People expect the backlight colours on the unity launcher to mean something.

Davor davor.buday at
Thu May 26 18:07:37 UTC 2011

I must agree - first time i saw Unity launcher i thought about how ugly it  
looks. That impression is mostly result of those backgroung colours. Not  
just that - icons are too variegated. All together looks frivolous.
Unity needs more serious look.

Dana Wed, 25 May 2011 12:11:38 +0200, Jo-Erlend Schinstad  
<joerlend.schinstad at> napisao/napisala je:

> I've tested Unity on some innocent users. By that, I mean people who
> have little or no experience with Ubuntu or other distros and aren't
> coloured by politics or expectations from previous versions of Ubuntu.
> The two most common questions I get is 1) what does that blue point on
> the Ubuntu button mean and 2) what do the different colours in the
> launcher mean? Once I've explained that blue dot, they all say "oh,
> ok" and that's the end of it. It does require an explanation though,
> and I think that means it isn't obvious enough. The identifier showing
> which window is calling for attention, certainly is not obvious
> enough.
> But I had no answer to what the different background colours on the
> launcher meant. I had to investigate it. It seems that the background
> colour is chosen by the most dominant foreground colour of the icon.
> Firefox, Nautilus, Xchat and Ubuntu One all have orange as a dominant
> colour, so they get an orange background. Gcalctool, Gedit and Totem
> have grey as a dominant foreground colour, so they get a grey
> background. This doesn't seem like a good solution to me. People,
> including myself, expect the background colour to have some sort of
> meaning. Since I didn't have the answer myself, I thought it'd be
> interesting to see what people would guess those colours to mean. Most
> had no idea and had no basis to even make a guess, but I did get some
> replies from current users of Ubuntu. These are some of the answers
> I've received, from various people:
> * It depends on the vendor. Free software gets one colour and
> proprietary apps get another.
> * It depends on the toolkit. Gtk apps get one colour and Qt-apps a
> different colour.
> * It depends on category. Office applications get a grey background
> colour and communication applications are orange.
> * It depends on Ubuntu One. Synced apps are orange and non-synced are  
> grey.
> I think these ideas are all interesting, mostly because absolutely
> no-one guessed the correct answer; that it's only aesthetics. It seems
> to me that this has to be reconsidered. I think I believe that the
> best solution is for all apps to have the same background colour when
> running and another when they're not running. Orange and grey seems to
> be fairly decent choices. I'm not sure about this. But I am completely
> convinced that the colours should either be the same for all apps or
> have a deducible meaning,
> Has this been discussed at the UDS? What are the current thoughts?
> Best regards,
> Jo-Erlend Schinstad

Davor Buday

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