stated that iconography in the menus is unnecessary noise. No, it is not. Iconography in menus is useful feature that I expect to be get back in future releases.

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Just got force-fed Proton and had to google up ways of disabling it. Such a relief, if only temporary.

So, what are the possible ways of petitioning Mozilla to roll back Proton?

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Given that I haven’t seen any response from anyone from Mozilla org here, I guess the chances of a rollback are close to 0%. Unfortunately.

I hadn’t been monitoring closely Firefox development other than reading up on notes specifically to changes in CSS and JavaScript handling since I’ve been busy with work (developer). Having Firefox crash (it becomes unstable after I have more than 90 tabs open even as 64-bit executable among multiple processes; although, local messing suggests it’s JavaScript memory leaks from the pages themselves, go figure). I am used to the process dying. I do not want to open up to a different version than I was using. I forgot again to check the “notify me” after the last update.

For the design itself, it looks like some kind of new “modern” design. Frankly, I make my theme look fairly close to how I had it in “Phoenix Browser” eons ago with compact turned on. My menus are turned on since the traditional menus are still easier for me to navigate (I will use the new “hamburger menu” for new tabs if I happen to be on that side of the screen). I can deal with a bit of change. The new icons do not appeal to my sense of aesthetics, but they are clear enough. The biggest issue is that the new interface makes for eye strain with my ungodly number of tabs I always keep open (Usually 3 windows, 4 tabs on one, and the other two with about 50 each). Clear tab widgets make using the interface easier. I would like to set a minimal tab size (there might be a config item, or CSS to modify, but I have yet to look for it) and that extension (unfortunately no longer compatible) that allowed for color coding tabs was quite useful (I’ll have to find a substitute).

Fortunately, I managed to find the off switches in configuration once I got the correct keyword easily enough, but if I do not give feedback, configuration items can stop getting respected. I had to turn back on the menu, the title bar, and turn back on compact mode. Also had to remove new icons that I do not want and turn off the Picture-in-picture button (I use the feature occasionally, but more often than not, I accidentally click the popup, maybe a more accessible switch on the feature eventually…). I do like the new color theme selector on the customize toolbar. Maybe a new [optional] toolbar icon for directly changing it might be an idea for some to use so that they can change the light/dark usage depending on their mood or time of day, just a thought. I might need to find where the colors are set and make the dark a little-bit lighter in a few areas (color technically is okay, just personal taste and reduction of eye strain).

One thing that annoyed me was that the “Submit Feedback” on the Help menu seems to be a dead-end at the moment, going to some “https://mozilla.crowdicity.com/” site instead of a clearer (or at least obviously categorized) place to leave feedback.

Please, dear developers, do not force the Proton user interface. I stick to the Quantum user interface. I’m a long-term addict to Firefox, please don’t ruin it.

1 Like

I spent a couple of hours doing what Firefox devs probably hate: reverting back to a previous version.

My Firefox has a highly customized stylesheet I use to get exactly the look and functionality I want. When FF 89.0 struck through my automatic updates, I discovered that the Proton UI was utterly non-functional.

I did not have access to any tabs other than the current one. They were hiding at the bottom of the page where I had a link bar above on my computer’s taskbar, making mistakes in opening links to programs much easier to make. But they wouldn’t show up, I couldn’t tab through them, and I could only make a new one and keep closing other ones to get to the page I was looking for.

Not to mention, my address bar was once again in the wrong place (below the bookmarks bar), and I had considerably less real estate to be able to see what was on the web page itself.

I uninstalled Firefox, deleted the profiles, went to the archives and downloaded 88.01, installed it, and re-linked my previous profile from a disk image I had made about five days previously. I then ensured that Firefox would not update automatically ever again.

Once I had all my tools back at my disposal, I found that you can use the about:config tab to disable the Proton UI, but I also found that you won’t be able to do that after FF90 or so.

I can’t adequately express how appalled I am at Mozilla for doing this. I don’t mind UI changes, if they can be reverted back to what one had before. UI’s, especially in Firefox, which is highly customizable though the use of stylesheets, are very personal, and a lot of FF users go out of their way, taking a lot of time and trouble, to get the UI that suits them. Then along comes Mozilla and kicks over that apple cart without even an option to keep the old UI.

I’ve been using FF ever since Netscape went belly up. I love how it protects privacy far better than, well, pretty much everyone else. I especially love how one could tame it to look exactly like what one wanted. And now, all that’s gone.

IF (and I do say if) we must have changes (which I would argue are pointless vanity projects that highlight the problem with devs thinking their products should “look better” when NO ONE AT ALL is asking for a different look and making it considerably less functional in the process), then let us revert back to what we had so our laboriously crafted and honed stylesheets still work and we can continue on using the same secure browser without catering to a dev vanity project.

So add my voice to the down-votes on Proton. I get why devs do this. I don’t approve of change for the sake of change. If it must be changed, let the end user put it back to the way it was. That way those who love Proton can keep it, and those who don’t can keep what they had. Firefox was supposed to be flexible that way. It should continue in that tradition, if the end user so wishes.

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I’ll tell you why Proton. Because the incompetent malcontents that make up mozilla development know better than you and don’t care about your opinion.

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Firefox won’t listen they have lost over 50 million users because of there stupid changes. So there is an alternative called Waterfox and everything just worked when I copied Firefox profile over its profile. One extension required me to uninstall and reinstall for new signature and that was it… It looks exactly like Firefox no Proton UI crap.

It looks like there are some guys in Mozilla that decided there is actually no important stuff to do, so they decided to create this Proton thing: they firstly make the UI worse than before, so that they can “reinvent the wheel” in the next releases.

Luckily, most of the time I just browse the web, so I don’t see most of the changes made. I question mainly why they decided to hide web icons in tabs that are playing media, as described within bug 1701443. AFAIK this worked perfectly before Proton.

It would be great to have some feedback from the authors themselves, but I guess it wouldn’t change anything anyway…