TypePad, which hosts this blog and many others, gave some of us a not-altogether-welcome surprise present earlier this week: a brand-new editor for composing posts. I hadn't asked for it, I'm not wild about it, and I'm particularly annoyed that I had to discover it by accident and then stumble around trying to decipher it. (I tend to glaze over when presented with a clutter of icons. I'm a word person through and through.) It took me an irritatingly long time to find where they'd hidden three basic blogging functions--categories, posting status, and trackbacks. Yes, it's easier to include a hypertext link, but the rest of the interface is slow and kludgey, and for all the "upgrading," it's still not possible to import text from MSWord.
On the other hand: many, many new colors in the palette! One hundred forty-four! Why? No clue. I mean, we're not Leonardo here. Wouldn't Crayola's classic 64 colors have sufficed? Personally, I'd be satisfied with four (black, red, green, blue)--in exchange for faster keyboard response.
But then I noticed that--unlike in the old Compose editor--each color had a name that revealed itself when I moused over it. Now you've got my attention.
I moused over all 144 colors and arrived at this conclusion: TypePad created the palette and then realized--uh-oh!--that the colors needed names. So they assigned a few colors at random to a few interns who'd been idling around the water cooler, and then uploaded the color names without cross-checking, consulting a dictionary, or indeed applying common sense.
Apparently some of the interns were not only unpaid, they were also color-blind.
Let's take a look, shall we? I boldfaced the color names for emphasis until I got weary of all the interface problems and just gave up.
This is obsidian, coded 111111. You may notice that it's very, very close to black (000000). Identical, maybe.
Pumpkin? More like chamois or mustard.
Paprika? More like olive or dark khaki.
Here's Grape. And here's Hot Pink. Switched at birth?
In what orchard would this be considered Grapefruit? Looks more like Peach to me.
Here's what I mean about randomness: We've got
Sea Blue (373E68)
Sea Blue (00407F).
We've got two shades named Gray (A2A2A2 and 737373)--one medium, one dark. And also shades named Light Gray and Dark Gray.
Wouldn't you expect a color called Spring Frost to be icy-pale? Nope.
This is what Spring Frost looks like. Like "Kelly green" on a normal color wheel.
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I know fog. This is not what
looks like. No, it's what "turquoise" looks like.
This is way too dark and grayed-out for a color labeled simply Green.
This is also what Typepad calls, simply, Green.
TypePad calls this color Dark Forrest. Not bad, but misspelled. (One R in forest, unless it's Forrest Gump.)
Then there's the ocean of soundalike maritime names: Sea Mist, Sea Foam, Seaweed ... and two colors labeled Sea Blue.
Some color names are fanciful: Aqua Lung! Breakwater! Mildew! Vapor!
And others are so pathetically pedestrian as to be meaningless: Gray Turquoise, Blue Gray, Light Blue Gray, Green Gray, and the truly conflicted Yellow Gray Green.
The bottom line: If you're going to go all fancy with color names, be consistently fancy, with a clear theme and a unified point of view, as Lululemon and OPI do. If you're going to be straightforward and descriptive, do that consistently.
(Oh, and TypePad? How about fixing the color function so that when you highlight some copy, only that copy changes to the color selected? Right now the whole line changes color, even if it hasn't been highlighted. But only sometimes. Which is why I gave up on displaying the colors in this post.)
(P.S. The new Split Extended Entry feature appears not to be working, either.) It apparently was on Delay.
(Update: Somehow it escaped my attention previously, but this is what TypePad calls Yellow.)