Yesterday Opera Watch “tagged” me so that I would write about 5 things that could make Opera better. This is kind of like a game, and since I can normally come up with a list of improvements for nearly any application, I thought it would be kind of fun. The key is that I have to tag 5 people at the end of this article so that the cycle continues.
The problem that I had was coming up with just five. Now don’t get me wrong, Opera is a great browser and I use it on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean I can’t point out the areas they could improve on or excel in. Since the Opera team is so willing to listen to user suggestions I thought that I would give my top 5 recommendations, as well as all of the other things that I think they can do to make their browser stand out even more.
Here are my top 5:
- Inline spell checking – Firefox has it, IE has it (with IE7Pro installed), and it is the first complaint that I always hear when people try Opera…”where’s the spell checking?” Opera has to get this feature soon because it is something power-users have become addicted to because of Firefox. Come on…this is the hottest thing since sliced bread!
- Online bookmark syncing – Let’s face it, the web is a social place these days. Bookmark management is frequently done online with services like Google Bookmarks, Del.icio.us, and many others but, Opera doesn’t offer support for any of those. They need to develop some sort of bookmarks API so that users can create bookmark add-ons that work with the various services.
- Better looking default theme – You know, I have yet to see a truly amazing browser theme that knocks my socks off. I think Opera can do it, and if I had to say which theme I think is the best out of all the browsers I think I would give that to Internet Explorer 7…especially running under Vista with the sweet transparency. Opera needs to rework their current theme, and maybe even throw in some Vista pizzazz by adding some of the cool transparent effects. You only have one chance to make a first impression!
- New notifier – I actually think there should be a toolbar item available that is dedicated purely to notifications. That way users can choose where they want it to appear (since Opera does a great job of letting you customize the positioning and appearance of toolbars and toolbar items). Instead of having sliders, you could have notification balloons. It would be like having a System Tray for your browser…how cool would that be?
- Toolbar/sidebar for widgets – Opera does support widgets but to use them right now isn’t really convenient. What they need to do is create some sort of sidebar or toolbar where people can dock their widgets. A good example of where this would be useful is with the weather. The docked widget could show the current weather, and then it will expand to the fullsize version if you hover over it or click on it…kinda like how the Vista sidebar works for some of the gadgets.
And then here’s my “not so important” wishlist:
- An updater – I just don’t like having to re-download the entire browser for a simple update.
- Better support for Greasemonkey scripts – People complain about Opera not supporting extensions, but I really don’t think that they need to. You can do a lot with Greasemonkey scripts, and Opera does a great job of supporting most of them. The ones that are really loaded up with features though seem to flop in Opera and don’t do a thing, so I think they could add some better Greasemonkey support or come up with an online converter to possibly fix (or point out) where the issues are.
- Opera syncer – Synchronize my bookmarks, passwords, widgets, tabs, form data, and almost my entire Opera profile with a service that Opera sets up. That way I can keep all of my Opera profiles in sync.
- Bookmark tagging – Folders are nice for bookmarks, but tagging support would also be pretty cool. Of course, I would still want the ability to structure my bookmarks into folders.
- More site-specific settings – There are a lot of URL-specific and site-specific settings that you can adjust by pressing F12, but why can I not change the default font or zoom amount from that configuration screen?
- Hide the Menu Bar – Internet Explorer 7 ditched the Menu Bar, and did it in a nice way. I think Opera can do the same (or offer it as an option) so that I don’t have to get an “Opera Button” to do it for me.
- Duplicate bookmarks – If I’ve already bookmarked a site Opera should notify me. I’ve got hundreds of bookmarks and I’m sure that there are quite a few duplicates in the mix.
- Select multiple tabs – It would be awesome if I could Ctrl+click or Shift+click on tabs to select multiple ones at the same time. Then I could rearrange the selected tabs all at once or even close them.
- Right-click menu customizer – The only way to customize the right-click menu in Opera is to alter an INI file. There should be an easier interface for doing this. People probably wouldn’t use this often, but I’m sure they would use it.
- Google gadget support – There are a lot of cool Google gadgets that I would like to use as widgets, such as the one for Google Talk.
- Refresh bookmark favicons – The ability to refresh all of the favicons for my bookmarks with just a single click. It seems like a lot of my bookmarks don’t even have icons yet.
- RSS reader support – Opera has the built-in RSS reader, but I don’t use it. They need to make it easy to subscribe to feeds using an external reader much like how Firefox does it.
- Better developer tools – This is very much a lacking area for Opera…but I’ve heard that help is already on the way in an upcoming version.
It may seem like I’m picking on a lot of different areas that Opera is lacking, but there is one thing that you’ll notice isn’t on the list…performance! Opera brings down the house when it comes to performance even though it is already very feature-packed. I think that there are a few areas that they can improve on, and some unique features that they can throw in to lure some new users over from other browsers. After all, if users are willing to switch to the Firefox browser what’s to say they wouldn’t also be willing to switch to another browser like Opera?
–Who I’m Tagging–
So according to the rules I’m supposed to tag 5 people who will write about the top 5 things that they would like to see in Opera. Then they repeat the cycle, and it essentially becomes like one of those chain letters you receive in an email.
So who am I tagging? Well, one thing that Daniel really stressed in his article was that they want to hear some feedback from people who don’t use Opera as their default browser. I’m not exactly sure what browser everyone is using, but I do know some Firefox fans that I thought I would throw in. So without further ado here are the 5 people I am tagging:
- Kyle from Kyle’s Cove – He’s an enthusiast when it comes to technology, and I’m sure he can come up with some good suggestions.
- Firefox Extension Guru – He’s really on top of Mozilla-related browsers, so he would know some things Firefox users would like to see.
- Percy Cabello from Mozilla Links – If Mozilla has done it, he has written about it. Maybe he wouldn’t mind throwing in his Opera feedback!
- Brad Linder from Download Squad – He writes about all kinds of technology news and software, so this should be a natural thing for him.
- Pieter De Decker from the Offtopic Blog – He’s written several Linux-related pieces here on CyberNet, and I’m sure Opera would love to hear what a dedicated Linux user thinks would make the browser better.