5:49 AM

Active VS inactive part II

posted under by Pinheiro | Edit This
Need some feed back on some variations I been working on oxygen windeco.
click on the image for a more contextual image.

Right now my favorites are 3 (little changes from how it looks now)
and 4 ( flat background and inverted line)

2 (no RGB chages) might be interesting but I'm not sure it will work on most color variation also kills a bit the one slab look.

5 is really simply but removes the buttons not sure its good idea

1 ..... I simply don't like (not sure what it is doing there :) )

Also made some modifications to active state extra shine on top more contrast in dividing line and color on the buttons symbols.

Opinions, flames, etc wellcome


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JLP said...

My favourites are for active the one without colored buttons (like it is now) and for inactive 4.

Faded515 said...

I quite like number 4.

Anonymous said...

I like 4 the most.
3 is ok, too.
I agree with 1, and do not like 2.
In my opinion, 5 is not a good solution, because I often close/maximise/... a window when it is inactive.

Counting from the top, i prefer the third one as i think this is the one which best represents an inactive state.


industrie13 said...

yep, you're right: the active one with more contrast is very well done.

I guess the colours of the top right buttons only appear when you hover it? Maybe it would be worth thinking about them for the normal state (means the colors are always there), since they would give additional impact that this is the active window.
Downside eventually would be a little loss of consistency.

For the inactive ones, i like most no. 4 and 5. But speaking of consitency, the choice would be no. 4.

Anonymous said...

I like the number 4 for inactive window.

Paulo Igor said...

If 1 is that one that has no decos, I like it most!

To be different how about number 5, that one without buttons? By the way, number 4 and number 2 ain't bad at all too.

My favourite is the 5, very original, don't forget it's a non-coloured theme, so it may be better not using buttons, for a better active - inactive distiction.

Thomas said...

Hi pino!

Great to see innovation on this issue again :) The bug was inactive for too long.

Looking at your images (both of them). I note that the 'active' window is both the one on top and it somehow has colored buttons which the real deco doesn't have.

To do a better comparison (more realistic) what about moving the active window to not be the top-most one, and making sure that it has the same colors as the real deco. Also make sure that there is a gray window behind the titlebar to select. The complaint is that the contrast between the windows is low; your test image always puts the image on the blue background, so the problem is not shown.

User research should be as realistic as possible, and include at least a worse-then-standard usecase.
Otherwise your results will be skewed, which makes the research useless.

nuno pinheiro said...

@thomas heee this are tests.
and are based on how we want oxygen to look so in a way its beter than using what we have.
For example now the inactive windoes have the dividing line, that is gona be removed.

Second yes active is on top as it is normaly, I think that for testing purposes it should be like it is in 95% of that cases.

flo said...

number 5 without the buttons is great.. very clean & precious look...

mikew said...

I think number 3 is the best. 1 and 2 I think look bad. Also, I love the anti-aliased corners. The jagged window corners Oxygen currently has are such an eyesore on what is an otherwise beautiful desktop.

gitguy said...

4 for inactive is nice, more contrast for active is good.

keep up the good work ;)

nuno pinheiro said...

yeah mikew
hopefully we will fix that some day maybe we will need to do a special windec that uses hardware acel or somthing beter.

Thomas said...

@nuno "yes active is on top as it is normaly, I think that for testing purposes it should be like it is in 95% of that cases."

You ignored all my points of testing the non-perfect cases, as that is when this actually is most important. :(

Next to that, where did you get the idea that the active window is on top in 95% of the cases? I have spent a lot of time observing actual users and I know that this number is just not true. You can't assume that everyone works the way you do. That will make oxygen just be usable for only yourself. Thats not what we want for the default KDE wide theme.

Please coordinate with the usability people if you want to do tests like this, at least if you want the results to be useful. I don't want you to be disappointed that people can't use your work again, just because you asked the wrong question.

fred said...

