Opera has recently unveiled a brand-new refresh of its user interface in the developer stream. Really part of a bigger project named Reborn—appropriately so—this new build offers a totally new look and some new features that are sure to pique the interest of many designers.
According to the blog entry on Opera’s official website, the browser’s design gets an entirely new facelift. Less platform-specific, the redesign focuses more on high-quality graphical design than anything else.
One of the first changes that observant designers will notice is with the tabs: they’ve been simplified, are lighter, and seem more elegant overall. In practical, user-experience terms, you’ll be able to find open tabs with much greater ease.
Then, there’s the improvement with the sidebar. It now features a bit of animation for extra vibrancy, and it’s also subtler and sports a more refined appearance.
Speed Dial also gets a new look; it features smooth animations and shadows that are more noticeable for a slightly more potent 3D look. There are also going to be some default wallpapers for Speed Dial.
Originally located in Speed Dial, the sidebar moves to the main browser window; this is close to the setup in Opera Neon. The sidebar’s first version provides users with one-click access to the most vital tools like: Bookmarks; History; Extensions; Personal news.
Users will be able to customize the sidebar so only the tools they find useful will show up there. This new version of the sidebar is visible for new users by default, but existing users have the choice to turn it on if they want to, by simply activating the switch, which is found in Speed Dial.
The browser’s refresh also acknowledges the pervasive influence of messaging on the web today. To that end, this redesign features the opportunity to keep Messenger.com in a side tab. A UX consideration primarily, this should address the cumbersome nature of having to constantly switch back and forth between tabs to answer messages. Additional features incorporating social services into the browser’s design are intended for the future.
Users who want to make use of Messenger within the browser have to simply click the icon found on the top of the sidebar. There are two ways to use Messenger after logging in: 1) Open it in overlay; 2) Pin it to use side-by-side with the current tab. Option 2 allows users to integrate online chat into the full browsing experience for a better UX.
This redesign was released through Opera’s developer stream. Usually, any improvements are released in the developer stream to work out any instability while in the beta state. Then, after a few months, the redesign proper migrates to the consumer version of the browser, so everyone can expect to see the full redesign in the near future.