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Please provide a solid-white-on-solid-black theme

asked 2015-02-28 03:15:51 +0300

ScumCoder gravatar image

updated 2015-02-28 09:01:23 +0300

I really miss the AMOLED screen of my N9. It looked very bright and vivid even outdoors during sunny day. The IPS screen of Jolla is, sadly, no comparison for me. I don't care about better color reproduction or other advantages of IPS (I'm not doing graphical design on my phone).

But while Jolla hardware is, sadly, a given fact, the visibility (and ergo usability) also depends a lot on the fonts and color themes. N9 used plain solid black background and solid white text:

image description

This was just so cool. I could easily read even small text in almost any situation: on the go, at long range, at direct sunlight, at pitch dark, etc. I know that it was part of the design (N9 was very sleek and completely black, so combined with the solid black background it made it almost impossible to see where the screen ends and the housing starts), but still it looked great and (what is infinitely more important) was very practical and convenient.

I beg you to give me an opportunity to switch back to this high-contrast style.

I simply can't understand why you thought that low-contrast text (light blue on slightly less light blue, grey on dark etc.) would be a good idea. (No offense, I'm no GUI designer. Maybe you actually had a good reason for this design decision that I'm not aware of). The fact is, for me Jolla is unusable outdoors during bright sunlight. I actually have to stop, turn my back to the sun so that the phone is in my shadow, put the phone against my face, and then I can read the message/caller's name/whatever.

Of course this won't change the screen back to AMOLED and bring me the same user experience that I had with N9, but it would be much better than now. What I want to say is, if you mostly designed the UI in accordance with your desire to stand out of the herd ("we are unlike"), then it's bad. It's the usability that really matters. Even if the color scheme of your operating system's user interface is identical to the color scheme of some other operating system's user interface.

Another thing that I have is font size. Let me quote a user named r0kk3rz:

Normally I wouldnt suggest copying features from other operating systems, especially not from Microsoft, but this time they've come up with a reasonable solution.

I do not own a WP phone and I think I'll never do (IMO the whole OS is just crap), but eesh, their huge fonts is exactly the thing my strained eyes are yearning for so much:

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For me, this is a (very rare) time when Microsoft did something right. They took an already mature concept of solid white text on solid black background, and added huge fonts on top of it. I find the result fantastic.

Now, I do understand that changing the font size is actually a very complicated task since the whole layout just falls apart. That's why I'm not asking you to implement it - I'm just saying that this design is what I consider an example of good usability. But please, please give me back my solid black background and solid white font. I do not care that my phone will look less "cool" or "special".

P.S. This whole contrast issue was already raised several times:

lhorga complaining about poor visibility in direct sunlight - 7 months old (asked in June 2014), commenters mostly discuss various screen types and not UI color schemes

mcantsin complaining about "grey text on black background" and calls the text "unreadable" - 8 months old (asked in May 2014), commenters mostly discuss other things like mapping apps

jsiren complaining about "almost unreadable" font - 1 year and 2 months old (asked in December 2013), there were a couple of comments and suggestions and then the thread died

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Couldn't agree more. I had to find a solid black background to replace the default ambiences after two hours of using the phone. I still want a brighter text color and bigger fonts. Ambience color selector isn't enough. High contrast white-on-black (or better, the ability to choose any two colors for foreground and background) is essential for me. An adjustable font size would be awesome as well.

jaacoppi ( 2015-02-28 08:11:06 +0300 )edit

The biggest problem is that the default font is too thin, it's almost anorexic! It would be more readable if it would be only a bit bolder.

Venty ( 2015-03-02 16:45:20 +0300 )edit

forget my comment

pawel ( 2017-05-03 06:59:05 +0300 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2015-02-28 09:54:29 +0300

MikaN gravatar image

Is there any help from this: https://together.jolla.com/question/11949/black-and-white-ambiences/ there you can find 'Black & White ambience' RPM available from Openrepos, called 'All Black Ambience'.

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Yes, that B&W ambiance is great! Should help ScumCoder a bit with at least the colour scheme he wants.

bilgy_no1 ( 2015-02-28 10:08:35 +0300 )edit

Thank you, I searched TJC by "high contrast" keywords and missed this post. Well, yet again I posted something that was asked and even answered more than a year ago... Gotta improve my searching skills

ScumCoder ( 2015-02-28 10:36:26 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-28 10:21:08 +0300

bilgy_no1 gravatar image

You raise a very important point! In the answer above, you can see there is already a B&W Ambiance available. However, that will not solve everything.

For outdoor readability, the screen quality is very low. This is not about AMOLED vs IPS, since there are IPS screens that are perfectly readable in sunlight. The unit in the Jolla seems to be a low quality, el cheapo screen.

But you are perfectly right in suggesting changes to the UI. The font is often very small and looks very fragile (thin lines). It's very classy, but together with the low resolution, we end up with barely legible letters in bright conditions.

So to add to your question: is it possible to change the font size easily?

One related point I would like to add is the way the browser handles fonts. Many sites produce only tiny letters, and scaling is very poor. Maybe it's better in the new browser UI (not yet updated).

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answered 2017-05-02 18:09:32 +0300

ScumCoder gravatar image

Iijoki ( added an option to increase the font size. Using it causes the UI layout to fall apart (like I predicted), but despite that the huge fonts make Jolla somewhat more usable. I am satisfied so I close my question.

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answered 2017-05-02 19:38:23 +0300

Spam Hunter gravatar image

updated 2017-05-03 02:06:58 +0300

I thought I'd reopen the thread, as my Ambience Allblack package can hardly be called or marked as RELEASED.....the reason I say that, is because, after all this time, I've realised I did not see the woods for the trees....and here's why;

IF you remove ALL ambience packages and empty out a few specific folders, you'll see the device naturally has a Black and White 'theme'.

So, for any and all purists out there, you still won't be satisfied, as the basic Black and White theme (pre-ambience) is not perfect and in many ways, behaves the same way my Ambience-AllBlack package does, where some of the whites are just not white, they are grey, making them a little easier to read against Webview backgrounds like in Jolla-Email.

Here's what I've just tried with my other J1;

removed all ambiences via pkcon (example: 'pkcon remove ambience-allblack ambience-poppy-red ambience-black' )

I also emptied: '/usr/share/ambience/' (devel-su rm -rf /usr/share/ambience/*) <----note asterisk!

clean out: '.cache/ambienced/com/jolla/components/bgimages' <------empty this folder out - remember, we are removing all trace of ambiences! If you find you still seem to have a wallpaper active on your homescreen, then go to '.local/share/ambienced/wallpapers/' and remove what you see.

Once you've cleaned out the above, restart lipstick or reboot device (devel-su systemctl --user restart lipstick.service), go back to terminal/ssh which ever you prefer and enter the following 4 lines, one by one; (#FFFFFF = WHITE)

dconf write /desktop/jolla/theme/color/primary "'#FFFFFF'" 

dconf write /desktop/jolla/theme/color/secondary "'#FFFFFF'" 

dconf write /desktop/jolla/theme/color/highlight "'#FFFFFF'"

dconf write /desktop/jolla/theme/color/secondaryHighlight "'#FFFFFF'"

Then, for extra effect or simply for tired old eyes like mine, increase the Font size (Settings/Display/Font)

You should see the effects immediately. You should notice there is nothing in the ambience pulldown menu, there is nothing in Settings/Ambience.

The device also feels faster......make up your own mind on that one, as I have only basic apps installed and lots of storage/RAM to spare.....YMMV.


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Asked: 2015-02-28 03:15:51 +0300

Seen: 1,450 times

Last updated: May 03 '17