(In)stalled?

The Installer icon could use differently colored arrows to communicate the progress of the installation process.

Installer icon with arrows indicating status

Multiple simultaneous installations would have to be aggregated.

Icon badges might be better due to color perception differences. Yes, I’m aware of the large percentage of people with color blindness.

Installer icon with badges indicating status

As suggested in the comments, the orange pie progress badge would indeed fill as the installation proceeded. The widget is already used in Mail and the forthcoming Safari 3.0 release with 10.5.

Notification methods such as Dock icons and Growl bezels will be all the more useful when virtual desktops spaces are introduced with 10.5.

11 thoughts on “(In)stalled?”

  1. Nice idea.

    I was thinking about making the status of dock items visible:

    -are they “permanent”, i.e. remain in the dock when I close the application

    or

    - temporary, i.e. will be removed from the dock when I close the application

    I think this could be solved with a second separator in the dock, like the one that separates the recycle bin and the minimized windows at the moment: Temporary Icons get their own category and dragging them from the temporary to the permanent side would change their status, the same would be true the other way round.

    This would avoid the ambiguity you currently get when you drag a running, permanent dock icon out of the dock: It remains there, but vanishes when you close the application, a behaviour which you cannot anticiapate just from looking at the dock.

    My two cents. Anyway, your suggestion for improving the interface of the installer is great, I love these details.

  2. Don’t Apple’s UI Guidelines mandate not using color to differentiate things like application status in Dock icons?

    If so, then the first set of suggestions is out. But I like the second set.

  3. As one of the 12% of white males suffering from some degree of color-blindness, I would heartily encourage that color-based status notification NOT be used unless it is used in conjunction with some a very clearly distinguishable set of differentiated icons as well. Sheesh. Come on. 12% of white males is not a small minority, but you’d be surprised at how little attention is paid to the GUI experience of us sad-eyed lads.

  4. As a fellow member of the “12% set,” I concur completely with Wayne. Don’t even get me started on colored “gems”…

  5. “Never use color as your primary status indicator” is right up there with “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” as a basic life lesson. About 7% of all people on the planet have some sort of problem discerning differences between different pairs of colors.

    However, if you insist on using color, check whether the difference between your signal states can be figured out when you have your screen set to ‘White On Black’ in the Mac OS X Universal Access’ control panel. For most color visual problems, a significant difference in *luminance* between colors is often enough to let a person with colorblindness sort out what’s going on.

    While you’re in the Universal Access control panel, don’t forget to check out how your design looks at high contrast — that’ll tell you if people with reduced visual acuity can make out your interface.

    The best plan for any signalling system is to provide two or even three channels of information — for example, you can change color, state, position, and size quite easily. Add in sound (make it optional to the user and never assume that the user has their sound on) and motion, and you’ve got a lot to choose from.

    Personally, I’d go with a Growl notification. I don’t want to have to pull up the Dock and find the target icon amongst the 30 or so items I have in my Dock, just to see how the install is progressing. Currently, I just Command-Tab to bring the installer to the front to check.

  6. Apart from the issues others have mentioned with only using colour as an identifier, Orange also is often used to signify a warning, so perhaps not the best colour for progress.

    How about blue?

  7. An indicator is needed saying that the Installer is waiting for user input (password, OK button click, etc.). I suppose bouncing the icon in the dock is used for that though.

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