Thank you to those who have responded to the Firefox Theme survey [https://goo.gl/forms/qUqQ4cAJ3oJueD5c2
We received over 250 responses with some great feedback as to what
people like about the current offerings of themes in Firefox as well as
what they would like to see improved. We will be keeping the survey open
and monitoring it for anybody that has not had a chance to reply yet,
but we will not be sending out another summary email. The grouping of
the results and more details can be found in our meeting notes [https://github.com/mozilla/firefox-themes/blob/master/notes/09-08-2016.md
Below is a summary of the responses to the survey.
Have you made a lightweight theme before?
What do you like about lightweight themes? (48 responses)
strong majority (70%) of lightweight theme authors said that they liked
how lightweight themes were simple and easy to make. The next group, at
6%, said that they liked how lightweight themes always remain
compatible after Firefox updates. 4% of users also liked that they were
easy to install with no restart required. A couple people complained
that they were too simple and there was too much spam in the themes
section of the Add-ons website.
What do you feel was difficult to do or missing from lightweight themes? (47 responses)
little less than (42%) half of responses would have liked to do more
than just a couple of images with lightweight themes. They would like to
apply background images to other parts of the browser, change icons,
buttons, and the size-of and location of browser components. The next
group of responses (10%) wanted more support for scaling, repetition,
animation, and position of background images. Improved documentation
(8%) and a lack of a development environment such as an in-browser
editor followed (6%). The last two groups of responses wanted the
ability for themes to change based on external factors (2%) and separate
images for the tabs and tab toolbar (2%).
Have you made a XUL theme before?
What do you like about XUL themes?
strong majority of the respondents agreed firmly with 71.2% that XUL
themes are awesome in allowing to touch and customize all the things.
The second largest group of respondents seek out XUL themes because they
offer more nuts and bolts to tinker with than lightweight themes at
11.5%, while the familiarity with the CSS styling language is the main
reason to like them for 7.7% of the respondents. Two other notable
groups are people who like dark themes, which are apparently only really
available as XUL themes, and ones who feel that XUL themes are the
easiest thing to make on this planet, each at 3.9%.
What do you feel was difficult to do or missing from XUL themes?
largest amount of responses (29.8%) said that it is a real pain to keep
these themes up-to-date and working, with the current fast release
cycle of Firefox and the fast pace of development. 28.1% of the
respondents rightfully complained that they need to use exotic,
undocumented technologies and unknown CSS selectors in order to create a
working XUL theme. Whilst 15.8% claimed there is nothing wrong with XUL
themes and we should keep it as-is, another 12.3% is sad about the lack
of documentation or any kind of manual to get started. Packaging and
delivery of XUL themes is not considered optimal by 10.5% of respondents
and that ultimately very few of these themes can be configured after
Why do you install themes?
(47%) of the survey responses want to personalize Firefox. These people
said that they want to make Firefox "their own" and have fun showing it
off. They enjoy having full control over the user interface through XUL
themes and like the ability to set arbitrary CSS. The next set of
responses (16%) asked for a "dark" Firefox, making it easier on the eyes
at night. These responses were generally focused on the toolbars and
menus of the browser being dark. At 12% of responses was closer
integration with the operating system followed closely by 11% of
responses saying that they felt the default theme was boring and bland.
The last category of responses that received multiple votes was to allow
themes to undo recent changes to the user interface, as an attempt to
keep things the same that they've been for the past months/years.
What capabilities would you like themes to have?
than half (56%) of the survey responses want full control over the
browser UI. They would like to move and hide items, change tab shapes,
replace icons, context menus, scrollbars, and more. Following this large
group, we had close to 5% of respondents who wanted to simply change
basic colors and another group, also close to 5%, that wanted to make it
easy for users to make simple tweaks to their browser or an installed
theme through a built-in menu or tool. Native OS integration, such as
using platform-specific icons and scrollbars, followed closely at 3%.
Also at 3% of responses were requests from users who require larger
icons and improved readability of the browser's user interface for
improved accessibility. Not far behind, and ironically next in the order
of responses, were requests for a smaller browser UI (2%). These users
generally want to maximize the amount of screen space that web pages can
use. Both "dark themes" and "themes not breaking with future releases"
got 2% of responses. In our last group of responses at or above 1% was
themes that could change based on external factors (time of day, season,
month, web color, or a very slow animation), restartless and easy to
trial, ability to apply multiple themes to create a "mash-up", and to
lighten the tab bar.
What parts of Firefox are most important to you to be able to change the appearance of? Why?
20% of the respondents can not make a choice between the parts of
Firefox and thus want to customize the app in its entirety. Following
closely with 16% is the group of respondents that think the tabs area is
the most important part for themes, while half that number choose
toolbars, (toolbar)button icons and the area above the tabs, including
the window decoration and window controls. Interestingly, the wish to be
able to theme in-content pages is as strong as that of the Awesomebar
and respective navigation controls: 6.8%. Changing the colors, palette
and fonts used for the UI are the other most notable choices from the
community of respondents at 6.4% and 4%, respectively.
Are there theme-related features from other browser or apps that you would like to see incorporated into Firefox?
overwhelming majority of the respondents insist that we don't need to
change a thing and that other apps don't offer grand alternatives at
36.5%, or simply can't think of any. The Vivaldi browser came up in our
preliminary research and also takes a prominent position as device of
inspiration for theming features at 11.2%. A dark theme like other apps
already offer in their package (5.9%), applying tints of color on SVG
icons and background masks (2.9%) on UI elements - most notably the
titlebar - and take Opera's about:newtab theming capabilities (2.4%). A
notable response from 2.9% of respondents was to introduce a live theme
editor in Firefox with sharing capabilities, so that theme creators can
take existing themes to tweak to their own liking and (re-)share with
Jared Wein and Mike de Boer on behalf of the Firefox engineering team