Monday, August 14, 2006

Which Color When? (Part 2)

Part 2 of Which Color When articles...

"On Thursday, I wrote about how Office 2003 renders the user interface using a table of several thousand colors.

Some of you commented that we're crazy to do so much work. Perhaps, but keep in mind that I'm not just talking about the menus and toolbars; every color used in the interface of every program, from Outlook to Visio, is contained in the color table. I believe there are 75 or so just for the Outlook calendar view.

Back to the Future

Today, the Office 2007 story. Flash forward to the lazy summer days of 2004, in which we were first developing a sense of what kind of visuals we wanted for the new UI to complement the interaction designs we'd been working on since the fall of 2003.

It was clear to our designers that in order to make a beautiful, rich, highly-detailed UI that we would need a lot more than just colors. We would need to render the UI based on images with alpha channels (per-pixel translucency), the ability to layer effects and images on top of one another, and the ability to crossfade and animate smoothly between images.

The graphics platform on which we built the Ribbon supported many of these capabilities already, so the developers went to work building the Ribbon and visuals architecture to allow us to fine-tune the look as we went."   (Continued via Jensen Harris)               [Usability Resources]

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