One old Sawfish theme I always admired is “Friday”. I liked its concept of having its window manager buttons shaped after the purpose they served (the Min button was a triangle looking down, and the max button a triangle looking up). I modified the theme to my liking (undoubtly it could still be done better by a pro graphics person) and here is its mockup. Update: An alternative design, possibly much better.I am not into theme-making, so if someone has experience with QT/kWin themes and/or Gnome’s Metacity themes (Metacity theme prefered btw), please step up and create the theme under the OSS license of your choice.
We can’t offer money at this point, but we do have two brand new books to send over. The first developer who creates an exact theme as in the mockup, would be able to choose between “Learning Red Hat Linux” (2nd Edition) and “C# in a Nutshell“, both graciously sent by O’Reilly.
UPDATE: Filip Van Raemdonck (aka Mechanix) is the winner, he will be receiving his C# book soon! Download the latest version of the finished theme for Gnome and Metacity! There are 3 outstanding issues with the theme, but they won’t be fixed, as the Metacity engine doesn’t seem to support these features. See this comment for more info and a screenshot.
the concept is a good one. the look should accentuate the functionality. if i had to suggest improvement, i’d suggest making the buttons look more like they are part of the title bar, maybe have a 1-3 pixel space between them tht brings out the title bar again, and maybe using the blueish grey of the title bar for the center of the buttons instead of glaring white.
>and maybe using the blueish grey of the title bar for the center of the buttons instead of glaring white.
For me, the most important thing is clear and clean interfaces. Making these buttons anything but white (even black doesn’t stand out well, I tried), will make them hard spotted.
> maybe have a 1-3 pixel space between them tht brings out the title bar again
I don’t understand what you mean. A mockup please?
I think he means that the 4-pixel window frame should run around the buttons on the right hand window side like it does on the button on the left.
Aaah. I don’t think it will look good. It will be difficult to implement and it will look weird because it will be diagonial, and it will also take lots of space /me thinks.
I think what Anonyposter meant was something like this?
Yeah, not sure it looks as clean and the buttons are not as big this way (buttons should be clean and clear as they are frequently used, also for accessibility reasons).
That Anonyposter mockup is much nicer
You forget the most important aspect of good button design; target size.
We must keep in mind that by having a triangle shape, we are limiting our target “landing area” of the shape to inside the shape. Try quickly moving the mouse and landing on any pixelspace just inside any of the tip areas.
This problem is compounded by the fact that there are other buttons immediately next to the target button, mere pixels away, so you end up having to drive for the center of the triangle, further limiting your available target area.
It’s a nice idea, from an asthetics point of view, but surely not as practical as allowing a more robust shape to be used like current buttons.
Or icons. Look at any icon in the toolbar of your browser. Notice that they have mostly square shapes, even in the transparent region around the image? There’s a reason for it. It makes it easier to target the button, and saving just a little time and effort when selecting the icon.
Avid BeOS User.
No, it takes away much of the overall size of the buttons. This is something I wanted to change from the original Friday theme as well, as most people in the OSS world, when they design themes, they don’t take into account accessibility. If someone can modify the theme to make it as the anonymous suggested but not in the expese of accessibility, then sure.
I think Eugenia’s mockup looks great… if this was done I might just port it to Waimea. The port would also work in the three *box windowmanagers because the Waimea theme engine borrows much from them.
Also, I think the order change is just mucking it all up.
>You forget the most important aspect of good button design; target size.
I do not forget it, and I DO agree with you about its triangle shape being problematic. However, I always liked that Friday theme, as being a very “different” one. At least I credit that German guy who first created it, as having a pretty “original idea” overall.
And because I don’t forget that the triangle shape is already problematic, this is why I don’t want to give in to the people’s requests to make the buttons even smaller as suggested here: http://126.96.36.199/friday.png
The buttons have to remain pretty big-ish, otherwise their triangle shape is really a pain.
>Also, I think the order change is just mucking it all up.
The original Friday theme had it the other way around: max, min, close. I changed it, because I was always keep pressing the wrong triangle.
