Opera has a major design change coming in its next web browser release, and it’s available now in a developer preview. Dubbed R3 for “Reborn 3,” the next version of Opera will feature a redefined look and feel, plus new functionality.
“We believe a browser should provide such a frame for the web,” Opera’s Joanna Czajka writes in what seems like a familiar refrain about this type of application. “With R3, we put web content at center stage. We’ve removed dividing lines between sections so you can browse without borders and unhindered by unnecessary distractions. And, just as no one frame is effective for every picture or in every lighting, we’ve given the browser two distinct themes, light and dark.”
The new design is indeed modern-looking. And its sharp edges stand in, ahem, sharp contrast to the curved borders we now see in Google Chrome, the most popular web browser. Opera says that its design changes were inspired by photography, where the new light theme is bright and clean and the new dark theme is elegant and focused.
I like the look. And I like Opera’s notion that a web browser should be a minimalist application, visually.
“Minimalism is more than a look; it serves a specific purpose,” Czajka says. It’s easy to achieve a minimalist design by stripping down features, resulting in a cleaner looking but less functional browser. This was not our goal with R3 … What we’ve done with R3 is to refine our features and place them in a way that they are fully accessible without getting in your way. Our vision of minimalism is such that your browser is more functional for your daily use, not less.”
If you’re interested in checking out the new design, and Opera R3’s other new features, like its integrated crypto-wallet, you can download the developer release using the links below. Opera expects to ship R3 sometime in March.
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