Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ia Ora follow-up

I must confess I quite happy getting comments and suggestions on our new theme. Funny is to see nobody gave me known issues (well, Reinouts did give me an almost complete list three days ago :). I'm going to list all of them with some explanations :

  • thin border : initially, Helene (our graphist) wanted to drop completely window borders and uses instead shadows but since all those fancy (and often crashy) 3D effects provided by compiz/metacity-compositor won't be enabled on everybody's computer (and I know I don't want to replace metacity with something else), we did a 1 pixel border. Unfortunately, it had unwanted side effects : hard to resize window (you must grab the 1 pixel wide border) and hard to choose window when using Alt-Tab (metacity is using a black&white rectangle to highlight to be focused window, but since our border is 1 pixel, the rectangle is only white and hard to see)

  • stripes on progress bar : currently, white stripes are draw on full part of progressbar, but it causes unreadable text, we will try to draw stripes in light blue

  • slider : know issue. When I first saw its design, I had some doubts (also because I use trackballs which are less precise than mouse, which is good to test widget usability) and I discussed with Helene (our graphist) and we decided to go with it and wait for feedback. I'll see if we can wider it on both sides of 1 pixel (we don't want to clutter its design). We might also need to dark it a little bit when widget is insensitive (for instance, when totem is playing a unseekable stream). Slider center isn't very visible because we wanted it to be subtle, after all it isn't that important to detach it from the rest of the widget.

  • color schemes other than dark blue too light : we knew about it, we will try to dark them a little more

  • combobox popup text is black instead of white for the selected choice : I haven't the correct gtkrc class match to fix it yet (funnily, there is no problem with other widgets like optionmenu)

  • gtk warning about unparsable color for treeview odd/even color background : gtk+ is having some issues with symbolic colors (yes, Mitch, I know you like my bugs about symbolic colors ;)

  • wrong color on selected row and preferences dialog background when focus is lost (should be a light blue, not gray)

  • missing line for panel separator : this one is wanted because it tends to clutter interface. But don't worry, when moving mouse cursor over the separator, there is a color hightlight on the entire widget, not only on the three points.

  • about color selection : guess what, each color palette is supposed to be associated with one of our product (but all colors will be available for everybody) : light blue for Download (aka Free) version, yellow/orange for Discovery and One (liveCD), dark blue for Powerpack and Gray for PowerpackPlus (ie the professional oriented one). So, I guess we choose them correctly ;)

  • disabled / unmovable scrollbar are drawn blue : this is a gtk issue/bug (I haven't fill a bug report yet), since scrollbar should appear disabled when it can't be moved (open a new gnome-terminal window and move your mouse over scrollbar, it will highlight but I think it shouldn't). I'll try to workaround it in Ia Ora engine (I don't want to break other themes by patching gtk without upstream approval) but I don't know if it is possible.

  • about X in check box : both Alan and Thiago comments are very interesting but rewind a little. Using X in checkbox was already present in Galaxy and I never got any comments (bad or good) about it for three years it has been out in the wild. Moreover, for French people (and maybe other european dudes), when you fill a form, you always do a X (I only learn about the check mark when I saw some US made TV advertising broadcasted for France and at that time, the check mark was feeling not right for me). This is why we never noticed it. I did a fast review of various gtk themes available (as well as Apple and Microsoft UI guides) and only HighContrast is using a cross but for visual reasons (a blurry cross can still be recognize). Anyway, I'll discuss this point with Helene (and anyway, we also use a checkmark in menu, since a cross without any border would feel ackward there).
On a somehow related subject, I recently read (through #FF00AA) about an Office User Interface blog which is quite interesting (I haven't had time to read it entirely).