[Bug 280269] [NEW] icons differ only in color

Martin von Gagern martin.vgagern at gmx.net
Wed Oct 8 15:46:02 UTC 2008

Public bug reported:

Binary package hint: knetworkmanager

I just noticed that knetworkmanager in Intrepid does display its globe
icons in two different colors, green for connected and gray for
unconnected. Otherwise the icons look the same, with similar intensity
and same object depiceted. I think this is a problem for several

1. People tend to associate meaning with the objects they see, i.e. "globe" instead of "green coloured globe centered at equator and prime meridian, with light continents on darker ground".
I saw a globe, moved the mouse over it, learned that it was network manager in connected state. Next time around, I saw a globe, found out my network to be disconnected, and thus concluded erroneously that there was no state expressed by the icon. I simply didn't remember the color of the icon, as for me the mental term "globe" seemed sufficient to remember this.

2. A considerable percentage of Kubuntu users is probably to some degree
color blind. As slight color blindness won't impact computer use in
general, they are unlikely to have special accessibility features
activated. So they wouldn't have special icon themes installed, and thus
have to use tool tips in order to find out the current state.

3. The network manager is usually pretty close to a corner of the
screen, an area where on some monitors and in some working environments
color might begin to depend on viewing angle. So you learn not to put
too much trust in colors in these regions, and thus won't notice the
difference easily.

All this would be solved by a symbol with more distinctions than just
its color. A red bar in front of the globe would be the obvious
solution, but the more creative people might think of something more

I guess fixing this for the intrepid release might be a problem, so long
after the user interface freeze. On the other hand, the main Ubuntu docs
stay unaffected, only Kubuntu would be affected.

** Affects: knetworkmanager (Ubuntu)
     Importance: Undecided
         Status: New

icons differ only in color
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