Firefox/Features/New Tab Page

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New Tab Page
Stage Landed
Status Complete
Release target Firefox 13
Health OK
Status note Landed in Fx13. New design has been updated and everyone should download Nightly and test/send feedback when launching a new tab. Great work by the whole team.


Product manager Chris Lee
Directly Responsible Individual Chris Lee
Lead engineer Tim Taubert
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead `
QA lead Virgil Dicu
UX lead Jennifer Boriss
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members `

Open issues/risks

  • Performance or memory degradation

Stage 1: Definition

1. Feature overview

Whenever Firefox users open a new tab, their goal is to use it to navigate somewhere. Firefox currently displays a blank page when Firefox users open a new page. This is guaranteed to not help them perform their next task.

We'd like to implement a page which displays on new tabs and helps users complete their next task. This will likely include offering options that are most likely to include the user's next task so that valuable time and steps are saved.

Such a page must meet certain requirements:

  • Load instantly
  • Not be so distracting as to take users mentally away from their intended task and into an unintended one
  • Be useful without any configuration, yet can be easily configured and disabled
  • Does not embarrass the user

2. Users & use cases

  • Navigating to a location from a new tab page
  • Opening a new tab page without being sure of what task to begin
  • Making navigation to a site the user has been to before faster

3. Dependencies


4. Requirements

Phase 1: Minimal Needed for Release


  • Titles of top sites


  • Ability to remove a particular top site from new tab page
    • Ability for user to undo removal of a site from new tab page
  • Ability to disable new tab page and restore blank page


  • No performance impact in browsing session
  • Loads instantly

Phase 2: Main Functionality in Place


  • Ability to reorder displayed top sites
  • Ability to modify the titles of top sites
  • Ability to to “lock” a site into place
  • Ability to add a new site to new tab page
  • Ability to replace displayed items with recent bookmarks, recently closed tabs, history, etc

Phase 3: Future


  • Possibly Partial thumbnails of top sites (pending testing)
  • Ability to bookmark an item from the new tab page itself
  • Sites synced across devices and profiles
  • Ability replace sites with tabs from other computers
  • Possible ability to add a persona or background image to new tabs
  • Ability to navigate sites wholly via keyboard
  • Possible display of large icons rather than thumbnails, dependent on wide availability of high-resolution artwork, either provided by sites or generated by us


  • Similar-but-mobile new tab page on mobile Firefox

Next Steps

  • Iterate on prototype in UX branch
  • Use feedback from prototype and user research to generate final design



Stage 2: Design

5. Functional specification


6. User experience design

First iteration spec

Stage 3: Planning

7. Implementation plan


8. Reviews

Security review


Privacy review


Localization review




Quality Assurance review


Operations review


Stage 4: Development

9. Implementation


Stage 5: Release

10. Landing criteria


Feature details

Priority P1
Rank 5
Theme / Goal Discover
Roadmap User Experience
Secondary roadmap Firefox Desktop
Feature list Desktop
Project `
Engineering team Desktop front-end

Team status notes

  status notes
Products ` `
Engineering ` `
Security sec-review-unnecessary `
Privacy ` `
Localization ` `
Accessibility ` `
Quality assurance Signed-off Test Plan
User experience ` `
Product marketing ` `
Operations ` `