Hi nuno,

In your mockup number 3 is the best IMO. But how if the user wants the widget color to be less gray? I made my widget background color to be less gray and brighter because I don't like dark desktop (I modified the Oxygen color scheme to be a bit more white)

Anonymous said...

I think you keep ignoring the fact that there are some people that just want to be able to assign colors to the decoration elements just the way they please, like those that voted for


You keep saying that color cannot be changed because that would break the original idea but...

Why exactly can't you bend the idea a little?

The proposed patch may be a bit "crude" in colorizing the various elements, but I'm sure there are ways to take advantage of the coloring possibilities while keeping the theme pleasant to look at.

I think I've seen a proposal on the previous entry on this subject that was good enough for me (The one using a gradient blending with the window background color).

That may be a starting point...

Ivan Čukić said...

Personally, 3 is my favorite, maybe with empty buttons like in 4.

I also like 4, for its looks, but see no connection at all between the fact that the window is inactive and that line is /inverted/ as you say.

Concerning 5, I think it should be out of the question because of usability problems:
- if the button is only invisible, it would induce accidental window closing (or minimizing, maximizing)
- if the button doesn't exist it would mean that closing an inactive window would require two clicks instead of one.

nuno pinheiro said...

@thomas been talking with celeste yes.
@fred, oxygen andles prety well any color in any saturation and brigtness level. exept one that is extremly white. so that's a litle bug i cant fix sorry. it would meen making us light briter than white :) (the working well in any color is one of the resons I strongly opose difernt colors in windec its an obvius path to disaster.
@ anonymous no im not ignoring them im saing dont do it in oxygen read the thread, do it make it defoult just dont call it oxygen, couse its not...like if some one sudjested we should include blinking butons. (might be nice but its not oxygen).
@ivan čukić yes fully agrea the inverted is a bit to anser the "I can't see the bar area issue I agre it dosent provide beter precevable difrence.

Anonymous said...

About the "do not call it oxygen" thing: would you really prefer to have another style used as the default than allow users some freedom in how the decoration looks? I find this hard to believe. And from the practical point of view, you do not really have the last say on this: this is free software. If even the style is left as-is in KDE, distributions are going to patch it in whatever way they think it's better for their users. Or they will use a different decoration.
So I think it's better to invest energy in finding some creative ways to have a good looking decoration that can match the widget style and allow customization than in punting on this.

Anonymous said...


Here is another idea on how to use the additional color settings -- it's just a quick edit with the gimp, but I think it may work.

nuno pinheiro said...

@anonymous you said it all "distributions are going to patch it in whatever way they think it's better for their users"
so call it somthing else couse its not oxygen....
I will help you guys if you want in that windeco, but to be honest with myself and oxygen I can't agrea with that in oxygen.
Making just another windeco is not the end of the world its an option and a good one. But its not oxygen like oxygen is not plastic dough our code base is based on plastic.
About "you do not really have the last say on this", this is realy not the way you want to go do you!
Want examples right now?

BeCe said...

My vote: Number 4 with buttons from number 3.

Iván said...

#2 or #3, in that order. Even better: #3 coloring with plain buttons like in #2.

As to the fading line underneath the title bar... I don't really like it. It sort of makes windows "bulge" inwards or outwards, depending on where the fading happens.

Just my 2 cents.

Iván said...

Oh, and did I mention that I'd like the windeco buttons to be square or rounded-square in shape, or at least flatter than they are now??

Please, please, pretty please! Those bulky round buttons make my theet cringe.

nuno pinheiro said...

yes ivan thwy are not very good .... like i saif i hoppe i aan redothem in acordance the the new scrollbars and progress bars...
btw ideas mocks what ever are wellcome in that department...

tmccn said...

My favorite would probably be #4, without the inverted line.

Since many users tend to look at window content first, tinting certain UI elements to grayscale (such as icons and selected items in lists) could also be a helpful option for inactive windows.

nuno pinheiro said...

@tmccn yes that is one of the things we will defnetly do tinting the aplicatio icon monocromatic in incative windows.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nuno,

first I'd like to vote for solution 3.

