One of the biggest usability issues on today's Internet are scrolling web pages. Browsers automatically add scrollbars to web pages if the contents exceed the vertical or horizontal display limitations of the window or computer screen. This scrolling breaks the readability of a web page significantly. Users who scroll need to locate the text position where they stopped reading afterwards. Most Internet users use headlines, paragraphs or other visible elements on a page as markers for that.
Opera Reader is an experimental Opera version that does away with all the scrolling on the Internet. It's premise is to display all contents of a website directly on the screen. It basically breaks down a website into pages that are displayed just like the pages of a book. The developers have used a scroll and book comparison to highlight the differences. Scrolls are like standard websites that go on and on until the content ends, while books use pages that offer several advantages over scrolls.
Opera Reader turns scrolls (aka scrolling web pages) into books (aka paged web pages). Whenever you open a compatible web page in Opera Reader, you will notice that all of its contents are displayed on the screen without horizontal or vertical scrollbars. Here is how a compatible page looks in the standard Opera browser and in Opera Reader.
The core difference is the missing scrollbar. Opera Reader users can use the mouse to flip pages. Alternatives including using the keyboard (left and right) or gestures on touch enabled devices.
Separating a website into pages does not reduce the browser's functionality at all. It is still possible to search, print or work with the whole web page like it would be in a standard version of Opera.
The Opera team has published a few examples on the Opera Reader website. This includes a basic newspaper, the novels Oliver Twist and Alice in Wonderland and a sample Wikipedia page.
The biggest issue with Opera Reader in its current form is that websites need to add specific CSS3 code to support the feature. Opera needs to come up with a way to automate the processing of web pages in Opera Reader. If the company manages to do that, it could change the way we read contents on the web forever.
Opera Reader is currently available as a preview version for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android devices. Interested users can download the preview release from the official project website over at Opera. (via)
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.