Revisiting the Raven Graphite skins, round 2

June 11th, 2009

Release 5.2 of Substance look-and-feel made a few visual changes to the Raven Graphite skins, but these did not address the overall usability of these skins – especially the contrast between the background and the controls, and the background / foreground contrast of text components.

The latest drop of version 5.3dev (code named Reykjavik) features significant overhaul of both Raven Graphite skins, aiming to address the contrast usability issues raised by the users.

Here is a screenshot of a sample application under the Raven Graphite skin in the latest stable 5.2 release:

And here is the same application under the 5.3dev drop:

Here is another screenshot of the same application under the old Raven Graphite visuals:

and the new visuals under the latest 5.3dev drop:

The main changes are:

  • Removing the watermark that contributed significant visual noise
  • Darker border color for controls, bringing more delineation to check boxes and radio buttons
  • Darker background color for text components, resulting in better readability

The same changes were made for the Raven Graphite Glass skin. Here is the sample application under the stable 5.2 release:

and here is the same application under the latest 5.3dev drop:

In addition to the visual changes above, the Raven Graphite Glass skin has removed the glass arc gradient from the toolbars and added a two-tone separator to delineate the title bar / menu bar from the rest of the application content.

To illustrate the visual difference in a larger content, here is a screenshot of a big UI under the stable 5.2 release (click to see the full-size view):

and the same application under the 5.3dev branch:

If you want to take the new visuals for a spin, click on the WebStart button below and change the skin to Raven Graphite and Raven Graphite Glass from the “Skins” menu:

You’re more than welcome to take the latest 5.3dev drop for a spin and leave your comments.