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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Brushed Metal in Panther – The Good News

Brushed Metal in Panther – The Good News (Page 2)
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keston
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Oct 9, 2003, 11:58 AM
 
If the panther finder looked like the save dialogs, i would love it:
     
lookmark
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Oct 9, 2003, 12:56 PM
 
Your wish will be granted.

     
lngtones
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Oct 9, 2003, 07:11 PM
 
Originally posted by lookmark:
Your wish will be granted.

That looks ugly.
     
neilw
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Oct 10, 2003, 12:45 AM
 
The problem is not that you currently *can't* tell the difference between the active and inactive windows. The problem is that in many cases it requires too much conscious thought to make the distinction. As with most such issues, the degree to which any individual is bothered is highly variable.

I really think it's hard to argue, though, that having stronger visual cues wouldn't be a good thing. The less conscious thought required to identify the state of the different visual elements, the better (as long as it doesn't become jarring.) Apple's pretty good about making things subtle.

I think a slight transparency on inactive windows would be cool. (ala windowshadeX)
On the whole window? No, you need to be able to see inactive windows and refer to them in their true state. Transparency would screw that up completely. If you're just talking about making the metal itself translucent, but leaving the window contents alone (a la Aqua), hmm, dunno.
     
Developer  (op)
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Oct 16, 2003, 06:03 AM
 
Originally posted by neilw:
The problem is not that you currently *can't* tell the difference between the active and inactive windows.
Then - at a quick glance - tell which is the active window in the following screenshot:



It's rather obvious that the Mail (Aqua) window is inactive, but which of the brushed metal window is the active one?
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Zadian
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Oct 16, 2003, 07:23 AM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
It's rather obvious that the Mail (Aqua) window is inactive, but which of the brushed metal window is the active one?
The one with the coloured window widgets.
And if you use graphit its the one with the the x-+ in the widgets.
     
hudson1
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Oct 16, 2003, 07:30 AM
 
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned what Apple clearly stated in their HUI guidelines from many years ago. They specifically addressed this question.

Basically, Apple stated that an obvious distinction between active and inactive windows should be displayed. Further, this distinction should be of a non-colored variety. They had research that showed this was the most effective means to go about this and was the basis for why they went with putting the thick bars in the title of the active window on every Mac OS through 9. They also mentioned the Windows method of changin the title bar color was less effective and inferior.

How times change.
     
Mediaman_12
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Oct 16, 2003, 07:40 AM
 
Originally posted by Zadian:
The one with the coloured window widgets.
And if you use graphit its the one with the the x-+ in the widgets.
But why is the iChat AV window in front of it then?
     
- - e r i k - -
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Oct 16, 2003, 07:55 AM
 
Originally posted by Zadian:
The one with the coloured window widgets.
And if you use graphit its the one with the the x-+ in the widgets.
Even in graphite there's no X-+ unless you mouse over them.

That screenshot is just a graphical mockup. And that the iChat AV-window being in front is just a f*ckup.

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Developer  (op)
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Oct 16, 2003, 07:58 AM
 
Originally posted by hudson1:
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned what Apple clearly stated in their HUI guidelines from many years ago. They specifically addressed this question.

Basically, Apple stated that an obvious distinction between active and inactive windows should be displayed. Further, this distinction should be of a non-colored variety. They had research that showed this was the most effective means to go about this and was the basis for why they went with putting the thick bars in the title of the active window on every Mac OS through 9. They also mentioned the Windows method of changin the title bar color was less effective and inferior.
The old guidelines don't seem to mention Windows as inferior. However notice how clear it was to identify the active window:



Compare this to the screenshot of OS X above where you have to search for the window with the coloured widgets.
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hudson1
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Oct 16, 2003, 08:26 AM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
The old guidelines don't seem to mention Windows as inferior. However notice how clear it was to identify the active window:
Now that I think about it, I believe the "Windows is inferior" part came from an interview with someone at Apple long ago when they were discussing the key elements of the HIG. Thanks for the catch.
     
Zadian
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Oct 16, 2003, 09:11 AM
 
Originally posted by - - e r i k - -:
Even in graphite there's no X-+ unless you mouse over them.
Yes, you are right. My mistake, but then i never have problems to see what window is active
     
Judge_Fire
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Oct 16, 2003, 09:23 AM
 
I still prefer this approach to primary window focus:



[click for bigger version]

Which you can achieve with the FocusLayer app

I hope Gul Banana has some time to work on it in the future

J
     
danengel
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Oct 16, 2003, 05:05 PM
 
What's your problem about finding out which window is active? I always know it, because I'm working with the current window. We're not playing "look at 100 screenshots and try to find the active window."

The difference between Aqua (translucent and dimmed titlebar) and Metal (dimmed titlebar) is not so big.

