More Useful Design Options (Colors, Font Sizes, Etc)

Coda is amazing. The functionality is amazing. (Keep up that amazing work.)
The Design, however, feels very much like an after-thought which is frustrating.

The default Design options for Text Size, Text Color and Highlight Color feel under-developed. As a designer this lack of options prevents me from using Coda as often as I would like.

I know Coda is primarily still focused on finding good data/interaction solutions, which is clearly essential. However, at the same time, presentation in documents can be essential as well. Presentation drives clarity and clarity drives usage.

If I can’t present something in a way that is attractive and visually clear for my clients, the odds are bad that I will be able to get them to use it and benefit from the data/interaction features it contains. Confused users go back to what they know.

The lack of being able to easily adjust simple design elements is a problem for me as a user. I imagine there are others who find it equally frustrating.

The lack of Design options is perhaps additionally frustrating because it seems that upgrading this aspect may not require a huge amount of technical work.

The current default color choices for Text and Text Highlight are so light in value that it is actually quite difficult to discern what colors are being selected. It seems to me that this is purely a design choice on the part of the Coda team. The act of selecting a different (hopefully more eye-pleasing and print-friendly) palette is, therefore, a question of reconsidering a former decision rather than a technical hurdle to resolve.

Please consider changing the current color choices to a more vibrant set of colors which compliment each other well. (The current Google Docs Text/Highlight color choices come to mind).

I recognize that the Coda.io website colors seem to be intentionally chromatically muted, which, I presume, is an intentional design choice from the Coda Team, and the default Coda Text/Highlight color options may simply be a reflection of this. However, while these design choices may work for the website, they may not work for every document. I do not see a good reason why this design restriction should extend to a Coda user’s document. Please allow users to design the documents they desire as separate documents, according to separate design considerations and requirements.

If implementing a new color set is somehow undesirable, please at least consider integrating a color picker so users can choose custom colors in their docs for things like:

  • Font Colors
  • Font Highlight Colors
  • Table Cell Colors

This one addition could really go a long way to closing this design/presentation gap.

If you don’t want to “reinvent the wheel” to offer a color picker, I believe there are a few ready-made open source color-picker options you might consider integrating, like Pickr or React Color.

Options for choosing Font Sizes, Font Families and Line Spacing would also be very much appreciated. However, I surmise that these might present a greater technical challenge to implement, so I would definitely suggest focusing on color options if forced to choose between the two.

Thanks again for this amazing tool. You’re all doing an amazing job!

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I agree with you @Geoff_Strout, i would love to have also the possibility to dispose elements freely or at least also in more than one columns in the doc canvas (i know it’s not related to lettering and colour but i think everyone would like a little more UI freedom) i wanted to share this also here :slight_smile:

Let’s wait for an official opinion from @coda_team :slight_smile:

Hi @coda_team!
Sorry. I just realized that you already implemented a very nice Color-Picker in the Conditional Formatting options. I would have edited my original post to acknowledge that but I’m not seeing an “Edit Post” option.

The presence of the Conditional Format Color-Picker makes me quite curious however. What is preventing you from integrating that color picker into the Main Page options? Is it a technical issue? If not I believe adding that would be a real help to your users.

Also, alongside my previous comment that:

“Text Highlight options are so light in value that it is actually quite difficult to discern what colors are being selected”

I should also have mentioned that the Text Color selection method is also oddly frustrating.

The Text Color selection “T” icons have too little surface area to easily distinguish the colors they represent from one another. I often find myself squinting at the icons trying to puzzle out what color they are supposed to indicate.
I think that might be one reason that other Office apps use grids of solid color squares as their Color selection method.

I appreciate that trying new things is how Coda came to be, at the same time, it is sometimes the case that a standardized interface method is standard because it works well.

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@coda_team
Please consider using OS highlight colors, this would make Coda to be more compatible with look and feel of the OS. For example Apple OS implements highlight color that are selectable in System Preferences → General → Highlight Color.

Not supporting and having decent highlight color makes this tool very prone to selection errors. No fun for a client and user.

Hi @David_Hwu ,
and welcome to Coda Community! :handshake:

What you say is meaningful, however (most) system information cannot be caught from a web-based application (and luckily it is like that…!)
So - despite some tentatives in the past (The System Information API) - I’m not sure this can be achieved soon.

Cheers!

I just used a webapp on other platforms and was able to see my orange system preferences highlight colors honored.
Maybe there is another method outside W3C API demonstrated earlier?

In any event a workaround is to use the dark mode.

Just don’t want to come to the dark side :wink:

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