One of the problems many people find with Opera (myself included) is that it doesn't feel very Mac like. This is the unfortunate side effect of having such a cross platform product, that can be ported from anything from the Mac to a mobile via the Wii. It is certainly not a problem we face alone, but there is certainly room for improvement. There are people at Opera who are passionate about both the Mac and our product, such as Joen our Mac test manager, who work hard to get Mac issues fixed, but I'd like to share a few pointers and downloads to improve the experience in the current release.
Anyone who uses Opera on Mac knows how out of place our icon looks on the dock, especially with that hi-lighted shadow that bounces with the O on loading, and how it makes the icon look right aligned. While I'm not personally a fan of using the company logo as an icon, help is at hand to make it more aqua-fied. This thread on the MyOpera forums includes an updated icon that can be used to replace the current one. You don't need much technical knowledge to install it. Just download this file to your Mac, find your Opera install, and right click selecting show Package Contents. From there navigate to the Resources directory and drop the new icon into the folder. Once you restart Opera, the new icon will be in place. I think it looks like it is part of the Microsoft Office for Mac icon set with this icon. Now IE:Mac doesn't exist now, I'm sure we'd be happy for MS to distribute us with Office too
With the icon fixed, it is time to move on the the browser itself. I don't think that the current icons fit in too well with the Mac interface, so the first thing to do is to hunt down a new skin, which is easier said than done. The skin I selected, Entr'acte, by Dustin Wilson. I actually found this by accident when looking for Opera on Flickr, as i isn't in the top skins list. My only main gripe about this skin is that is steals the Transmit icon for transfers.
After installing the skin, I re-aranged things to make it cleaner and more Mac like. Firstly, I fixed the tab bar, which I feel is in the wrong place. To do this I had to do a bit of a hack. I enabled the Main bar from View -> Toolbars, and disabled the Address Bar. The icons from the Address bar can then be added to the Main bar, and the current icons can be removed. I like a clean look, so I only put on the forward, back, refresh, address field and the Google search field. I also added a home button and the panels button, as on Mac there is no easy way to show panels without going to the view menu or knowing short cuts. There is not enough white space between elements such as the search bar and the address bar, so I added a fixed spacer between these, before the address field and after the search field. Finally, I don't like how much space the New Tab icon takes up, so I dragged it to the right hand side, next to the waste bin, where it doesn't include text.
A screen shot of the finished result can be found here.
The finished result is far from perfect. The fixed spacers create too big spaces, but this is an improvement on no space at all. The rounded caps of the search field are not the correct shape. It would be nice if the address bar could be above the tab bar without hacks, and I'd love it if it was possible to have a unified toolbar, that was introduced in Tiger. Just these four changes would make the interface look more professional. I'd also like icons in the preferences toolbar, and to use the correct "about" window. While improvements can still be made, these few changes make Opera ft in much better. Let me know if you have any extra tips.