Also, at least my brain looks for a full rectangle shape and makes this the active window. Two non-overlapping windows are a problem, yes, but I'm still alive, hoping for more brushed metal, because I like it
     
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Oct 16, 2003, 06:05 PM
 
Inactive brushed metal windows could be made more obvious by either being a bit faded, a bit less brushed (textured) or a bit out-of-focus (blurred). It would be trivial for apple to do any of these.
     
mikemako
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Oct 16, 2003, 06:26 PM
 
Originally posted by lookmark:
I like that brushed window is all of one piece and has no title bar...
hmm.. that makes me remember having title bar issues with Brushed Metal. There is definitely no distinguishable title bar, but why is it that you must double click where the title bar would be to minimize to dock.. strange.

Brushed metal is very attractive, but not too functional in the ways demonstrated by the posters in this thread. I wish there was an Apple-included option to turn it off or on on a per app/system wide basis (like metallizer).
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Oct 16, 2003, 06:48 PM
 
Originally posted by lookmark:
Your wish will be granted.

I think that looks awesome. I like the way Jaguar looks, though the pinstripes were a bit too pronounced for my tastes. I do wish Panther looked like that. But I'd feel dirty installing something to get rid of the brushed metal, and besides, I'm already used to it. I mean ... I'll be used to it when Panther comes out. Ahem.
     
Dirk Lenz
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Oct 16, 2003, 07:13 PM
 
Originally posted by danengel:
What's your problem about finding out which window is active? I always know it, because I'm working with the current window. We're not playing "look at 100 screenshots and try to find the active window."

The difference between Aqua (translucent and dimmed titlebar) and Metal (dimmed titlebar) is not so big.

Also, at least my brain looks for a full rectangle shape and makes this the active window. Two non-overlapping windows are a problem, yes, but I'm still alive, hoping for more brushed metal, because I like it
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lngtones
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Oct 17, 2003, 01:37 AM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
Then - at a quick glance - tell which is the active window in the following screenshot:

IMAGE

It's rather obvious that the Mail (Aqua) window is inactive, but which of the brushed metal window is the active one?
These photos are doctored to show off certain things. They aren't actual screenshots.

I don't see the problem because most of the time you don't have random brushed and unbrushed windows popping up at you when you're typing something. Maybe when you're web browsing, but you're not really typing then...

When you're not typing then what's the big deal what the active window is? If you want to press a button you press it. It's a lot easier to get into the habit of clicking where you want to click and clicking where you want to type then to sit and analyze for 30 seconds which window is inactive and whether you can save one mouse click. You're still going to have to find the insertion point and focus ring anyways.
     
ryaxnb
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Oct 17, 2003, 02:20 AM
 
Also take a look at iTunes (no screenshots, 'cause I can't host 'em.) When it's disabled, it's fairly easy to tell. Why?
1. The buttons (playlist add, Play, etc.) are grayed out.
2. The text in the tabs in the listings (title, artist, etc.) are grayed out. So is the text "Source."
3. The playlist selected (or the Library) is 'unblued' into a light shade of gray. Note iTunes playlist selctions don't follow the rules and never turn graphite while active, so that's not a problem.
4. The search field is grayed out
5. The Burn Disc thing is grayed out.
6. The scroolbars and x-+ are grayed out
7. Less of a shadow.
8. The title is grayed out.
In Safari:
1. Scrolbars and x-+ are grayed out
2. Less shadow
3. Title is grayed out.
Note how much less stuff is grayed out in Safari.
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DVD Plaza
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Oct 17, 2003, 09:14 AM
 
On the other hand the brushed metal GUI on iTunes for Windows is much nicer to look at (is nice a subtle, rather than rough like OSX) and features a nice brushed metal titlebar and has an active AND inactive state.

Weird they can do it right on Windows, but on OSX they go against the very things they've whinged about for so long (ie making things as unobvious as possible).
     
JLL
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Oct 17, 2003, 09:16 AM
 
Originally posted by DVD Plaza:
On the other hand the brushed metal GUI on iTunes for Windows is much nicer to look at (is nice a subtle, rather than rough like OSX)
It looks exactly the same to me.
JLL

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keston
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Oct 17, 2003, 10:59 AM
 
I think the iTunes windows is a little bit more subtle (the darker tittle bar make it SEEM lighter too), also it looks a little flatter as well. THough the differences aren't that noticable.



Originally posted by JLL:
It looks exactly the same to me.
     
lngtones
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Oct 17, 2003, 12:24 PM
 
Originally posted by keston:
I think the iTunes windows is a little bit more subtle (the darker tittle bar make it SEEM lighter too), also it looks a little flatter as well. THough the differences aren't that noticable.

It probably seems flatter because Windows doesn't have and window shadows.
     
