In the early days of the Web, the web pages described the content and its structure, while the layout was decided by the browser. This allowed for content to be displayed on a lot of different devices, including text-only devices and devices without colour screens. This also opened up for the content display to adapt to the needs of the user.
At Opera, we grasped this opportunity with both hands. Clearly, if the user needed print that was 4x bigger and with a black background and green text, that is what we should show. However, not everyone agreed. I remember being at one of the early conferences and being threatened with legal action unless we displayed the content 100% the same way as it was shown by the leading competitor, which I believe was Mosaic at the time. If the print was too small to read, that was the user’s problem. We thought differently and we have always believed that adapting to the user´s needs is what we should do, both at Opera in the early days and now at Vivaldi.
For me doing the best to adapt to the user’s needs is a given. My background is in computer science and usability, but I’ve also been exposed to usability from early on, given that my father’s research focus as a professor in Psychology was on children with disabilities. For many people, the size of the letters and the input methods available can be the difference between being able to use the Internet or not at all. We should strive to adapt to those needs and IMHO what we do for them, we do for us all.
Even in the first versions of Opera, we had keyboard shortcuts, single keyboard shortcuts, and scaling of content. It took years before other browsers had zoom like ours.
We have brought this into Vivaldi as well. We have the keyboard shortcuts, the single keyboard shortcuts, spatial navigation, and many more accessibility features. The more you study Vivaldi, the more you will find.
Vivaldi is about customization. It’s about providing a million different ways to do things, so you can get what you want out of it as a user. We provide the functionality in the browser so that you can tailor it to your requirements.
Web accessibility got broken partly because of the direction the web took – focusing on how things should look, not the underlying functionality. We’ve been seeing a lot of dynamic content and that doesn’t scale as nicely.
Limiting the ability to tailor products to your requirements has been a constant trend. I believe in going the other direction – we adapt to your requirements. In some cases, those requirements are something that’s non-negotiable.