Opera Software has been regularly releasing Swordfish (Opera 11.50) snapshots for the past couple of months or so. We reviewed the major enhancements introduced in the Swordfish beta in an earlier article. Since, then Opera Software has worked away at fixing crashes and other bugs, adding usability enhancements, updating the rendering engine (Presto), and tweaking the speed dial. The newest snapshot, however, moves away from behind the scene changes, and focuses on the visual aspects.
Opera Software has just unveiled Featherweight, the new skin for Opera. Featherweight is all about making Opera “as light, bright and user-friendly as possible”. “We want the user interface to match the speed of our rendering engine”, wrote Opera’s graphic designer Jan Henrik Helmers. The highlights of the new skin are:
Opera Featherweight on Windows, Linux, and Mac
- Brand new toolbar icon set
- Brighter, softer colors for backgrounds and borders
- Padding and alignment improvements
- Updated status bar design and content
- No more button borders in the address bar
- The Home and Fast Forward buttons now optional
- New “tab fold” attention state – no more blue blob
- New window gradient for OS X
Opera Featherweight Tab Fold
I have been using the Featherweight skin for the past couple of hours, and the new skin definitely feels fresh and bright. There are numerous minor tweaks all over the place. For example, the ugly blue dots, which were previously used to indicate that the page has new content, have been replaced with much more subtler “tab fold” indicators (pictured above). All of these changes gel together to give a polished, cohesive, and modern appeal to Opera. I’ve been working with the Opera folks on the featherweight skin recently, and there is more to come! As always, not everything makes itâ€¦, teased famed designer Jon Hicks, who has helped shape the visual appearance of most Opera products across platforms. You can download the latest snapshot from here. However, keep in mind that Opera Next releases can be buggy and unstable.