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Oct 18, 2003, 09:52 PM
 
Originally posted by keston:
Though the differences aren't that noticable.
Could you post a screenshot of an inactive iTunes Windows?
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Oct 18, 2003, 09:55 PM
 
Originally posted by biscuit:
Consistency and predictability are very important IHMO.
I just found a good example why this is true in the Apple Support Forum:

"The problem is [the visualizer options button i]s hard to find it. It's right where the Browse button is normally. In fact I used iTunes for 2 years before I ever even knew it had a Browse mode (doh!). I always just thought the Browse eyeball was a mode icon, not a button"
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kennedy
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Oct 19, 2003, 12:06 AM
 
I am already horribly frustrated by this in Jaguar. The problem is particularly bad when using two screens.

When I am mobile with my PowerBook, this is rarely a problem, as I never have more than one window in front on my little 12" screen. The active window is the one in front... no confusion. Lots of people operate that way, so I suspect they are the ones saying its not an issue.

But when I am at home or in the office, with my 12" plus my 18" screens both in use, the brushed metal already drives me nuts!! The damned brushed metal windows always look more active than the aqua windows, even when the aqua window is the one that's active. So, I am often trying to hide Safari and end up hiding something else.

Then it gets worse when I start using a brushed metal window on each screen... I am constantly closing the wrong one. Its almost enough to make me stop using Safari and go back to IE!!

If Panther is coming with brushed metal as a non-option and no better way to visually indicate the active window, then I will not be upgrading to Panther until somebody hacks up a solution. I use Macs because I enjoy using them... but the frustration with this is already cutting into that enjoyment... making it ubiquitous would end it altogether.

This blatantly horrific UI choice has shaken my confidence in Apple... their lead UI designers must have departed... there's no way the original Mac UI designers would do this.
     
kennedy
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Oct 19, 2003, 01:56 AM
 
Oh, and note that relying on the colors of the window buttons is both cumbersome and error-prone, even for those not color blind and not using graphite...

I'm reading a thread in a window in front, glance at the upper left and see color, hit my mouse button that does Cmd-H, and blip... the wrong thing vanishes! Huh?

Oh, yeah... if your mouse happens to get over the window buttons of an inactive window, the buttons colorize.

So, you can't just glance for color... you have to look for color and mouse position or color without the +- marks. Yeah, right.


I sure hope Apple is listening and has 10.3.1 coming soon.
     
Jim Paradise
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Oct 19, 2003, 05:47 AM
 
Originally posted by keston:
If the panther finder looked like the save dialogs, i would love it:
It would look great *and* provide a consistent UI...
     
booboo
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Oct 19, 2003, 07:30 AM
 
Originally posted by Developer:


It's rather obvious that the Mail (Aqua) window is inactive, but which of the brushed metal window is the active one?

You could have made it virtually impossible to tell by hovering your mouse over the inactive QuickTime window's widgets . . .

I suspect that most people who are happy with metal don't have a lot of windows open at once/prefer the clowning traffic lights 'theme' . . .

Innit?
     
Big Mac
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Oct 19, 2003, 07:49 AM
 
I don't understand why Brushed Metal's inactive windows can't have translucent title bars like Aqua windows have. Maybe someone could provide a mockup and we could determine whether that would make sense. Of course, then we would have another point of inconsistency; undoubtedly only some of the applications would behave that way.

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daftpig
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Oct 19, 2003, 08:15 AM
 
Originally posted by Horsepoo!!!:
Oh so a titlebar that has changed color or pattern or translucency is easier to tell than widgets that change color?

Gimme a break.
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daftpig
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Oct 19, 2003, 08:28 AM
 
Originally posted by Horsepoo!!!:
What are they if they aren't colored? They're certainly not colorless like when the window is inactive.

If you can't tell the difference betweent the graphite grey and the colorless widget, you probably shouldn't be using graphite at all and you'd be the one that is 'fvcking stupid'.

A lot of people in this thread seem to be calling me stupid (and fat), yet *I'm* the one that can actually distinguish between colored and colorless elements.

Differences can certainly be discerned.

But this thread is discussing the extent to which the differences can be noted so as to eliminate, as much as possible, factors that could cause one's productivity to decrease on the machine, with the unit of analysis being the UI.
     
DeathMan
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Oct 19, 2003, 07:34 PM
 
I've experienced the double monitor problem, of not knowing which window is active, you run the scroll bar, and nothing happens.

That never happens with aqua windows. Only metal. For me this proves that there is not enough difference between active and inactive states. You shouldn't have to think about it at all. You should know at a glance which window is active.
     
Catfish_Man
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Oct 19, 2003, 09:26 PM
 
Originally posted by keston:
If the panther finder looked like the save dialogs, i would love it:
[snipped for the modem users]
Completely agreed. I love the open/save dialogs in Panther.
     
