Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

Why has Firefox usability gone downhill so rapidly?

  • 11 replies
  • 12 have this problem
  • 820 views
  • Last reply by aeric

more options

1. Firefox has chosen to follow Google. Not always a good idea. They have a minimal notion of usability, at best. In this case, the new behavior is to reset the search-section in every tab. THAT IS TERRIBLE--at least, for me. (I work on a wiki. I always used Firefox for that, because I might have dozens of tabs open. I move from tab to tab, repeating my search, to make a series of coordinated changes. THAT IS NOW IMPOSSIBLE. So I might as well use Chrome. The advantage Firefox used to have is gone.

2. Updates are making interface changes without asking me, and ignoring my preferences. Recently, the menu bar went away. I have no idea why, or even when. (It was in the last few days.) Lacking a menubar, Firefox becomes useless to me, and forces me to move to Chrome.

3. When I went to the support pages, there is nothing there about restoring the menu bar. All it says is, "depends on your OS". There USED to be a page that told how to recover it...

Chosen solution

Hi aeric, there are at least two extensions that can revert the Find Bar to "per-window" instead of "per-tab". I didn't see them mentioned before and you might have missed them in your search on the Add-ons site.

If you form a preference between them, please post back as I haven't seen much feedback lately.

Read this answer in context 👍 1

All Replies (11)

more options
  1. Your opinion, but there are a number of add-ons available to restore a more "classic" UI theme. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-to-make-new-firefox-look-like-old-firefox and http://www.ghacks.net/2014/04/26/turn-new-firefox-29-old-firefox/
  2. The Menu Bar hasn't been the default view since Firefox 4.0 came out. Easily changed by right-click at the top of the browser window and click on Menu Bar to have it show all the time. You can also click the Alt button to have it appear when you need it = temporarily.
  3. See this when using Firefox - https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/what-happened-to-the-file-edit-and-view-menus - that page is adjusted for the version of Firefox which is used when viewing that page.
more options

Thanks for the links. The thing that really had me miffed was what appeared to be the missing "Exit" option. Without that, there is no way to restore multiple windows--which are part of my working style. Finally found it at bottom right of the hamburger window. It's a well-chosen icon, but I had to hunt for it. (Most weeks, I'd have plenty of time to do that. But have been in a time-crunch of late.)

As for the question of whether the search box should remain as you move from tab to tab, it's not a matter of opinion so much as work efficiency. Sure, when I move to a tab that's about something different, it's not helpful. That's one reason I have multiple windows--each window contains a collection of tabs that are related in some way. Redoing a search happens frequently in some of those windows--especially when I'm making changes in the Wiki I work on. I will quite literally have up to 40 tabs open, in order to find and make the changes. (For example, the wiki gives me a list of pages that point to this one. I often need to go to those pages, find the links, and adjust the text that introduces it. As I find each one and fix it, I close the tab. So the tabs tell me what's left to do.)

In short, the ability to keep the search intact from tab to tab is critical to what I do. Otherwise extensive changes become completely unmanageable. So in this area, at least, I need the "classic" interface, as you call it.

If the next upgrade reverses my setting or makes me go through this sort of process to find a workaround again, expect another tirade. In the meantime, thanks a ton for the assistance.

Modified by aeric

more options

JURY IS STILL OUT! The helpful links you posted say nothing at all about the behavior of the search tool. I don't have time to experiment until next week, as right now I'm under the gun. Fortunately, I won't be needing that functionality right now. I'll have to post a reply when I find out one way or another whether I can recover it.

Two things that do not work right now:

 1. In Windows 7, right-click at the top of the browser window brings up the windows menu (NOT Firefox configuration options). There IS one place that brings up the menu option, however--to the right of the tabs, after the [+] icon, but before the edge of the window, and below the top-of-window area. That location can be small, but it does provide a configuration option to bring back the menus, among other things.
 2. That's good, because I needed the "Send Link" option. (It can also be added to the hamburger menu, by customizing it.) 

I'm really glad I finally found the way to restore menus, btw. By my count, there are 54 menu items that can be scanned by clicking on a menu and then moving the cursor left or right. That's 54 options that can be easily scanned when looking for something. And that's not even counting the sub-menus and drag-right menus. But graphic designers, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that spiffy-looking graphics are more important. So they've created "ribbon" bars in Word and Excel, and have modified interfaces like this, all to be "different" and or "sexy", while ignoring usability considerations. (So Mozilla is definitely not alone in the devolution of usability.)

