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I'm going to be working on enhancements to an existing desktop application, however, it's basically different shades of grey with some dark blue-grey. There are some icons with some color and that is about it. I've never seen a UI this bad before that I recall.

So is there anything I can do to improve the app or do I just continue working within the framework of the existing design? I don't know what would work much with grey in the color scheme.

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making use of grey-dients might help... –  Roger Attrill Nov 10 '11 at 16:09
    
@Roger groan ;) –  DA01 Nov 10 '11 at 16:31
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Colors can be great, but be sure to limit the amount of colors in your design to limit clashing/contrast issues/ect. Grey is used because it's safe from a UX perspective (but certainly not amazing!), in addition to being easy. –  Ben Brocka Nov 10 '11 at 19:32

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Most software UIs are gray. Why? You don't want the UI to be getting in the way of actual work.

It sounds like you feel the UI is bad because of the colors. Adding more colors arbitrarily usually isn't a way to fix a UI. So I'd re-examine the UI overall and see if it truly is a color issue, or if it's a general all-around layout/design issue.

Way too many IT departments spit out rainbow-colored software it seems. "Well, the grey looked boring so we puked on the interface to add colors!". You don't want to take that path. ;)

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The design layout could be more intuitive too, but you got to the root of the question. A fancier layout/design might get too busy and detract from it's main purpose. –  James Drinkard Nov 10 '11 at 16:56

I'm not sure how limited your are as to changing the balance of the colors, but I'd suggest the use of more white. Or perhaps take a look at http://dribbble.com/shots/159798-Tabs-Design or http://dribbble.com/shots/269445-Participants-Form? Grey could still work if used in the right context.

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