Author Topic: New file tab interface harder to read  (Read 2807 times)

rowbearto

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New file tab interface harder to read
« on: May 04, 2013, 11:56:31 pm »
Hi:

I'm finding myself still preferring the old tab interface because I think it is easier to read.

The new tab interface has a dark gradient in it, which gets rid of contrast between the file names and the background.

I think SE developers should consider giving the tab a lighter background without the gradient which adds some darkness, removing contrast.

I've attached a screenshot to show you what I mean.

Thanks!
Rob

Rodney

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Re: New file tab interface harder to read
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 12:53:59 am »
I have also been thinking about this potential issue. When I get a chance, I am going to experiment with some different ideas (including yours).

We are actually using Windows system colors and a custom gradient from base (nearly white) to caption color for the active tab. I would like to get rid of the gradient all together if possible, but then you have a darker background. Might have to then increase the weight of the font a bit to make it stand out. Getting rid of the gradient would probably make high-contrast them users happier too I'm guessing.

You cannot really imagine which thing will look best until you see it on the screen. Reminds me of the difficulty picking out paint for a room.

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rowbearto

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Re: New file tab interface harder to read
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 08:54:05 pm »
Hi Rodney:

How come if you get rid of the gradient you need a darker background color?  Can't you use a lighter background color for the tab?  Can you make it the same background color as on the old tab interface?

Thanks,
Rob

Rodney

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Re: New file tab interface harder to read
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 09:08:28 pm »
Unlike tool window tabgroups, we need 3 colors for MDI document tabs. On Windows with a default theme we have:
Active - has keyboard focus, MDI subwindow blue gradient taken from Windows system palette
Current - does not have keyboard focus but is current tab, base/white
Non-current - not the current tab, gray gradient

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rowbearto

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Re: New file tab interface harder to read
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 09:45:02 pm »
I played around to understand the 3 different colors.

For the non-current window - why not make it the same color as the non-current window from the old tab group?

Also, I wonder why do we need 3 different colors? 

What is wrong with making "Active" and "Current" the same color? 

I found that I could only make a tab the "current" color if I clicked on another application, like Chrome, or if I change focus to the "Preview" window.  But that base/white color that is used for current is nice and easy to read, so why waste it on the "current" window when focus is on a different window and we're not really looking at it anyway?  Why not make both the "Active" and "Current" the same base/white that we currently see for "current"?  I don't see why it makes a difference to change the "Active" color to the "Current" color just because we moved focus to another window?  If having this 3rd color takes away having a nice clear readable tab for the non-current window - which we also need to be able read easily - then I don't think it is worth it.

I also played around in Google Chrome, toggling the active/inactive tabs and looked at the difference.  Google Chrome does not distinguish between "current" and "active" (I know it is a different than an editor with many tool windows, but still).  The inactive tab in Chrome does not have any gradient (although it is a little darker).

I also looked at the tabs in "Beyond Compare 3", another tool I use very much.  No gradient in active or inactive tabs.

In Visual Studio 2008, I had an active window and then clicked on another application, and the "active" color did not change to "current" - they were the same.  Same thing happened in VS2008 when I changed focus to the "build" window from the main editor windows - the tab color did not change.  I don't think it needs to for SE either?

If you free up what you currently have for the "Active" window (the blue gradient), in order to use the base/white for both Active/Current, then you could use this blue (without the gradient) for the non-current windows?

rowbearto

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Re: New file tab interface harder to read
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2013, 11:50:43 pm »
I downloaded beta3, I see the gradient is still there on the inactive tabs.

Probably you just did not get to this yet, hopefully in a future beta?

Maybe just getting rid of the gradient, and making these tabs grey would make them easier to read? 

It is a little annoying when I'm hunting for the file I want to look at, which is inactive, to have that darker gradient at the bottom of the tab.

I notice no other programs with tabs, like Chrome, Visual Studio, and Beyond Compare have gradients in their inactive tabs.