Window-Frame Controls in Lion

  • Controls in the window-frame area (that is, in the toolbar or bottom bar) normally have a textured style as stated in the OS X Human Interface Guidelines. In 10.7 Lion textured controls became semi-transparent with some of the background showing through. This results in most window-frame controls taking on more of a bland gray look.

    Not all applications suffer from the bland gray toolbar look in Lion. Apple's iCal sports a bold new brown leather look. You may or may not like the new look but one thing is does have and that is sharply defined window-frame controls. Even though the window-frame background and controls are both brown, the contrast between the two is sharp. Compare this to the Finder window-frame in Lion where the controls are not nearly as sharp.

    One measure of the contrast between the background and the control is the difference in brightness between the two. The fact that the background and control have the same base color makes this measurement especially meaningful.

        Application    OS X    Base Color      Background-Control Brightness
        Finder          10.6    Gray            61 - 4 = 57%
        Finder          10.7    Gray            67 - 21 = 46%
        iCal            10.7    Brown          71 - 13 = 58%

    These measurements correlate to the general perception that window-frame controls the new iCal and the old Finder are sharp and identifiable. Whereas window-frame controls in the new Finder appear less defined and muddy.

    I have an application that relies heavily on the toolbar. In my option the usability of standard toolbar controls has been degraded in Lion because of this change.

    Does this bother anyone else besides me?

    --Richard
  • On 5 Jul 2012, at 8:43 PM, Richard Somers wrote:

    > Does this bother anyone else besides me?

    Are you asking for an advocacy opinion, or something practical that a forum dedicated to support for developing applications with Cocoa can help you with?

    If the latter, I don't believe you can do what you apparently hope for using the stock NSToolbar. Apple is well-known for constructing UI elements that are similar to standard ones, but have completely different implementations. They're probably using a custom NSWindow class, because the "toolbar" has to blend seamlessly with the window frame.

    For the advocacy question, go to <http://bugreport.apple.com/>.

    — F
  • On Jul 5, 2012, at 9:43 PM, Richard Somers wrote:

    > Controls in the window-frame area (that is, in the toolbar or bottom bar) normally have a textured style as stated in the OS X Human Interface Guidelines. In 10.7 Lion textured controls became semi-transparent with some of the background showing through. This results in most window-frame controls taking on more of a bland gray look.
    >
    > Not all applications suffer from the bland gray toolbar look in Lion. Apple's iCal sports a bold new brown leather look. You may or may not like the new look but one thing is does have and that is sharply defined window-frame controls. Even though the window-frame background and controls are both brown, the contrast between the two is sharp. Compare this to the Finder window-frame in Lion where the controls are not nearly as sharp.
    >
    > One measure of the contrast between the background and the control is the difference in brightness between the two. The fact that the background and control have the same base color makes this measurement especially meaningful.
    >
    > Application    OS X    Base Color      Background-Control Brightness
    > Finder          10.6    Gray            61 - 4 = 57%
    > Finder          10.7    Gray            67 - 21 = 46%
    > iCal            10.7    Brown          71 - 13 = 58%
    >
    > These measurements correlate to the general perception that window-frame controls the new iCal and the old Finder are sharp and identifiable. Whereas window-frame controls in the new Finder appear less defined and muddy.

    The desaturated look of Finder Window controls in the Lion Finder (and System Preferences) is an obvious step backwards in usability as far as I am concerned.  It's not nearly as obvious when a button in a Finder window is enabled or disabled and in certain lighting situations, I have to look twice to see what the state of the GUI is.

    Compared to Snow Leopard, I hate it.

    > I have an application that relies heavily on the toolbar. In my option the usability of standard toolbar controls has been degraded in Lion because of this change.
    >
    > Does this bother anyone else besides me?

    Yep.  Doesn't exactly make me want to use Lion.

    I reported it when I was on the Lion Beta.  Even wrote to Schiller and Jobs about stuff like this with the support of a few ex Apple employees.  It's decisions like this where obviously poorer functionality than in the previous shipping product makes it into a shipping product that make me wonder what's going on at Apple and if it's even worth reporting these issues.

    IMHO, I think it's terrible for several reasons, but I also think that there's nothing we can do about it.
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