Opera calls Coast the browser that should have come with the iPad. In designing one from the ground up, the company decided to do away with staples of traditional browsers–including back and forward buttons, a URL field, tabs, and bookmarks–in favor of a gesture-based experience to complement Apple’s tablet.
When approaching this project, Huib Kleinhout, Opera’s head of Coast, asked why there was a back button in iPad browsers. “The iPad is, after all, designed for touch. You swipe, drag, and use gestures to move around,” he said on the Coast website. While websites and apps feature new ways of interacting, he said, “browsers have been stuck in a keyboard-and-mouse world.”
In addition to focusing on swipe gestures and animations, Kleinhout decided to simplify the home screen, boiling it down to three components: a search and address field, a speed-dial grid with easily accessible websites, and recently opened sites.
Because Coast, named for the lean-back browsing experience, doesn’t display a URL field at the top of the screen, users instead swipe down for the search and address field. While typing a search query, the browser will show suggested sites on the right and keywords above the text entry, both of which the user can select. The displayed web pages have two icons on the bottom to return to the home screen and show recent sites visited. When accessing recent sites, users can swipe between different open pages and can close a site by pushing it up.