Vivaldi is a new browser. You can download it yourself, right now (opens in new tab) – the team has released Technical Preview 2. The code will run across Windows, Linux and Mac.
Vivaldi, in part, is a child of Opera. Not technically, more philosophically. It was born because it's makers – many of whom worked for Opera – felt their once cherished browser had lost its way. Vivaldi is their answer.
We caught up with Atle Mo, a Designer at Vivaldi and set out to discover Vivaldi's story and what the team hopes to acheive.
Why do we need another browser?
Not everyone needs a new browser, but there is a large group of people out there who want more control of their own browsing experience. Those people are our audience.
Allthough you could say the same about almost anything; why do we need so many different car brands? They all take you from A to B. It's a matter of taste and preference, and how you want the ride to be.
And the name Vivaldi, what's behind it?
Antonio, the little red guy. And of course we wanted a name that is short, international and easy to spell.
Is it true that about half the Vivaldi team used to work at Opera?
Maybe not half, but a lot of us. I'm personally not one of the ex-Opera people, so I can't compare this to how it was working for Opera. But coming from an agency background, what I love about working here is the immense ownership you get to the product.
Waking up every morning working on something you truly believe in, and use personally on daily basis - that's a great feeling. Getting feedback from people who use your product is immensely more rewarding than designing some short lived campaign.
Are you, as the headlines have read, looking to take on Google, Mozilla and Microsoft?
No, not at all. We're aiming for a very small percentage of the market. If we create a product with an even wider appeal, that's just an added bonus.
So, whom are you targetting?
Power users. Those who want more from their browser than what you currently find in the browser market. As the internet is a global utility we haven't set ourselves any demographic boundaries.
What do you think the these established browser player are missing?
Personality. It's gone too far in the way it's all simplified and cleaned up. I mean, I'm all for a clean and modern interface, but that does not mean you can't pack in tons of useful features in there. It's just a bit more work to make it look good.
Are you developing your own engine?
What's new or unique in the Vivaldi interface?
The way you can go from one extreme to the other. If you enjoy an interface with no intrusive elements, you can clean it up and show only the most needed toolbars, but still have all the powerful features available through simple shortcuts.
Or, if you prefer everything exposed and readily available, you simply adapt the interface to suit your needs. I'd say the most unique thing about our interface is the way everything is subject to your preference. You put what you need where you want it, and it just works.
I also like to add playful little details every now and then, like the "add bookmark" animation we have. It's quite extravagant compared to any other browser – there's even a tiny particle system going off inside that 16px icon – although you can hardly see it, I think it makes the experience more fun and rewarding.
From a designer's perspective, what's exciting about Vivaldi?
Creating a solid and coherent UI with such a flexible product is a really fun challenge. We're trying to make it feel natural and familiar – but at the same time we want to push boundaries and delight the users with a great experience.
We're quite different than the other browsers on the market with the adaptive UI, coloring the browser based on the site you visit. This will be taken even further in future updates, where you can completely customize your own UI, down to every single detail.
And being built with web technology, it's very easy for us to experiment with new directions and concepts and have it implemented much faster than what you could do with traditional software development. As a designer, this freedom to move fast and try new directions is immensely rewarding, and get's us to a higher level of innovation at a lower cost.
Where can we start learning and about
When can we expect a final release?
I can't give you an exact date, but I can tell you sooner rather than later. We're working really hard to get all the features in, while at the same time listening to our users and shaping the product together.
Words: Martin Cooper
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