I use a bunch of different Web browsers — Opera, Camino, Firefox (or lately the Shiretoko Intel-optimized build of Firefox), Safari, Netscape 9 on my OS 10.4 machines, and iCab — but my favorite continues to be Opera. I’m specifically using the Alpha Turbo 10 version, which is far and away the fastest browser on my dialup connection, so long as some degradation in image resolution is tolerable, which it usually is.
However, the default Mac user interface theme for Opera, generically named “Macintosh Native,” is a bit drab and boring, meaning there is a lot of battleship gray, er, “Platinum.” It’s an improvement over the execrable “Brushed Metal” UI theme of unpleasant memory, but still dull and uninspiring. It’s not quite as enervating as Safari’s UI theme, which just about puts me to sleep, but still no feast for the eyes.
Happily, Opera is exceptionally simple to re-skin, with a vast selection of alternate UI themes available for quick downloading, allowing you to customize the look of the browser with literally a simple click of a button.
My current favorite Opera skin is “Opera Small with SuperNova SpeedDial” by DarK_007, which is basically an Opera 9.5 default skin (not the Macintosh Native one) with some modifications. The tab bar is a little smaller — there is much more color in a shade of midnight blue that particularly appeals to me, a likewise dark blue scrollbar which stands out nicely, and a spectacular blue supernova burst background for the Opera Speed Dial window, the stock version of which has been looking kinda drab lately compared with Safari 4’s Top Sites implementation of the corresponding function — providing an at-a-glance preview of your favorite web sites when you open a new tab or browser window.
Opera Small with SuperNova SpeedDial has also recently been updated for Opera 10 turbo. However, it’s just one that particularly appeals to me out of dozens of attractive Opera skins available.
The Opera skins page conveniently lets you browse skins by a variety of category parameters, including color, OS Integration, other software, and so forth. When you find one you think you like, just press the download button, and Opera will automatically install the skin. You can also save skin files to your hard drive without installing them.
If you’re creatively inclined, there’s a tutorial by Lars Kleinschmidt on learning how to make your own skin for the Opera browser, which you can upload and share with the Opera Community.