I have this SWT widget (color picker) with label:

enter image description here

By pressing the star button, color picker field transforms into code field, where you can write code:

enter image description here

I am not satisfied with this "star button", which is used to change input mode for color. I think there are should be some alternative, how this could be done. But I can't think of any other application with the same functionality. Any ideas?

2 Answers 2


If I want a custom colour, I have to select the star, and then enter in the colour value. You are adding an extra step for no benefit, and adding something that is not very clear.

I would instead treat the dropdown as a shortcut to a defined colour which modifies a text field which can represent a hex colour, or a code colour.

That way it is clean and simple to use, and makes it as fast as possible.

Here is an mockup of what I mean:

enter image description here

If you have the ability, I would also make the colour block a link to a colour palette with relevant colours. This would also act as a shortcut to change the hex value or code value depending on what is most applicable. Something similar to this:

enter image description here

  • Thank you for your answer, my mistake - I explained what I want to do in a very brief way. I can't go away from code field, this is the domain-specific area of app. It must be there. Also there are other different GUI elements: width pickers, style pickers, text editors and so on that will have two different input modes. Color is the only example. Hence, I need this "trigger" to switch on the "input code mode". What is the most intuitive way for end-user to perform it? End-users are aware of code input and app functionality.
    – szolo
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 18:22
  • @Steve could you please explain how the 4th example shown would not work? You could just not use hex codes, but keep the text area for domain specific code.
    – JohnGB
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 18:43
  • yes, you are right about 4th example. But since this two colors could be different, it would be too confusing
    – szolo
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 20:08
  • @Steve How could two be different?
    – JohnGB
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 20:33
  • design time / runtime
    – szolo
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 8:05

You could make the dropdown box editable, then when the user starts typing the control suggests colors from the list. For advanced users the box should accept color values in hex.

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