Second I have some questions which propably only you can answer me.

1.) The first thing I noticed in your mockup was the double divider of the active window. Are you going to put the second divider under the toolbars in future (title, divider, menu, toolbar, divider, other content)? I really like the style as it is now.

2.) "Docked dockers might need a nicer frame". I found this one on Techbase. Are you (oxygen developers) going to work on it for KDE 4.1? It makes such a beautiful application like e.g. dolphin looking not so nice. ;)

3.) Next question is about the grips (three decent nice looking dots) in the window decoration. In your mockup there are only three litle dots in the lower right corner. In current screenshots there are also dots at the right side. I think to be more consistent there should be either additional dots at the bottom or only be dots in the corner.

4.) Other minor issues that could need some improvement are
- round corners of tabs.
- white headline labels as they are often used in config dialogs are not so nice.
- pressed buttons

Anyway Oxygen is may theme of choice.

Thank you for your good work!


Iván said...

Nuno, can you show us some preliminary art of the new scroll and status bars? Perhaps I could suggest something for the windeco buttons.

Autumn Autist said...

numero quatro é o melhor... ;-)

Autumn Autist said...

... but the windeco buttons are ugly (not as hell, that is must to say, but never thy less ugly)

nuno pinheiro said...

Yeah think so 2 jorge.
New ideas are wellcome ;)

Aleksandar said...

I love number 1. It needs works but I think that's a right way.
I belive that with an apropriate animation, the transformation from inactive to active window will be very nice.

Anonymous said...

I love the style on the whole, totally "a breath of fresh air". As the buttons shouldn't serve a purpose while inactive, I like the lack of them in number 5. I think it serves to improve focus on the active window; am I mistaken that this may be more important in smaller resolution displays? The buttons are faded in every implementation, so it seems that muscle memory is a factor for min/max/closing inactive windows, or rather switching and min/max/closing in one click- this still shares a comparable level of functionality in five. Again 5 to me, seems elegant in granting more visual focus to the active window.

Frido Claudino said...

5, no icons is more simple, elegant and easy to distinguish between active and non active window.

Martin said...

The only one where I can easily distinguish which is number 1.
5 is IMHO the worst, as sometimes the buttons are not visible.

Iuri Fiedoruk said...

The first window with colored buttons looks good, but is still not there.
We have to find a way to:
- respect and use the color user chooses for active window title from systemsettings somewhere

- make it very clear that the window is active, in my opinion your solutions diminish the problem, but do not solve it yet.

My suggestion is to use the color in a almost-white brightness/contrast, but there are lots of solutions, my take is for you to take a look in http://www.digibarn.com/collections/screenshots/index.html.
It have screenshots from various OSes, for example, old aple just changed the title text to add some black:
I think that is something that could be used in oxygen windeco someway also, looks interesting.


Anonymous said...

"The first window with colored buttons looks good, but [FOR ME IT] is still not there.
We have to find a way to:
- respect and use the color user chooses for active window title from systemsettings somewhere

Fixed it for you!

Apart from that: Would you be satisfied if the signs in the buttons (save the red sign of the closing button) would be colored in the chosen system color?

Axel said...

@ Nuno:

Why not make the signs in the buttons color aware, so they have the color chosen by the user in systemsettings?

I'd still keep the cross in the closing button red though.

I think just a small hint of color would well fit in to the oygene style and would spend it some freshness. All other coloring ideas I've seen so far don't fit in, because it's basically too much color.

I read you mentioned a redesign of the buttons. I'd like to see them just a little bit bigger. I don't think the round buttons really fit in the style very well but I can't think of a great alternative. What about buttons with rounded corners (the same rounded corners like the rest of oxygene)?

Iuri Fiedoruk said...

@anonymous: Thanks for the fix, it is actually correct, that is my opinion yes ;)
I THINK the buttons is not anought, why not a small 2 pixel border around the window? including titlebar, so it will not be colores at all, the whole window would have a border.

I think giving idead is better than complaining, so.. I'm trying hard :)