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Omni's standards of graphic design (under threat ?) Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Good graphic design is a distinctive feature of the Omni brand. The apps have always been visually clean, with a good signal-to-noise ratio. Users have always been able to focus on what matters, without visual distraction.

Until last week.

Something has now shifted in the balance of forces that shapes the process of decision-making inside Omni. Good graphic sense seems to have been talked into the ground by manic enthusiasm, and the result is large blobs of saturated red, with absurdly distracting (and unneeded) levels of visual contrast.

The weakening of graphic standards is likely to continue, because we are now hearing a somewhat manic (and paternalistic) logic from inside Omni. Ethan rationalizes the graphic shouting (loud red blobs) by telling us:

"we want them to really stand out and hit you over the head. Like a rock, sort of. Hmm."

Well ... even pale gray numbers draw our attention to unread email pretty quickly. There's no need to shout. Omni customers are adults.

Graphics is something which Omni has always done well. Don't let yourselves be talked out of that.

Last edited by RobTrew; 2007-11-11 at 02:40 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobTrew View Post
Something has now shifted in the balance of forces that shapes the process of decision-making inside Omni. Good graphic sense seems to have been talked into the ground by manic enthusiasm, and the result is large blobs of saturated red, with absurdly distracting (and unneeded) levels of visual contrast.
...
Well ... even pale gray numbers draw our attention to unread email pretty quickly. There's no need to shout. Omni customers are adults.
While I agree that the initial red color was unnecessarily intense, I don't agree the use of color other than pale grey is "shouting". I think Omni does not have to do away with color other than pale grey altogether for the number badges to achieve good graphic design. Omni uses color effectively in OmniPlan and OmniDazzle. I think they will in OF as well.

I find the visual cue of different colors to distinguish different types of items very helpful.
 
Red badges in a partially implemented features in an alpha version of a product, plus a single forum post, hardly constitute a cataclysmic shift in the balance of power within a company.

The history of the OF alpha has been that new features show up with roughly designed interfaces which are then polished. Anyone remember what the icons for flagging looked like initially?

Having the feature arrive at the end of the week just gives us more time to stew about it before the refinements happen.

In the case of the badges, the colors are communicating information. Red for overdue; orange for due soon. Those colors match the (default) colors of the corresponding actions, which ties them together. I can accept that there could be a more subtle way of delivering the overdue/soon information, but a single number doesn't seem to suffice. Thoughts?
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dhm2006 View Post
While I agree that the initial red color was unnecessarily intense, I don't agree the use of color other than pale grey is "shouting". I think Omni does not have to do away with color other than pale grey altogether for the number badges to achieve good graphic design. Omni uses color effectively in OmniPlan and OmniDazzle. I think they will in OF as well.

I find the visual cue of different colors to distinguish different types of items very helpful.
I am glad this topic was brought-up. I too find sheer pleasure by using Omni apps to a great extend due to beautiful design. I am actually shifting from Notebook (which I consider a much more feature reach app) to Onmi Outliner to a great extent for this same reason.

That being said, I do as well find value in some sort of color cue to indicate different states of the action, and totally agree that there is no need for them 'to shout' at us... doing my to dos it's ultimately my responsibility and the app does a good job at easily letting me know what they are. So I would support a more subtle color distinction as well,but keep the functionality.

Thanks.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobTrew View Post
The weakening of graphic standards is likely to continue, because we are now hearing a somewhat manic (and paternalistic) logic from inside Omni. Ethan rationalizes the graphic shouting (loud red blobs) by telling us:

"we want them to really stand out and hit you over the head. Like a rock, sort of. Hmm."
We need to continue to recognize that we are using ALPHA software and we are a part of developing this product. Again and again, Omni shows that they are listening and responding to user feedback. I found Ethan's style humorous. If I worked for Omni and someone called a post manic and paternalistic, I would be less likely to participate in the forums and slip back behind the curtain into the Wizard of Oz style of programming. This open process is far better. I for one will have patience and trust in the process.

Steve

Last edited by steve; 2007-11-11 at 10:28 AM..
 
I am in complete agreement with Ethan!

If something is due in two days... I want to do it before the due date, orange.
If I missed the due date... this is a klaxon! I need to either contact the people I am working with to let them know that now their process is going to stall because of my stall... change the due date... or get it done.

Personally... I love the klaxon.
I wouldn't be opposed for a preference to change the color for others who's design sensibilities are opposed to it.
I would keep the red color.

For the first time in my life, I may actually keep the agreements with myself with those numbers to help me focus on what I have told myself will be done at a certain time.

As David Allen says... you either need to do something, or renegotiate with yourself whether it is something that you still want to do. But not just leave it there in the nexus of mush. (loosely paraphrased)

Those numbers are not the same category as... emails that have arrived to read. Those red numbers are a wakeup call for me to get those items done.
 
The way we typically work on design issues like this is that we mock up an idea for how something might look, then we implement that idea in the application to see how we like it. If we aren't satisfied, we go back and try something else. (Sometimes this process takes a lot of rounds; sometimes it would take an infinite number of rounds if we let it, so we have to say "good enough for this release" and move onto the next problem.)

With a more traditional development cycle, all of this would happen without you noticing; but with our more open "sneaky peek" hourly builds of OmniFocus and OmniWeb, you all get access to this stuff at the same time as we do. This means that you have the opportunity to weigh in with your feedback before we've all finished our rounds of internal review, but it also means that you have to put up with works-in-progress which haven't gone through any rounds of internal review. :)

We really value the opportunity to get your early feedback, so we ask for your patience as we experiment!
 
Given how difficult it is to persuade developers to make big changes to the UI once it has already hit the streets, documentation written, etc., I think "the Omni Way" of letting us provide some constructive feedback before it is all set in stone is absolutely fantastic!
 
 


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