Theme Review

I was going to initially write this as a comment on Asa’s Blog, but decided to make a post out of it so can use some screenshots with ease. These are mainly opinions having tested the latest (20060911) on Windows XP, with a custom Windows theme. There may be bugs already filed on some of these, feel free to CC me. Feel free to file bugs against those which have none. Feel free to leave a comment on if you agree or disagree.

Some creative freedom was taken for the sake of me just not wanting to be 100% serious on this post.

First of all let me say it’s much better than it was previously. The previous revision looked pretty awkward, this is much smoother. So it’s clearly come a long way.

I’ve got the blues

BluesI’m really not fond of the blue folders. They have a Aqua-like feel (but not quite), and it just doesn’t seem right for XP. Vista seems to be sticking with the yellow folder icon to symbolize a directory. Mac OS X seems to stick with the lighter blue so far for Leopard. So what influenced the dark blue? It just doesn’t seem to feel right.

Edit: beltzner says this will change.

You crossed the line

The is just a small glitch, but looks like the menu’s highlight extends too high, in comparison to Windows Explorer. That should be fixed.
Menu BadMenu Good

Gradient Mouseovers

Looking around Windows XP, and Windows Vista RC1 Screenshots (I haven’t installed Vista RC1 as of yet). I don’t see much reflecting this gradient mouseover effect that Windows XP did with Windows Explorer. It seems the trend for Windows goes two ways (in the applications I looked at):

  • Dark thin border
  • Brighten icon

Gradient Mouseover

Is this really the right effect for Windows XP and Vista?

Along with this, there is a giant difference between when the mouse is/isn’t over an icon on the toolbar, but the Go button, and the Search icon in the search box don’t have the same contrast. It’s actually somewhat hard to tell, especially compared to how obvious it is for the back, forward, reload, stop and home buttons.

Ooh, shiny!

A friend in High School was admittedly attracted to shiny objects. He even covered a textbook in aluminum foil (presumably perfect for burning ants and/or household pets). But is the Web 2.0 effect on the icons a little overdone? Mouseover looks fine, but otherwise it looks like the effect was a little abused, causing the top left of the home button to look a little washed out. Personally I think it should be more faded than looking like Uncle Jesse‘s hair. But maybe that’s just me. The blue folders mentioned above have this same problem.

9 replies on “Theme Review”

Yeah, I agree about the blue folders. I’m glad they’re going to be changed.

The fact that the menu’s highlight extends to the full height of the bar (try moving a large toolbar button next to the help menu) has annoyed me so much I’ve fixed it myself with userChrome.css.

I’m not sure what you mean about the gradient mouseovers. Mine look different to your screenshot so I assume it depends on the theme you’re using.

Regarding the contrast issue with the Go & Search buttons, I think the outlines should be much darker when the mouse is over them and perhaps a little darker when it’s not. The search engine select dropdown doesn’t look quite right either.

Other than that, I agree that there’s been a big improvement over previous versions.

I really don’t like the new home and reload icons. Those are two most important ones, because those are the two ones that are ALWAYS active. When you launch a browser, and see the default start page, all other icons are grayed out. Then, the user will also see the back button active. In result those three (reload, back, home) are usually the only ones that are not grayed out for the user.
And look at the colors of those three buttons. Does it make the “unique” theme that would be nice for the user and make the Firefox recognizable?

I summarized my thoughts here:

I really like how the folders open when you mouse over them! The reload button immediately bothered me. I think it’s because all the other buttons are squared and it’s rounded. Sometimes you just have to live with things for a little while until you appreciate them, though. I actually like it more now that I’m writing about it.

Firefox 2 theme updated…

I was in the process of finishing the second instalment of “More theme problems for Firefox 2â€? when I read that the new Firefox theme received a big update. Time to investigate……

The menu bar thing is the way IE does it. Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer actually present their menu bars differently. When it was submitted it matches Windows Explorer though.

– Chris

The XP icons (as described in a Microsoft design guide) become *more saturated* on mouse over. They don’t just brighten.

It seems that the Firefox designer created the “bright” icons for the mouse-over state, then made them pastier for the regular set, possibly with something as crude as a translucent white overlay. The upshot is that, in their usual state, the icons seem lifeless and washed out. They actually don’t look too bad against your darker background, but they look weak against any of the Luna styles, and even against the classic style with default colours.

The recent tweaks have fixed the smudgyness of some of the icons, so I’d say that rather than looking as though Firefox has been left in the rain, it now looks as though it’s been left in direct sunlight… which is an improvement. The super-combo-buttons on the address bar and search box still need work though (I can barely distinguish the borders of the buttons), and as you say, the blue folders are grotesque (what’s that dark blue smear?).

Today the folders are back to being yellow. But I have to agree with James on how much I liked the way the blue folders opened when they were expanded / moused over. I just hope they can change blue to yellow colors, but leave all other aspects of the folder image the same.

I use small buttons, and they are not of the same quality (yet) as the regular ones. The two buttons I have problem with are Reload and Home. While Reload colors appear too dark with not enough shine compare to Back/Forward, the main problem that the button is missing a few pixels on the left – the left-most side of the blue circle looks cut off. The same is true for the large version of the button, but it’s less noticeable. My take on the Home button is the same as most others have – it’s too dark and it looks like it bleeds a bit.

On the plus side, I like the new blank doc icon

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