Suggesting subtle visual improvements for R1

My understanding is that R1 isn’t going to be a huge visual departure from BeOS, which is fine as BeOS/Haiku as it is today, IMHO still looks pretty great (especially with the new icons!) The idea of thread then, is to suggest small changes which could improve the overall look and/or consistency of Haiku visually (ie. make it look better without going as far or as wrong as Zeta did). I have five:

  • Maintain wallpaper from start up right through to shut down. Right now when loading the desktop and shutting down/restarting, the user selected wallpaper starts with/switches to the default solid blue background. I don’t know how technically feasible this is, seeing as almost every OS/desktop environment does it the way Haiku currently does, but it would be nice and consistent if the user selected wallpaper was maintained at all times.

  • Change the highlighted menu options from grey to blue. It’s pretty hard to read black text against the dark grey background and the shade of grey itself is pretty mid-1990s. Blue with perhaps a slight gradient like GNOME’s Clearlooks has could help make the desktop be more legible and look more modern.

  • Soften the harsh lines, smooth some of those rough edges. Tabs for example could do with being a little more rounded, the bolded text ditched and with selected tabs a different shade of grey to unselected ones. Buttons could change shade or attain a glow on mouse over. The beveled window borders could be made less obvious and the key emblems in menus given a more modern (vectorised?) look.

  • Include some desktop wallpapers. Perhaps closer to the final release, another competition similar to the icons one could be held?

  • Desktop icons placement fixed. It’s pretty messy at the moment. “Clean up” is pretty hopeless as far as both aesthetics and organisation are concerned.

Also, I know plenty of people will argue with me on this, but I hope Haiku never includes native theming support, leaving theming to third parties. As Mac OS X demonstrates, the best argument against theming is having a fantastic default theme.