Modified by aeric

more options

BTW: Kudos to whoever built this forum. It's dynamite! I love the ability to edit a post, mark a reply as helpful, identify the solution, and even indicate whether or not a response is needed--not to mention email updates! It's wicked good.

Will it be possible to use the technology to set up something similar for other organizations. (I do some work with a non-profit that is looking for something to manage conversations. This may well be it, if the price isn't prohibitive for a small group like ours.)

more options

"JURY IS STILL OUT! The helpful links you posted say nothing at all about the behavior of the search tool."

In Firefox 31 it isn't any different than in earlier versions, but there was a major change in Firefox 34, which was released at the beginning of this month.

more options

the-edmeister said

"JURY IS STILL OUT! The helpful links you posted say nothing at all about the behavior of the search tool." In Firefox 31 it isn't any different than in earlier versions, but there was a major change in Firefox 34, which was released at the beginning of this month.

Right. Version 34 removed the functionality. Now then, all of the links that talk about restoring previous behavior talk about changes to the graphics and layout. They don't say anything about the search functionality. Are these plugin's graphic retrofits that don't have access to the functionality, or are they a complete reversion to the previous interface?

more options

the-edmeister said

  1. Your opinion, but there are a number of add-ons available to restore a more "classic" UI theme. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-to-make-new-firefox-look-like-old-firefox and http://www.ghacks.net/2014/04/26/turn-new-firefox-29-old-firefox/
  2. The Menu Bar hasn't been the default view since Firefox 4.0 came out. Easily changed by right-click at the top of the browser window and click on Menu Bar to have it show all the time. You can also click the Alt button to have it appear when you need it = temporarily.
  3. See this when using Firefox - https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/what-happened-to-the-file-edit-and-view-menus - that page is adjusted for the version of Firefox which is used when viewing that page.

STRIKE ONE: The Classic Theme Restorer has a lot of nice options. But while it lets me specify the position of the "findbar", it does not have an option to "keep alive until I close it". So far then, the findbar still works exactly like Chrome--which is why I have, until now, been enamored of Firefox for my daily work.

STRIKE TWO: The first link doesn't provide a second alternative. It's simply a guide to using the classic restorer. (I wish I could go back and unmark the response as "helpful". I'm sure it was intended to be. But in actual fact it (quite unfortunately) does not solve the problem at all.

The good news is that when I press Ctrl+F, the previous search text is present. The bad news is that I have to press Ctrl+F in each and every tab I want to search--and that is an operation I may wind up doing a hundred times, on occasion.

I am really and truly miffed. Firefox just removed functionality I depend on, and there is no way to get it back. I want a single findbar for the window I'm in. Any changes I make to that appear should apply to any tab I visit in that window.

Since Firefox now emulates Chrome's deficient behavior, I'll go explore Opera, next. Well, Opera does the same thing. Now everyone works the same. Gad.

OMG. IE does what I need. Who would have guessed it? Never thought I'd be going back to that thing. Well, as of now, I'm their customer to lose!

Modified by aeric

more options

Ok. I've made the transition to IE. It's somewhat painful. Not at all as nice as Firefox--most especially in the way the address bar is a resizable "tab" (creates conflicts over the use of real estate). However, it has the critical functionality I need.

Hopefully, at some point someone will post a message here saying an option has been provided that will let me recover that functionality. If so, I will hasten back to Firefox, forthwith.

more options

Chosen Solution

Hi aeric, there are at least two extensions that can revert the Find Bar to "per-window" instead of "per-tab". I didn't see them mentioned before and you might have missed them in your search on the Add-ons site.

If you form a preference between them, please post back as I haven't seen much feedback lately.

more options

The global findbar utility restores the functionality I need. Thanks a ton! https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/globalfindbar/

Will keep the other in my hip pocket, in case it does other interesting things...

more options

BTW: This answer came just in time! I had begun converting to IE, when it suddenly hung for no apparent reason, with only one window and 5 tabs! So I am damn glad to be able to go back to FireFox! (I would have lived with that kind of problem if I needed it. I just really happy that I don't need to!)