Friday, August 11, 2006

Which Color When? (Part 1)

The problems of selecting color schemes in Office 2003 ...

"As you probably know by now, each of the Office 2007 programs (both classic UI and new UI) have the ability to render themselves in several different color schemes.

What determines which color scheme is used when, and what are the defaults?

Before discussing Office 2007, let's jump back and talk about Office 2003 for a bit of background and history.

Office 2003 was primarily designed to run on top of Windows XP. Windows XP has three "themed" color schemes which you can switch between in the Display control panel: Blue, Olive, and Silver. In addition to these, you can turn off theming altogether and use Classic mode (a Windows 95-like appearance) or High Contrast mode (an appearance designed for maximum contrast in the UI to help those with low vision.)

So the decision was made to have Office 2003 try to always match the OS color scheme. If you were using blue, Office looked blue; if you were using olive, Office looked olive. This work was done primarily through an internal data structure called the "color table."

Office 2003's UI is rendered on-the-fly based on entries in the color table. Each color table entry represents a specific color to be used for an element of one of the Office programs. There are around 1500 defined colors, each of them is chosen by a designer for each of the Office color schemes. This means 1500 colors for blue, 1500 for olive, 1500 for silver, etc."   (Continued via Jensen Harris)               [Usability Resources]

Excel 2003 - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Excel 2003


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