Issue 118748

Summary: accessibility - High Contrast Mode enabled by default makes dark themes unusable
Product: Writer Reporter: David Rankin <drankinatty>
Component: configurationAssignee: AOO issues mailing list <issues>
Status: UNCONFIRMED --- QA Contact:
Severity: Normal    
Priority: P5 (lowest) CC: issues
Version: 3.4.0 Beta (OOo)Keywords: accessibility, needhelp, usability
Target Milestone: ---   
Hardware: PC   
OS: Linux, all   
Issue Type: DEFECT Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---
Description Flags
Shows default "Negative" color scheme for AOO if dark desktop theme used none

Description David Rankin 2012-01-10 20:59:21 UTC
Created attachment 77114 [details]
Shows default "Negative" color scheme for AOO if dark desktop theme used


  AOO 3.4 beta on Arch Linux i686.

  The Tools->Options->Accessibility "Automatically detect high contrast mode of operating system" causes dark themes to show a "Negative" color scheme (white text on black background) and prevents changing the icon theme in openoffice. (see screenshot)

  With more and more dark themes, 3.4 should be able to properly handle them without causing the funky negative color scheme to be set by default. Regarless of the color scheme, the install should provide a default of black text on white document background. Further, when a high-contrast theme is detected, it should NOT lock the icon-theme to hight contrast. Regardless of the desktop color scheme used by the user, the user should still be able to set their preferred icon-theme without having to manually hunt down and find the obscure setting under the "Accessibility" dialog.

  So far, 3.4 beta looks pretty good on Linux too. Great job. Now let's squash bugs...
Comment 1 T. J. Frazier 2012-01-11 12:37:02 UTC
As currently implemented, this *definitely* should not be set by default (but it is, in 3.4 Beta). As stated above, it can become a major PITA.

We need some rethinking here, preferably with input from some of those who need this option. We want to make life easy for them, but not hard for others.
Comment 2 David Rankin 2012-01-11 21:54:27 UTC
I don't know what the "Automatically detect high contrast mode of
operating system" setting is supposed to do to begin with. I have used light themes, dark themes, on kde, gnome, fluxbox, windowmaker, enlightenment, etc.. and I have never seen a reason for it. My experience for the past several years on SuSE/openSuSE and ArchLinux is that this automatic setting has caused nothing but problems.

I think the correct way to rethink it is to ask the question "Regardless of the desktop color theme, how many users are ever going to want something other than black text on a white background for the OO apps?" I think the answer is near zero. Even for those users that do use a dark theme (like me), they still want black text on a white background for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. In over 24 years of GUI computing (recall Cricket Graph?), I cannot recall a single instance where I would want anything other than black on white as a default starting document.

Further, we still print in a black and white world. Presentations are about the only thing where a colored background is desired -- and even in that case, the color is largely handled by different templates applied by the user, not as a default color scheme set by the office suite.

Regardless, I agree that this needs re-thinking. KISS is a good philosophy. The more you can get away from the suite trying to 'out think' the user with this kind of 'default' issue, the fewer problems you will have after the 3.4 release.
Comment 3 Edwin Sharp 2013-12-08 18:42:43 UTC
What is the OS theme?
What is the observed difference between "Automatically detect high contrast mode of operating system" checked and unchecked?

PS here is a user wanting something other than black text on a white background:
bug 108130
Comment 4 David Rankin 2013-12-08 22:38:49 UTC
If I recall correctly, the theme is BlueNight-II by LaGaDesk (on DeviantArt) The link is:

When it (high contrast - on by default) is checked, if using a dark theme, then it makes your writing window and the contents (in writer, calc, etc.) show light text (table lines, all writing aids) on a black background AND it locks the OO icon them to "High-Contrast" preventing the user from selecting any of the other icon themes.

Take a look at the attachment: 

Shows default "Negative" color scheme for AOO if dark desktop theme used

This shows exactly what I'm talking about. It took hours of research and mailing list traffic to find the obscure The Tools->Options->Accessibility "Automatically detect high contrast mode of operating system" option to be able to finally get a usable interface to work with.

At the very least, this option should NOT be enabled by default. Secondly, since it does not work as intended, it should either be fixed or completely removed. If the user wants something other than a white work area, then they are free to change the colors as they see fit. However, this setting should not be a "hidden trap" in OpenOffice that catches users of a dark desktop them and forces a black background with light text on them and locks the icon theme preventing them from selecting something other than High Contrast icons for the OpenOffice applications.

Every user that has a dark theme falls into this trap and must go through the same frustrating search to finally learn that it is an "Accessibility" setting, on by default, that has screwed up their working area interface.