Saturday, September 09, 2006

Opera and User Constructed Browsing

A discussion and suggestions for the Opera UI ...

"The idea of user constructed browsing has been around as long as browsers, but I first saw it defined by Jakob Nielson in his Jan 2005 "AlertBox" article on Reviving HyperText as:

"..any structure that's built by the user and added on top of existing hypertext."

Quite simply, allowing the user the power to create their own information to give context and meaning to the authors webpage. For example- you're searching Craigslist for a sofa, each page you visit, you can jot a note down that you only see next time you come back to that couch: "Called this guy on Monday, willing to help me move it" or "Played phone tag with this guy, sounds like a jerk." You have your own research and data mixed in with whatever is showing up there on Craigslist. Where I would *love* to use something like this is on every single login page I've ever seen. You could use it as your own "password reminder" and jot a note down like "Password: My first dog's name with my son's b-day" or something like that that. Mixing the web page data with your own.

Opera, of course, already has a gambit of features that fall into this category. We'll touch a few briefly to give you an idea of what I'm talking about...

- Notes- It's been around a long time, and the user community has tried to extend this idea. It's the first thing that comes to mind when you read Nielson's and Scott Berkun's article on doing research and annotating web pages. I use the Notes for researching, but the biggest draw it has for me is the "password reminder" thing I mentioned above.

- UserJS- Ad Blocking et. all- Modify the actual content on the webpage. Don't like how google image search lays out the webpage? Change it with a userjs file to match the way you think.

- Bookmarks- Extends beyond the normal implementation by allowing us to create "nicknames" which we can use to match the bookmark up with our way of thinking. So I can just type "bank" in my address bar and get *my* bank, regardless of where it happens to be.

- User Defined Style Sheets- Allows users to take the existing page, and use their own stylesheets to make

- Site Preferences- Block popups, identify as, etc. all let you tailor your experience to the way you'd like it to be."   (Continued via Minnesota Opera User Group)   [Usability Resources]

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