For this design decisions post, I want to focus on one small detail that we believe makes a big difference.
Below the each note or email you’ll see “Posted by…” or “Sent by…” attribution lines. Originally we had that text in a dark grey (#666):
We didn’t think it was easy enough to spot the name so we tried a lighter grey (#999):
Now it’s too light. We tried a variety of colors and shades of grey, but they were either too close to black, too close to white, or they stood out too much.
Then I went back to a technique I used to use way back in the days of designing UIs for FileMaker Pro databases: Use a light golden color. Internally we call this an “uncolor.” It’s barely a color, but it’s not a shade of grey. Here’s what it looks like:
The light gold stands out just enough without standing out too much. It’s a color that’s not colorful. It’s subtle, but we believe it does the job well.
This “Posted by…” information isn’t as important as the primary content so it doesn’t need to pop, but it should be easy to spot if you’re curious. By focusing on a tonal value other than grey, you can quickly pick out these attribution lines from among the black text. It provides another layer of detail without clutter or camouflage.
We hope you like the little details as much as we do.