Light the App Bar or Not?

So, I promised to blog Rich’s UI mockups for the OpenSocial UI changes we’re planning, and even though posts about what we actually do here at the ‘Lab get way less traffic and comments than fun posts about which O/S would win in a fight, I’m keeping that promise.

Rich has made a lot of progress. For one, he’s scrapped the blue hues that currently grace Connect. We’ve actually had a few people wish aloud that we’d kept the old colorscheme. So, welcome back white, gray and red. Here’s an updated version of the OpenSocial app directory page:

Also, I teased new navigation. We’ve moved away from tabs to a left-hand nav that can be updated.

Rich cranked out a new-and-improved (we hope) home page today. The content will be editable, portal-style, allowing the user to add OpenSocial apps.

So, to let the user know that the apps can be moved around the page, mini/maximized and removed entirely, these options will appear when the user hovers over the app bar.

The question of the day is whether the bar itself should change color when the user pauses the mouse on it.

I say no, based on what other app containers do. Plus, I think changing the color is distracting and not entirely obvious, and it’s more Javascript work.

I think Rich agrees, but I figured why not ask all my pals in blogtown. After all, some of you may actually use this app bar at some point.

So, do you think the app bar, i.e. the bar at the top of the OpenSocial app, should change color when you hover over it to say “Hey buddy, I’m ready for you to do something to me” or are we correct in thinking that’s a bit too much?

Find the comments and help shape the future. The image pages over at Skitch have comments too.




  1. While I am no pro at UX and such, as a plain old user I prefer less-is-more. I think it is more useful to highlight something that is hard to find. (For example, we do a lot of web-based internal reports that are difficult to read. We have a guy in house who adds striping to the tables ( and it makes them easier to read. ) The app bar is already set apart by shape, color, etc., so I am not sure setting an active one apart from the others would add too much.

    It sounds like I am in the minority, but I also prefer these posts to the OS wars — although I did load up a light-weight instance of Ubuntu HH to see what you were all talking about. 😉 Fast and easy + less is more = good stuff. You are right, though, it is a time sucker to get it up to get-it-done status. I am back to dull XP on a Dell.

  2. We want to hear from anyone with an opinion, all users, especially since you're validating what we thought anyway 🙂 I'm not a fan of stuff lighting up when you hover over it for no obvious reason. Showing the tools on hover is good enough methinks.

    I don't know if you're in the minority. From a comments perspective, certain posts draw crickets, while others get 25 comments. It's just funny to me.

    Glad to hear you tried out Ubuntu. I'm getting used to it, not at all tempted to go back to XP, even with extra effort for some things and lost features.

  3. Naw…the color change is just distracting and doesn't even add entertainment value. Now, if you could get the bar to jiggle or dance, that would be something!

    Okay, so I'm a little silly here, but my point is the same…spend your effort on the stuff that adds value. Not much value in changing the bar's color IMHO.

  4. OK, so I'll add dancing and jiggling. Good to know.

    Thanks for the input. It's a good day when the choices you made turn out to be good ones, at least based on a small sampling.

  5. I vote for no color change in the app bar. I don't think it's worth the effort.

    I do like the return to the old color scheme and the left nav.

    Where is the Oracle News feed coming from? Or is that just a sample of the fancy tricks coming with OpenSocial?

    I also like the current Search functionality that lets me search in users, ideas, etc. Hope that is staying.

  6. Glad you like the changes.

    The news feed is TBD, but we figured we'd pull from press releases, maybe Google News and/or Digg for “oracle”, maybe OraNA for blogs, anyway a munge of sources.

    The current search will be replaced by uber/Google-style search, but the results will be grouped so you can see matching results by object. I think you'll like this better, and it will help with search and discovery.

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