Also, the original Friday, was only 20 pixels high, and while I know a lot of people in the Unix world liking thin window managers, I will have to again beg for accessibility in this case.
I think anon. was saying to add borders to the buttons, not make them smaller. I’m sure they only made them smaller so as to more quickly get the mock up online. Kinda dumb to assume smaller’s better…. unless it was obviously too big to begin with.
Just a tiny thing, but that alternative design is much better except for one annoying little detail. On the left-hand side, the raised bar that runs under the titlebar is joined with the left-border bar of the window. On the right, it is separated.
Where? I don’t see it.. Please upload a mockup with an arrow showing the problem… (please note that I have uploaded a newer version of the alternative design in the past hour, so make sure you reload or empty your cache)
Why not change the title to “Contest: Create Theme!” Grandprice – two books by O’reily. [details]
Makes people more interested IMHO
Aah, never mind. Image must have been cached It’s all good now. Very nice look btw
Hmm, are you sure that you can set a default icon in Metacity? Would it be a problem if this isn’t possible? Or is there some other theme which does it?
THAT IS THE MOST HORRIBLE THING EVER. i really *HATE* the red yellow green bullshit in os x aqua. it is stupid and countar intuitave. what does green mean, go so get bigger? that does not make sense! yellow is the color of caution, so be cautions because we are about to get smaller?
seriously, the square buttons are tried and true formula! round buttons in os x aqua are gay and you have to mouse over to even figure out what button does what?! why not keep the symbols on all the time mouseover crap is stupid.
while the jacked up triangle design is better than aqua IN THAT RESPECT, i mean, at least you know what button does what, why keep the crappy colors? and why not just have big square buttons with arrows on them like win3.1 used to do. microsoft’s new designs are great too, i really really like luna’s buttons, there is absolutely positively no way of mistaking what they do.
the new design is better because of square button, but please fix the design on them the circles do not do it for me! hell even aqua’s stupid + and – and x are making more sense.
if u ask me the real future is in gesture based window control systems where you don’t need no stinky buttons to tell the window what to do, u gesture on top of it and it gets bigger or smaller or whatever u want it to do.
The logical button order would be Max, Min, Close,
or the other way around. (Microserfs..
Triangles don’t mean the same thing to all people, direction-wise. What’s more, up/down arrows only work on desktops that minimize windows to the bottom of the screen, a la Windows taskbar. (same with [_] minimize icons)
I have to agree with the people who perceive triangles as harder to hit with the mouse.
I actually quite like the larger circle for maximise, and the smaller for minimise, I think it works well. When you look at the two next to each other, the sizing automatically makes you think ‘larger’ or ‘smaller’. It works well, and I much prefer the second design over the triangles.
I would very much like to see that concept made into a theme, not only for *nix WMs but also for XP.
It is just a window decoration. There is much more to do for a full theme. But I would really like to see a full theme designed by you, eugenia. That would be much more constructive than just critizising kde usability without offering alternatives. Maybe it would even replace dotnet as my favorite theme.
Maybe that’s why the title says “Window Manager Theme”. :p
I should be finished soon, turns out quite neat so far.
So, just because something is different from what you’re used to, you refuse to try anything else?
Crawl back under your log, troll…
I don’t know if I like the idea of color coding the 3 window operation buttons…for one, the color coding is probably not universally recognizable across international borders. As for functionality, the second mockup looks very similar to the metacity-iris theme here: http://art.gnome.org/show_theme.php?themeID=202&category=metacity It’s just using squares instead of circles. Even though it’s quite spartan, I still like it for it’s professional feel…and a little nostalgia.. I definitely like more than MS’s current trend of ‘fisher-price’-ifying the desktop.
Its always interesting to hear people moan about “reduced button target areas” and rectangular hit areas when its VERY easy to code for non-regular areas. All you need to do is create an invisible layer representing the button area that holds a colour map to the button area (one colour per button) and determine function by colour.
step 1. create colour map / hit area (allows for function linking – eg 2 minimize / scroll / whatever buttons)
step 2. intercept mouse position over button area
step 3. extrapolate position from step 2 over colour/function map (this allows for scaling also) and execute appropriate function.
