Re: [Usability]Re: A "cheat" to full window manager integration

--- Christopher Warner <zanee kernelcode com> wrote:
> >
> What exactly are you saying? I'm lost, are you
> saying that it's hard to 
> be a designer? Yes I agree; it's hard to provide
> something thats 
> aesthetic to the human eye. Thats why there are
> people dedicated to the 
> job and do it well. I'm not one of those people.
> What does this have to 
> do with anything that I said about file formats and
> the combination of 
> the themes into one theme format?

What I'm saying is that it is harder to design some
things than others, and more specifically, it is
harder to design a widget theme than a window frame
theme. It is possible to design an insectoid or
psychedelic or flashy or space-agey window frame
theme, and still have it be functional. It is far more
difficult to design a widget theme that looks exciting
and still is easy on the eyes.

For example, I can get away with having a white window
frame title on a mottled emerald background. Why?
Because people glance at titlebars rather than look at
them for hours on a stretch. White widget text on an
emerald background is harder to deal with, especially
if it frames, say a WYSIWYG rich text which by
necessity has black text on a white background. For
some, that kind of color contrast is either borderline
harsh or too harsh, fit for a screenshot but not for

For another example, I can design a window border
theme with a close button that can look like almost
anything. If the button is in the position that a
close button on a Windows(TM) toolbar would be, I can
even dispense with the little "X" in the center of the
button, and it will likely still be understood as a
close button. See the Aqua and Esco Metacity themes as
examples of this. On the other hand, designing a
confusing checkbox or radiobutton is trivial. I've
seen checkboxes where the only difference between the
on and off state was a color difference, and I'd have
to check to make sure which state belonged to which

In short, making an exciting, attractive, yet usable
window manager theme is fairly trivial. Making an
exciting, attractive, yet usable widget theme requires
a balance of functional design and aesthetics that is
far more difficult to master. If the only way to theme
the window frames is to theme the widgets as well,
then you will likely get nice window frames paired
with hard-to-read widget themes, because most theme
designers are not skilled enough to handle both frames
and widgets well.

Therefore, it is better not to pursue a combined theme

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