Red Light, Green Light

One nice feature of some Android phones is the ability for apps to choose from a few different colors for status light notifications. Facebook flashes the LED in blue and Evernote flashes green to notify you a note has been synced — subtle touches that convey useful information about app activity.

Along these lines, it would be nice if the Google Talk app used a red light when you receive a message while your status is set to Away and green when Available. I feel comfortable waiting to respond to messages when my status is set to Away. You would have to turn your screen on to see which app triggered the light if you have several that use the same color, but it’s no different from every app using the default LED color.


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.

GrowlMail Notifications – Now in Technicolor!

While waiting for the updated and improved MailAppetizer release, I’ve been using GrowlMail, part of Growl, Christopher Forsythe et al.’s open notification framework for Mac OS X. Given the conceptual similarity, it was easy to adapt my MailAppetizer priority coloring idea to the Music Video notification design:

GrowlMail Notifications with Priority Level Indication

The three colors would map to the three priority levels that can be assigned to outgoing messages using Mail 2.0’s built-in functionality (there are actually five X-Priority levels), decreasing in visual prominence as the priority level lowers.

On a somewhat related note (look at the image), Path Finder 4 is going to rock my socks.