Opera GX wins Red Dot Award in Berlin – find out more about the design philosophy behind the world’s first gaming browser
Opera GX is the world’s first gaming browser. Built to match every gamer’s preferences and needs, it offers some groundbreaking features such as the CPU, RAM and Network Limiters. But above all, it looks and feels different. Today, we would like to tell you a bit more about the design philosophy that led to the Red Dot award we received tonight in Berlin for our browser’s UI/UX design.
Take a look at our team with the Red Dot certificates below:
Before we began working on the design of Opera GX and before the browser even got the name Opera GX, our design team started by defining what gaming is. The aim was to address it on many levels throughout our design.
Designing a browser for gamers
In our view, gaming can’t be defined as just playing games. It’s also about the social circles which evolve around particular games, as well as international events including E3 or Gamescom. Gaming also encompasses accessories and gear, as well as furniture, clothing and even movies.
Gaming also entails a particular style, aimed at making an impression, that’s why gaming gear takes some shapes and colors that are considered special or unusual or even enigmatic. Of course, having a keyboard, mousepad and mouse that light up a certain color isn’t necessary and some people make fun of it, but deep down, everyone desires such gear.
At the inception of this project, the design team was assigned with the task of creating something that looks both dark and beautiful, with colorful accents.
The design of Opera GX in detail: a browser as dark as the night sky
The accents in Opera GX are inspired by neon lights and how they break the darkness of the night. We looked at the streets of Tokyo and also sought inspiration in Cyberpunk and Blade Runner.
Complete darkness or black as a color doesn’t really exist in nature and it just doesn’t look great, which is why it couldn’t become the background of our browser. So where do neon lights look best? Against a night sky. That’s why we kept Opera GX in tones of navy blue and dark purple, just like the nighttime sky.
Opera GX comes in a multitude of colors, not just in Opera red
We started designing Opera GX with red in mind as the highlight. It’s our brand color and we quite like it, but we soon realized it couldn’t be the only one. Looking at beautiful gaming setups and gaming rooms, we knew we needed to let gamers adjust the browser to their preferred colors. That’s how we chose the 10 main colors, all of which correspond to the typical colors of neon lights.
We named them after the particular game elements that inspired them, like Potion Red or Mana Blue.
The color names aren’t the only place where we added references to gaming. Our browser versions are designated by Levels. As we are still in early access, we’ve also included special feedback mechanisms which let gamers rate the browser using hearts, similar to those in the life bar in the Legend of Zelda. Your feedback lets us shape the product based on your needs.
The design of the CPU, RAM and Network limiters, which could easily have been boring, was inspired by car speedometers. They give a feeling of absolute control over your browser’s resource use and let you tweak it to suit your needs.
Diagonal UI elements
A further design element you might notice are the canted edges of particular UI elements. It’s a recurring motif, present on the speed dial and in the tab corners, as well as on our web pages and product images. We were inspired by the shape of processors and memory cards, as well as microchips. Diagonal elements also make the look more dynamic.
Last but not least, Opera GX is full of sounds, created with the sound designer Ruben Rincon and the band Berlinist.
Reception of Opera GX
After we announced that we would soon be be releasing a gaming browser, we received the expected comments that it’s not something anyone needs. After we released Opera GX, however, the mindset shifted. The tech industry, as well as gamers, simply love it. Your comments on social media, during gaming conventions where we seek your advice, as well as via the feedback tool in Opera GX, show us that Opera GX addresses your needs. Opera GX is still in early access but we already celebrated one million downloads a few weeks ago, and we appreciate every single one of them. Thank you.
Right now, we are incredibly happy the design that we’ve invested so much thought and effort into has been recognized by the international jury of the Red Dot Award for communication design. We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post. Make sure to give Opera GX a try.