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Re: Eliminating a couple of independent face definitions

From: John Yates
Subject: Re: Eliminating a couple of independent face definitions
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 22:55:03 -0500

On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM, Stephen J. Turnbull <address@hidden> wrote:

> The basic problem is that faces are not colors.  Faces are not fonts.
> (Where have I heard this before? ;-)  A face is a semantic component,
> intended to express meaning.  Common meanings should have a common
> expression.

Your argument assumes that users internalize strong associations from
the visuals of a face to very specific semantics.   Further you assume
that users expect faces to be reused consistently across modes based
on conformance to clear semantic models.  A corollary is that
introduction of a new semantic notion not only requires introduction a
new face but also requires that it be visually distinct.

Put another way you expect users to be conscious of distinct faces and
their detailed semantics.  My personal experience contracts that
picture.  I really have only two criteria on which I asses a set of
faces (either out of the box or as I tweak):

1) does the choice of visual (d)emphasis make sense?  are fundamental
structural elements easy to identify and follow? are points that
require my attention appropriately easy to recognize?  are less
important elements easy to skim/skip?

2) is the overall effect pleasing or jarring?  is there unity and
consistency in the use of colors and weights?  (often when first
experimenting with a new mode I feel that once again I am waging my
eternal battle against emacs "fruit salad")

So my mental association is not with any specific semantics of a
particular face but only with the extent to which, within a given
theme, it conveys visual emphasis or lack thereof.  An important
consequence is that I feel no great need to convey every new semantic
via a new, visually distinct face.


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