Take a minute and think back across the line of smartphones in your life and their browsers. Come on! You should be able to do it pretty easily since that line can’t go back more than 10 years and it’s probably much shorter for most. They aren’t the fondest of memories. The lineage of mobile browsers stretches from the most basic of forms to the crunched down versions of desktop browsers. If you remove the traditional mouse from these browsers, the inherent functionality is lost and the user is limited.
I was intrigued when I heard that Opera was throwing the standard browser mindset out into street and going back to the drawing board. In my opinion they have always been the best of the small-share browsers, but never enough to get over the hump. That might have changed with this redesign. The result is their new Coast browser, which really streamlines the activity of Internet browsing on iOS devices.
At this point in time, we have apps for just about every type of specific function we would do on the Internet: banking, chatting, social media, news, etc. What Coast does is bring that app-like view to browsing. Your top viewed websites become panels on the home page and you can configure the number of tiles that show up. Clicking a tile opens up the site in full screen mode without borders or a URL bar … which is completely banished! There are tiny icons that get you back to the home page and allow you to browse through all of your open pages in the background. The browser also constantly updates the content for your favorite sites to keep you up to date, and it will even go as far as recommending other sites based on your history.
Swiping is the main driver in the browser and you’ll find it everywhere. To search for a new page or topic, you swipe down on the home screen. You swipe down on a page to reload it. To toggle between open pages you just swipe back and forth, and to close one of those pages you swipe it away into oblivion. And in one of the more imaginative redesigns, the back and forward buttons have been replaced with swiping left or right.
If you have an iOS device, I say check it out and see what it is all about. The age of making apps more streamlined and crisp is around to stay. You will start to see this kind of design more over time, and even eventually into homegrown enterprise apps. It just makes too much sense.