- - e r i k - -
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Oct 20, 2003, 03:47 AM
 
Originally posted by DeathMan:
That never happens with aqua windows. Only metal. For me this proves that there is not enough difference between active and inactive states. You shouldn't have to think about it at all. You should know at a glance which window is active.
I find it hard to believe that people actually can disagree with this. I mean, if there was a bigger difference between active and inactive metal windows, would it make their GUI-experience worse somehow??

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Apfhex
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Oct 20, 2003, 06:00 AM
 
Originally posted by Brass:
Inactive brushed metal windows could be made more obvious by either being a bit faded, a bit less brushed (textured) or a bit out-of-focus (blurred).
I think that if the brushed metal were to become slightly faded when inactive, that it would be the perfect solution to the problem.
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kennedy
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Oct 20, 2003, 08:32 AM
 
Originally posted by Apfhex:
I think that if the brushed metal were to become slightly faded when inactive, that it would be the perfect solution to the problem.
I think ideal, exploiting the power of Quartz, would be a dimming of the whole window as if you put a light gray translucent veil over everything but the active window. The visual impact would give even more depth to how far forward the active window is vs. the rest.

But translucent metal would be very cool too... that combined with the genie effect on the metal will make it reminiscent of a T1000... Terminator 2... and not much could be cooler than that!
     
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Oct 20, 2003, 12:54 PM
 
Originally posted by kennedy:
I think ideal, exploiting the power of Quartz, would be a dimming of the whole window as if you put a light gray translucent veil over everything but the active window. The visual impact would give even more depth to how far forward the active window is vs. the rest.
This would solve the active vs. inactive window problem very elegantly. It's kind of an air perspective.

But - it's also important to be able to see the content of an inactive window. Like when you compare two pictures in Photoshop or read two webpages etc. pp. So there's very good reason not to dim the content of an inactive window.
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Oct 20, 2003, 12:56 PM
 
Here is what Apple does on Windows:



Ironically this is much better than on Mac OS X.

(thanks to Keston for the screenshot)
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eevyl
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Oct 20, 2003, 04:34 PM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
Here is what Apple does on Windows:



Ironically this is much better than on Mac OS X.

(thanks to Keston for the screenshot)
Man much better than on OS X... sad... it is even better on Windows than on Mac OS X
     
clarkgoble
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Oct 20, 2003, 07:13 PM
 
How is that much better on Windows?

     
keston
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Oct 20, 2003, 07:39 PM
 
There is a clearly defined title bar (by the dark/light grey contrast), which is lightened a bit in the background, so its easier to tell when a window is inactive (even though the window texture stays the same).

Originally posted by clarkgoble:
How is that much better on Windows?
     
Apfhex
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Oct 20, 2003, 09:55 PM
 
To make matters worse, here's a bug that I experience frequently with iChat/Safari. I had just clicked on a link in the iChat window.

So which brushed metal window is the active one? I cheated a little by having my mouse over the widgets in the iChat window, which would have provided a little more feedback. But other than that, the only way to tell is the dimmed title bar and the smaller shadow (and I almost forgot about the small scroll bar down there).


Granted, it's not too big a deal for me, but it really would be nicer if there were a greater distinction between the active and inactive.
( Last edited by Apfhex; Oct 20, 2003 at 10:02 PM. )
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Dale Sorel
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Oct 21, 2003, 12:29 AM
 
Originally posted by Apfhex:
So which brushed metal window is the active one?
Uh, the one with the colored widgets in the corner

Do I win something
     
kennedy
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Oct 21, 2003, 02:13 AM
 
Originally posted by Dale Sorel:
Uh, the one with the colored widgets in the corner
Dude, there's two windows with colored widgets in the corners... so, yes, you win something... you are now posterboy for our point.
     
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Oct 21, 2003, 02:52 AM
 
Originally posted by kennedy:
You are now posterboy for our point.
Oh yea, I see what your talking about...long day
     
exca1ibur
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Oct 21, 2003, 05:25 AM
 
Originally posted by Apfhex:
So which brushed metal window is the active one?
The one on top?
     
Samanoske
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Oct 21, 2003, 06:07 AM
 
So how do I get ride of this metal brushed Finder ? dl _ APE & Metallizifer from unsanity -> but I can not select the finder, thus can not disable the damn metal. Any1 help ?

I mean it looks nice in Safari or iTunes but for every window - no thanks.
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Horsepoo!!!
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Oct 21, 2003, 08:49 AM
 
Awww man, you guys are on crack if you're telling me that the Windows version has a more discernible active/non-active window pattern.

"The titlebar has a lighter gray."

Ef you! There's less difference than on the Mac.

For crying out loud, the active window has colored frickin' widgets.

Geez, this discussion is pointless. If you can't find the red, yellow and green widgets, or graphite widgets (ok the graphite ones *are* a little more difficult to find), seek help. The whole thing is such a non-issue it's mind-boggling you guys are whining over it.
     
 
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