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Old 04-28-2019, 02:14 AM   #70
White Tie
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Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
The internet might have been able to tell you that contrast is rather important for useability and accessibility - the "gray text on a slightly different gray background" you've got for the tracks' hardware inputs and the box that says "in" is, in that respect, bad. Like, failing most or all of the standard accessibility tests bad:

In v5 the track's monitoring status was almost invisible, which I'm pleased to see has changed here, but now you've done the same thing with text people have to be able to read. I have good eyesight and even I find it awkward.

The internet might also have been able to tell you that M, R, and S are much more communicative than three colored stripes as Evildragon mentioned above. I get that it's more stylish this way, but no. Please, no.
In an entire world of software that doesn't ask the internet's opinion about design, you're lambasting the guy who at least tried. Repeatedly.

Its a fundamentally impossible situation. You are are saying things as you see them, yet I am unable to respond without instantly becoming a man making the mistake of telling someone they are wrong on the internet. Which is a staggeringly bad idea. Standard procedure is to say thank you, say 'we will pass on your thoughts', totally condescend to you and then ignore you ...I don't do that.

But as an experiment, let's try this. I'll give you it straight up. Just this once...


You have misunderstood that website, both in what it trying to achieve and how well it achieves it. It is not possible to codify screen contrast based on numeric RGB values, to do so is to make assumptions bigger than the problem you are trying to solve. To describe them as 'standard accessibility tests' is a misunderstanding, I understand why you made it because lots of people repeat this stuff, but that doesn't make it true.

You mention the V5 track monitoring button while talking about contrast. Great, that's a perfect example, lets go with it. I am doing what is called 'spread contrast' which, in data-driven design, is where you allow some things to have low contrast to reduce their presence in the visual hierarchy. In theory, the lowest element in the hierarchy should have the lowest possible visual impact that can still pass usability testing, but I don't have the balls to try that and just go with 'quite low'. I will admit that button always seemed to low contrast to me, and made me nervous. The testing was done with a wide range of people, on a wide-ish range if screens, at different light levels, and the test was to very quickly tell me what the monitor status was. Not whether they liked it, just the facts.

It had a 100% pass rate.

Now, I'm not stupid enough to pretend that my testing was flawless, or that its results meant my design was flawless. I have been called arrogant, but the true arrogance would have been for me to ignore the results and just 'do what I felt like'. And you know what? I did. I bumped up the contrast a bit, because I just didn't have the balls. So: the thing you are holding up as an example of a contrast cockup is a contrast-increased version of a thing that smashed its usability testing.

Short of pure black & white, there is no contrast level that works for everyone. Everything is a compromise. It just is.


Are you persuaded? No, of course not. That's why I don't do what I just did, and no one else does either. Its possible that you're typing an angry reply already. I can't predict what approach you will take; that I'm inexperienced, that I'm incompetent, that I'm lying. If you believe those things, we cannot have a productive design relationship. Its just not going to happen. This just doesn't work

Let us imagine we were to continue this discussion, or if I were to join in the discussions about the routing button. Is there some point at which unanimity would be reached, and a utopian design that everyone liked and thought perfectly easy to use, had zero compromises and didn't just work well but looked like it was going to work well?

No. We've gone round this many many times, for many years. If you want to pretend we didn't then you are being dishonest; its all google-able. It happened. We tried. It didn't work.

We've done this before. Its entirely predictable. This is what happens next:

- I respond, some people don't like my answers, they call me arrogant or defensive. But what they mean is that they don't like it that I don't agree with them.

- People conflate from what some of them want to being 'the voice of the community'. Maybe they start a poll, or a petition. To prove that I'm not listening.

- People say that if I don't do what they want, they won't do the testing that I need. As punishment for me not listening.

This has all happened before, it will happen again, its all based on fundamental misunderstandings and while I maintain hope that we could find a solution to all of this, I'm not prepared to repeat the mistakes of the past by trying that which has previously failed.

We're not going to do design by committee on the forum
If you think that's because I'm an awful person and/or a terrible designer, so be it. I know that's not true, and I know we're going to have to agree to disagree, either me with you, or me with someone else. From my perspective its all the same thing.


One final Catch-22

If you reply endlessly to this post, you will be proving my point that discussions about design swamp testing threads.
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