« We Are Not The Press - Opera Bogglers Get More Punchy - A Reply to LSR - Camp "Mascot" | Main | The Unfair Impression of Bloat »

April 23, 2005

"Switchers" Left Behind - Simplicity - Newbies: Fanboys Go To Bed, Would You Please

It's occured to me that Opera have decided that trying to lure "switchers" is the wrong way to go. With the launch of 7.5, it seemed Opera had tried to appeal to IE, FF and Safari users by pointing out how easy it was to duplicate the look and feel of those browsers. Either that didn't give them much traction or whatever, I can only assume that they decided against using that as a major selling point.

I think this mainly because the customisation page that did 1-click setups to emulate other browsers is not pretty much tucked/hidden away - I had to look for the old press release and that link redirected to this one.

My feeling on this is in many ways one of agreement. Opera is different - deal with it. Sure, the keyboard shortcuts are a bit different, the toolbars not quite the same - but I'd like to think it's not that big a hump to get over, after which you realise how good Opera is. Speed, Security, Simplicity. And I think it's in the last point that version 8 really tries to deliver on.

Obviously I don't use the default setup - I'm a fanboy, I go crazy - but the default as it is now is as close to simplicity for the uninitiated user as you're likely to get for a while without selling the feature-set short.

Of course it still rankles me that the menu bar area can largely remain wasted, and I have complaints about the way the toolbars function - but on the whole I'm happy enough that people who discover Opera on their own won't be too intimidated by the first thing they see. If they can download and install it on their own, they can figure out the default interface.

And I feel pretty convinced that the last people who should be allowed to decide what the default interface is like are the fanboys/girls - usability studies is how it should be done, and I think Opera's been good in sticking to its guns about that.

That said, when I install Opera for my friends, I inevitably customise it for them (I'll be re-doing my pre-customised package soon, updated for 8). The most important thing I give them is customised searches. That's what Opera is best at - unbeatable at the moment, but not necessarily at startup. This is especially important for people who are shy at customising their interface - many people are still afraid they'll "break it".

IMDB, TVTome, Dictionary.com (with Proxo blocking ads) and Wikipedia seem particularly popular.

Posted by subtitles at April 23, 2005 3:30 AM | Opera Boggling

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry: