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Author Topic: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum  (Read 3427 times)

Paul Keith

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REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« on: January 17, 2009, 04:05:40 AM »
I know some people here have some bad experiences with Opera's forum and it can feel like shouting at a wall but I was thinking if maybe you guys could add some outsider's input (both positive and negative) to this topic I made in Opera just to jump start it a bit.

Here's the link: http://my.opera.com/...ndpost.pl?id=2866781

Here's the copy and paste version of the contents in the link:

Re-visiting the concept of Opera-Lite (discussion topic, not a suggestion)

Quote
Hey everyone. It's been awhile.

I know it's an old issue and even though I haven't been on this forum in a while, I bet most Opera users feel this is set in stone. I'm not really here to force the issue but rather re-open interest in it and (hopefully) if there's still people interested in this, a much clearer wish-list can be made.

I don't know if anyone knew since I didn't participate in the threads of the past nor was I active in the forum but I wasn't for the concept of an Opera-lite and I did agree with many who sided against it stating that Opera's resources could be better focused elsewhere. I still have the same opinion so what changed?

PrevX Edge and Google Chrome.

One thing I can say about Google Chrome is that I was quite surprised by the reception it got even though I felt it did alot of things on the user interface and feature introduction side that I always wanted Opera to have and I think I suggested before. Not exactly the same because as I said, I wasn't for Opera lite but I did make a topic before (if I'm not mistaken) suggesting that Opera do the following:

1) Minimalistic interface by default and take advantage of Opera's ability to present itself differently with multiple toolbar/mouse settings by providing the classic interface, a FF interface and an IE7 interface. I didn't exactly have Chrome's interface in mind but I wanted a default interface that has another button that rather than hide all toolbars through fullscreen, hid everything but the menu bar and re-enabled it by default.

2) Better documentation that showed how Opera's MDI works (pre-Chrome, FF didn't really market this)

3) Highlight Opera's hidden features while keeping it un-obstructed from a user's PoV (better interface again)

Well hindsight is twenty-twenty and I'm sure most hardcore browser fans (whom probably are most of Opera users) would say that Chrome is overrated and the reason for it's marketing was because it's from Google, the media darling and the minimalistic interface was due to Chrome's lack of features.

I don't disagree with that but I'd just like to insert the possibility that maybe Chrome also got more marketshare because Chrome understood what it wanted people to have where as Opera's desktop focus had seemed to be to try and maintain it's existence on the desktop while creating a business from it's mobile market.

I didn't mean to make it sound negative and this isn't so much a criticism of Opera's general marketing as it is tied with Opera's way of marketing it's interface quirks. What I'm trying to say is that maybe Chrome also got a boost because when it showcased it's MDI, it emphasized that it was there. Not just because it was fast but that from both the marketing and interface perception, it was something that was convenient for casual users. (power users probably understand this and wasn't quite impressed)

To add to this, they used this to propel the feel that Chrome was "light" and they did this with a simple illusion that Chrome's way of inserting tabs to a window looked more like a light on resources box being moved to it's own frame or in front or behind another boxed thingy with a tabbed interface. In that sense if you were a person who didn't know of MDI before, Chrome made you feel that even if you didn't need it, you still had a light on resources browser. It connected the interface design with the marketing intent rather than separated it after the product/feature was released.

From a stability point of view, it was riskier. From a new product though, it made quite a statement because it allowed the hype for it's feature to brew while kept it ambiguous and un-important for power users that it took awhile before it sunk in for Firefox users to copy it and by that time, Chrome had generated enough interest that people not only knew but respected that Chrome influenced Firefox to change it's course or that Firefox was stealing Chrome's features and that Chrome was good enough.

Many will point out that Chrome's release wasn't picture perfect and rosy like I'm painting it and they would be right. Privacy issues, lack of extension support, buggy stuff. I'm not denying this but I'd like to suggest that the fact that Chrome is still generating interest today and have even retained marketshare without providing anything new is a testament to how well Chrome was introduced rather than the reverse idea that Chrome did so poorly at launch and it was only the Google name that got it here. To cite proofs, I'd like to point out how both Chromium and IRON don't have as much recognition as Chrome despite Chromium also being under the Google banner.

Anyways, this first part isn't so much to criticize everything Opera and say "they should have listened to me or other users" (Chrome certainly didn't seem like it did) or how great Google is at generating interest for products but just to point out that Chrome appeared to have approached things where both the marketer, the developer and the userbase interaction seemed to be in line to create a finished impression of the product.

1) The marketer seemed to have understood what was needed to create rising interest for Chrome because they both introduced features that didn't generate a want with most people interested in concept ideas but enough to create interest in following Chrome's development.

2) The developer side seemed to have understood what the userbase might want as a single purpose browser not only from a usability point of view but from a differentiating from others in the market point of view.

3) The userbase interaction seemed to be considered as Chrome's release features peaked enough curiosity in a single pack that even with all the power users crying "no extensions!" "FIrefox can do more!" "Opera can do more!", few really cared at that point. Chrome wasn't fabulous but it delivered and that was good enough

Even if you disagree with all this, can you deny the fact that if Chrome would get dropped by Google tomorrow that it generated more progressive interest in it's capabilities than any new Opera versions that got released? I'm not talking about launch interest, I'm talking about post-launch interest maintenance. Even right now, Chrome is pretty much dead as far as bringing in new features from it's launch yet it still baffles power users as to what Chrome users sees in it and the Chrome users who stuck with it, just use it.

Meanwhile even though Opera's default interface is now darker *cough* flashier and it did a good job of adding a + besides a tab (which seems most FF users wanted compared to the beta way, FF did it), it had to do so at the price of annoying it's current user base by switching better keyboard shortcuts in favor of something more similar to Firefox's default and how big of an increase did it get? Ehh...not much.

This doesn't mean Opera 10 can't steal the thunder yet. It does however hint that Opera still seems to be trying to play catch-up rather than forge ahead with attracting casual users.

Ok, so where does PrevX Edge come into play?

Well if you haven't been monitoring Wilders Forums, you might not know anything about it.

It is however stealthily gaining interest in the forum. This shouldn't surprise many people since Wilders is known for trying anything new security related. What is surprising is how PrevX is getting discussed in the forums. This isn't just some person saying the new PrevX Edge is great and works well. It actually has some members talking about what's good/bad/useless about it. In essence, it is creating interest for it's new product outside of it's main turf.

Now I'm not a marketing expert but I think the blame can be pointed out to one culprit: branding.

PrevX 2 according to some users was good but if you're a casual surfer like me, chances are you wouldn't have heard much about it compared to the main staples of AV products. PrevX Edge has seemingly gotten people interested about it even though people didn't pay much attention to PrevX 2 anymore.

That much isn't surprising. New products get talked about.

What's surprising is the direction and reasoning PrevX are saying which are getting them props from even the most scrutinous of users.

See, Edge didn't just change 1 or 2 things to PrevX 2. It actually took out some features from PrevX 2 that expert power users wanted while improved upon the simplicity of it's core interface and pressed a reset button that allowed them to re-invigorate interest in the application. In that sense, it didn't just feel like PrevX Edge was a new product that got updated, it felt that even PrevX developers attitude got updated to appeal and answer to not only it's old userbase but to new people that might fit under it's core userbase. Simply put, PrevX changed it's branding.

Now security apps and browsers are obviously different and many will say they are too different to be compared together and I'm not trying to do that. Instead, what I'm trying to say is that Opera's branding has gotten so poor that to non-Opera users, they're not interested in it.

Sure, they see new skins. Sure, they hear of new shortcuts and new features. Sure, they are excited by the changes and are already thinking of new ways to better market Opera BUT...

Opera still seems to be the same. It doesn't give you that new vibe. If anything, the changes seems to be alienating the old users who wanted an alternative browser to Gecko/Firefox browsers

Why is this? I can't answer that for you. Nor for me.

I don't want Opera to always stay the same because it got where it is because it introduced new features that were never seen before.

Yet, I don't want Opera to be so different that it's default feel is like using Firefox with no extensions but with slightly better speed. (That casuals won't notice since they don't open lots of tabs)

Instead, I want an Opera that didn't drop it's ad AFTER Firefox already made a foot hold in the marketplace.

I don't want an Opera that got sync capabilities AFTER Foxmarks is well known.

I don't want an Opera with Widgets AFTER Firefox had established a large collection of extensions already.

It's not just what I want, I'm just trying to point out some of the things I see that are still reminding people that they are using "Opera" the brand that cries "complicated" in the browser marketshare. (and not all of them are bad)

1) Panels - I like panels. I like having one place to see Notes. I like having one place to see Transfers. I like how easy it is to move tabs with the Window panel. I'm not saying Opera should remove panels. I just think that maybe Opera should release a panel-less version that actually tries to improve on it's notetaking capabilities and it's torrent capabilities (if they want) and their tab moving MDI ease capabilities.

Yes, I'm saying Opera shouldn't go backwards and settle for less features that Opera fanboys would point out to as being easily hidden if you don't want it to. I'm saying Opera should forge ahead but maybe it's time it re-branded a Lite version that actually can be a breeding ground for them to test and introduce new features casual user might appreciate without the pressure of it having to flow with the suite. Yes, that's what alphas and betas are for but this isn't just a case of a new feature. It's also about branding and marketing at this point.

If you have a Lite version that introduce and removes features, people tend to appreciate both the new features and demand the old features that were in the full "Opera"-branded version of the browser. This creates appreciation in the new userbase for start bars, bookmark stars and a whole other lists while they're there rather than when it's gone and it's too late to get them back and people are rationalizing how great the new features are compared to the old and thus killing demand

2) More custom search/toolbars/mouse settings/skins/greasemonkey pre-inserted and less default user interface - Yes, asking in the forum works but do they help you sell and make your first impression customer appreciate the way Opera handles this? No, it doesn't. This could also usher in an appreciation for Firefox's way of displaying add-ons. Yes, they aren't add-ons but it still doesn't mean it doesn't become easier to discover what special features a browser have pre-installed. Not only will it help in reviews but it will also generate interest in existing Opera features and help motivate people to contribute to Opera. (for the chance to get into the default choice of features) It's basically a feature cheatsheet for the casual users.

3) No to flashy stuff - Yes, power users may love them but it just confuses casual users and distracts them from more important Opera features. No Widgets (or if you do, add the good ones by default and leave it at that), No cascading, tiling, dancing tabs that highlight what MDI is capable of (if casual users are to be expected to see Opera as a "focused on browsing" browser, then they shouldn't be risked seeing eye candy when they try to explore instead of actual browser functionality), No more unnecessary style sheets (Yes, contrasts are great but outside of these, what do most casuals see except a browser that changed their "magic window to the internetz")

Again, to clarify, these aren't so much suggestions as much as me trying to give the impression that there are ways Opera can be made to feel different without changing it's looks or moving things around. If anything the Ribbon has taught us (as much as I hate it), it's that hiding and showing things can go a long way more than just packaging and giving users a choice to configure a software to their preference.

That's also why I'm saying Opera-lite. I don't want these features removed. I'm just trying to create an extreme contrast so that I can provide a less mainstream but might possibly be more valid rationale for why Opera is not breaking ground as much as Firefox and Chrome. This doesn't mean I'm right...or that I'm wrong. Just that maybe as a community, it's time to consider this and that life isn't just always "Opera fails at marketing" or "If websites fixed themselves for Opera, people will appreciate it" or "If Opera hid some features, that alone would not scare users away and they would come flocking by"

zridling

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2009, 05:45:20 AM »
Paul, could you summarize this in one paragraph? My reading time is limited today; too many tasks!

Paul Keith

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2009, 07:04:33 AM »
zridling, yeah the summary is on the topic title. I tend to write things where I try to introduce the core idea and then move on from there. (Although as I said in a reply to this topic, I kinda just typed this one up and see what kind of idea went out)

This is the one paragraph summary:

At it's core, it's re-opening a discussion about Opera-lite. A former popular thread in the forums about creating a Lite version of Opera.

The rest below are just explanations for why the one paragraph summary is not possible and how the title already achieved that summary more than any one paragraph can.

I then explained why I was against the idea but why I'm starting to have second thoughts and maybe there's something to having it right now.

I pointed out two applications' current strategy that made me change my mind. Google Chrome and PrevX Edge.

The rest are just my reasons and explanations as to why I'm not necro-posting an old suggestion thread but rather trying to bring a different light after recent events with these two applications and many users' reaction to both applications' strategy in introducing their products. (from my perspective)

I don't really know how to shorten it anymore than that. As you can see, even this summarized version is longer than the topic title but still just explained the intent of the topic title. It's really the details and background that separates the thread from the old pro/con reasons for a lite version of Opera.

If you took those out, 99% of the discussion will just go back to how the old threads were where users say "Yeah, good idea!" and "No!!! Waste of resources. Bad idea!"

but this thread is not about that. It's about all the little things that happened that changed the course of both my opinion and the case for and against this old thread. It's about the way PrevX Edge is connecting to it's users from it's old model. It's about how Chrome connected to it's users regardless of many power users disagreeing with it's direction. Unfortunately, you still need to read the whole thread for that.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 07:07:29 AM by Paul Keith »

fenixproductions

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2009, 08:41:08 AM »
2Paul Keith
Nice post!

I share your opinion but I afraid that:
1. it's too late,
2. they have no guts to do something.

I've been using Opera since 6.x versions and AFAIR it always was in shadows. Sadly: you might get the feeling that some users are proud to have their browser unknown.

I knew Mozilla Suite back then, which was far better than first Fx (Firebird) versions but I remember how in no time popularity changed. Aggressive strategy gave good results: starting with more and more "Get Firefox" (it was so annoying for me that I had it blocked in UserCSS), through "This web page is best to be viewed in Firefox" and "IE hatred"... ending with few dirty tricks like "Crash IE project" (even sponsored by Google for a while).

All of that made people know about Firefox. Big scale strategy Opera should take long ago but they never did. Now it's the time that even if they do something, people will recognize that as copying other browsers. It is true that Opera invented tab browsing or had adds blocking for years but others made it famous. It is true that Opera is always trying to give new advanced features which they want to simplify but the way they do so is wrong. They they overdo that. Nice example is synchronisation tool.


I will be glad if your article meets nice responce but... I doubt it change something in Opera corporation :(
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 08:42:59 AM by fenixproductions »

fenixproductions

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2009, 09:13:02 AM »
Hm... Looks like they have guts (after all) to do ridiculous things:
http://www.opera.com...releases/2009/01/17/

Paul Keith

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2009, 11:04:44 AM »
fenixproductions, can you explain to me how that link is relevant to this thread?

As far as I know, it's an old thread who's update isn't so much relevant to what was previously written about it and who's issue was more about the way IE allows for MS to monopolize the OS rather than anything about Opera having a lite version.

Lashiec

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2009, 12:23:18 PM »
If I understand correctly, what you're proposing sounds similar to what an Opera employee (can't remember who) proposed in one of those "Five things I like to see in Opera" meme that went around a while ago (it should be noted that many of the things proposed there ended up in the browser, so it's not that Opera Software does not listen) that Opera should add a robust extension system, cut off some fat from the browser, and let those removed features live a second life as an extension, essentially offloading development costs to the community, which would continue to maintain and develop (important) the feature, while Opera Software focus in the browser core.

One of the things that you mention ("hiding" features) is probably being considered at Opera, or even implemented. It's a given that Opera 10 will have a redesigned GUI, and not just a simply new theme, so probably part of it will involve increasing the usability shifting menus around, and making a new "Preferences" screen (or so I hope).

I said it other times that we have discussed Opera in DC (which must be the most discussed non-DC app around here :D): Opera Software should fix some of its ways, but in order. First, and above all, is to fix Opera 9.5, which while is still a great release, it has many broken things that make it appear less good than what it is. Second, it's to fix many of the old issues that have been reported to the bugtracker years ago, and still persist in the browser (and arise from time to time in the Opera forums or the Desktop Team blog). With all of that fixed, they should focus into what I perceive are the most pressing issues judging from would-be Opera users: lack of extensions and marketing.

As you, I definitely think Opera needs a huge push to market the browser much better than what it's doing now. The primary problem in Opera perception to the public is that most ignore the browser as a whole, for various reasons. Even when the media focus on it, you can tell a veil of ignorance (not the right word, but I can't come up with another right now) in the reports, as it's the first time they ever touched the browser. As an example, the link that fenix posts above about the EU investigating MS for bundling IE with Windows (that would be material for another thread) was reported in the newspaper I usually read as a posible benefit for the competition of IE, like Firefox and Google Chrome. Nothing was said about Opera or Opera Software, despite filing the complaint (then again, the quality of reporting in this particular newspaper has been going downhill for a while).

The problem is how to do it right, and if they're willing to do it. Doing it the Firefox-way it's not really a nice option, because at its heyday it acquired a religion-like pushing, and in certain of its current initiatives still feels like that, and you risk alienating many would-be users, and although it ended up working in the long run, it would be preferable to do it in a nicer way (I ignore how, I'm not a marketeer :P). But Opera Software, despite taking some steps towards this in recent years, it still does not seem ready to do the big-push.

Also, I would like to do some remarks over some of your opinions there: Chrome does not really have a bigger marketshare than Opera yet, it may seem like that because of Net Applications numbers, but those are U.S. based AFAIK, and not really trustable. xiti, for example, which measures browsers market share in Europe, gives a whole different set of numbers. Besides, Google quotes a installed user base of 10 million and Opera around 30 million. Also, Chrome relies on the Google brand first, and its technical merits and lightweight design second.

Probably Google also played a part in when to drop the ads in the browser. Opera Sync is far more capable than Foxmarks, although the initial feature set was similar. And Widgets are not extensions by a LONG shot, perhaps they were inspired by them, but at best they're a poor imitation. To this day I still can't find what's the reason behind their existence, perhaps the Widget specification they submitted to the W3C will make them more powerful with time and thus more interesting, but so far I don't really care about them existing or not.

urlwolf

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2009, 12:42:29 PM »
Just a quick note: I have complained a lot before about Opera, but never found a viable solution.
For the last two weeks I have lived in seamonkey. I'm preparing a long doc explaining how I solved all the issues to set up seamonkey just right.

In summary: seamonkey 2.0a2 rocks.

Lashiec

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2009, 12:46:43 PM »
SeaMonkey? Now that's an unexpected solution :). I am eager to read about your experiences, as it's been a long time since I used the old Mozilla.

Paul Keith

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Re: REQUEST: Add input to a topic I made in Opera's forum
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2009, 01:53:19 PM »
Yeah, SeaMonkey has always been the popular alternative Desktop Suite to Opera.

I'm also curious what you did because I know many who don't dwelve into the details of Opera think SeaMonkey is a good alternative to Opera but I found that often times, it's because they don't know or appreciate Opera's more hidden features and what they liked about SeaMonkey can also be pretty much found in IE shells like Maxthon pre-installed. (except of course they can feel comforted that SM has no association with that bile browser called Internet Exploder)

Sorry if I come off as an Opera elitist. Really I'm just a casual user who happens to find SeaMonkey too limiting when I tried it and who feels that Deer Park would have stolen the project's thunder if it were more stable and available today.