Sunday, October 15, 2006
I recently tried out the Opera browser after hearing some good things about it. Although it pains me to say this (I love Firefox), I was impressed. There are a lot of neat, convenient features scattered throughout the program that make browsing a lot easier. It's almost intuitive how the user interface is designed so that it seems like whenever you want to do something, Opera somehow always pops up the right option for you. I think Firefox can really learn a lot about interface design by looking at Opera.
My 10 Reasons
1. Tabbed Browsing, Part A: Say, you have 10 tabs open. You open a new link from Tab 2 in a new tab (Tab 11). When you close Tab 11, you're brought back to Tab 2, not Tab 10. That's a very clever and convenient design since you don't have to hunt for that original tab you came from.
2. Tabbed Browsing, Part B: You can choose whether you want to open a new link in a background tab or not.
3. Tabbed Browsing, Part C: There are close buttons located on each tab (Firefox 2 has this, but it hasn't been officially released yet).
4. Tabbed Browsing, Part D: I know, another one. I just discovered it. When you hold your cursor over a tab, a thumbnail of the page appears.
5. Find box: It's located at the top of the page, not at the bottom where you have to strain to see it. It also doesn't make that annoying sound when you type something that isn't in the page.
6. Integrated Bittorrent client: For those who love Bittorrent, nothing more needs to be said.
7. Search Engines: You can easily add new search engines to the search box.
8. Preferences: For those who like to tweak their browser a lot, Opera's preferences are more comprehensive and easy to understand than Firefox's (to really tweak Firefox you have to type in about:config and scroll through a lot of incomprehensible preference names).
9. Voice. Use your voice to control Opera.
10. Trash can. If you accidentally close a tab or pop-up, you can retrieve it from the trash can.
I know that a lot of these features can be replicated in Firefox by installing extensions, but in Opera, they're built in. So, I ask the Firefox developers: How could you let Firefox be outclassed by Opera in so many ways? Not that I intend to stop using Firefox, but Opera really does have a lot of neat, intuitive features.
Give Opera a try.