There must be plenty of programmer using this out in the OSS world – i’d be very surprised otherwise…
Header says it all.
This is something I wanted to change from the original Friday theme as well, as most people in the OSS world, when they design themes, they don’t take into account accessibility.
Most people in the OSS world make a theme for themselves if they want it so badly, instead of asking other people.
People are not moaning about the difficulty of coding non-rectangular buttons, instead, they are moaning about the usability of such buttons:
“I’m working in my window and I am annoyed and want to maximize my window, so I move my mouse quickly to the maximize button and as I start to get closer to that button I will have to start exponentially (or is logarithmically) slow down so that I do not end up at the small upper side of the triangle where I might just hit the close button instead because I don’t have enough area.”
That’s why the original buttons were so big because midway up, the button does no matter, no one will ever reach that place to click; because a user can only hit that close button instead so many times that he gets annoyed by it, and eventually change the darned theme.
After trying tooooo many themes, I am convinced that square buttons are just plain more useable (that is if you want to use the window and not just stare at how lovely it looks like)
One problem I have with window manager themes in X is that when a window is maximized I can’t just “throw” the mouse to the upper right corner of the screen and hit the button to close the window, like I do with Microsoft Windows. I would like to see a theme that allowed me to do that, I mean, that let me kill a maximized window by clicking on the pixel on the top right of the screen. If I remember correctly, that is one of the four easiest places to click. 🙂
> The original Friday theme had it the other way around: max, min, close. I changed it, because I was always keep pressing the wrong triangle.
This suggests that the shapes and colors don’t matter so much then….
And I agree with the poster that mentioned mouse gestures. Like the scroll wheel on the mouse, once you’ve used it, it’s really hard to give it up. I’ve “used” them accidently a fair number of times in IE.
I can do that with the default theme in IceWM. You mean get the mouse in the very uppermost, righhand corner of the screen to close the current maximized window, right?
Works fine for me.
Ok, so I agree with you in that the buttons should be clearer. I like the concept of a minimize button that is an arrow pointing down. But the maximize button? Lest you’ve forgotten, that button (in windows and in gnome – I think in KDE as well, but I’m not sure?) also acts as a “Re-windowfy” button. As in, when you maximize a window, if you want it to be a window again, you reclick that button (in gnome, it’s context sensitive – as in, the icon changes to a windows icon when you maximize a window). This up arrow, down arrow thing doesn’t seem to include a provision for that, and even if the button has the same behavior, I think its even more confusing than the Windows style, no context change, way.
I’m all for accessibility, but complicating things even more isn’t the way to go. I really like this idea of the arrows, but I think I’d like them implemented the gnome way (square buttons that are context sensitive based on state).
Not quite finished yet but close. Hope that’s ok.
http://server204.serverflex.de/Screenshots/Screenshot-Gimp.png it is.
While the alternative one looks better and more usable than the original, I don’t really care for either. At least on the alternative one you’ve got a wide section of button to click -the triangular ones would be hard to click “on the fly”
They both remind me of a Beos window meeting one of Gnomes dark “metal” looking themes, with a color-handicapped version of Aqua (You know… “When I say red, I mean RED”) thrown in for coloring.
Not saying that the idea’s bad, but I would never consider such a theme/decoration. I much prefer cool, modern looking decorations (such as Liquid or some of the Aqua-like themese showing up for KDE). This looks too much like a cheesy Beos knockoff to me.
Rather big screenshot, 684k:
I tried it without the background fill on the menu icon too, and must say it looks alot better that way. IMO.
that’s turning into a really nice theme….please tell me someone is going to submit to art.gnome.org when this is over
Gentlemen and ladies, I present to you… Friday. In pure XML form (okay, so the buttons are standins to see exactly how I could get it to work.) I am working on the alternative buttons as we speak, but I assure you that this is far superior to the bitmap imitations, and will prove to be much more robust in the long term. Consider the contest over. (No, I’m not really a jerk, I just like to pretend to be one on Thursdays… after working 9 hours and seeing someone with the gimp pop out a cheap hack.)