Opera 11.50 is on its way, it's in the beta stage for now and it should be launching any time now, but part of the team is already working on what's coming next and has now revealed the first glimpse, and snapshot, of project Featherweight, an attempt at freshening up and cleaning up the Opera UI. And it's already part of the upcoming Opera 11.50.
"Today we are excited to share results of the first phase of project Featherweight. Our goal has been to make Opera as light, bright and user-friendly as possible—without sacrificing power or flexibility," Jan Henrik Helmers from the Opera user experience and graphics team, announced.
"We want the user interface to match the speed of our rendering engine," he said. Opera makes sure to point out that this is only the first phase and that more surprises are on their way.
Even now, the changes are noticeable and quite welcomed, while it retains much of the features and functionality of the regular Opera UI, it does 'feel' lighter, which is the main goal of Featherweight.
"Some changes are highly visible, such as those to the address and status bars, but you will find that we have reworked much of the skin throughout—including a brand new icon set," Helmers explained.
Opera Featherweight features a brand new set of icons for the toolbar, very reminiscent of Chrome's, which, because they lack a border, make the bar look lighter and more spaced out. The Home and Fast Forward buttons are gone as well, contributing to the effect.
The status bar has probably seen the most changes, while all of the same features are there, again, they look lighter. The zoom slider is also more practical than the previous solution.
Opera has provided builds for Windows, Mac and Linux, though be warned that these are experimental builds which may be unstable. Still, the new UI it's already part of the latest beta update for Opera 11.50 which landed shortly after the Featherweight project was revealed.
Opera 11.50 Beta 1065 with Featherweight for Windows is available for download here.
Opera 11.50 Beta 1065 with Featherweight for Mac is available for download here.
Opera 11.50 Beta 1065 with Featherweight for Linux is available for download here.