Polishing the Opera browser interface

Speed Dial

Short time delay on clicking items in Speed Dial. Out of curiosity I’ve found a potential annoyance with double clicking the background to open speed dial. To find this potential problem you have to have “Click on tab to minimize” enabled (Tools -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Tabs -> Additional tab options… – > Click on tab to minimize = checked). With this option enabled, you can minimize all tabs by clicking on them. Now test this for yourself: double click the empty Opera window to open a new tab, place your cursor over a speed dial entry or “X” to delete one, click the tab while leaving your mouse using Ctrl+W, now triple click. Depending on where you placed the cursor, you’ve now opened a Speed Dial entry from a rushing click or accidentally deleted one.

Zoom clicked Speed Dial item into the tab. I think this should have been obvious far before Safari 4 beta introduced it (if I’m wrong on them being the first then please let me know). I think the idea that Safari introduced is a far more pleasant way of confirming to the end user that they have clicked the correct item. It’s simply a more pleasant presentation. I see no reason why Opera shouldn’t incorporated this as well since it seems browsers are stealing ideas and designs right and left.

Adding a new Speed Dial item, the address field should be focused by default for a smoother click the item and type the address approach. That in no way stops the user from clicking a suggested url and also doesn’t require a second click if all they want to do is simply click the item and type a quick address.

The button to Hide Speed Dial and Show Speed Dial should have some sort or zoom affect for a visually pleasing response to your clicks. We all know that hiding the speed dial will only minimize it from that point on to the lower right corner, but shouldn’t we get a more visual sense of how it got there? This one simply boils down to basic user interface design.

Rearranging Speed Dial items should be more visual. I think Google Chrome nailed the idea of dragging tabs in and out of the main window, but that’s a different suggestion. For now I’m using the same idea, but individual Speed Dial items should “physically” move out of their little tile and swap with others rather than simply changing the cursor icon which most people would probably fail to notice. To extend on this topic, when Speed Dial was first introduced it was stated that implementing a Speed Dial page that was web based would be far too improbably. Now that Opera features a web based feed preview with feed readers to send the feed to (which will probably in the future be customizable), I see no reason why the Speed Dial could not be redesigned into a web based version thus making future updates to the visual representation easier and even controllable by the end user with userjs and css.

opera-speed-dial

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