Adjust the UI color & contrast

  • 196
  • Idea
  • Updated 3 weeks ago
  • Under Consideration
  • (Edited)
(This idea comes what what we’ve heard here in this community as well as from other customer feedback methods we utilize. The feedback we gather here will help us gauge how well it fits our users’ needs. Please let us know what you think)

The Problem:

The Dark UI for Camtasia does not appeal to everybody and for some, it makes working in Camtasia unproductive due to issues with contrast and text legibility.

Potential Solution:  

An option in Camtasia to choose a lighter UI or choose your UI color.
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David D, Technical Product Manager - Camtasia

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Posted 3 years ago

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Kathryn Grant

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I just upgraded to Camtasia 2018 yesterday and need to add my voice of concern. The black UI is extremely hard to use. Not only is it hard to see text on the screen (even with brightness turned up on the monitor) but it's almost impossible to distinguish different parts of the screen. When a dialog box is open, I can't see where it starts and stops. It's hard to tell what's part of the dialog box and what isn't.

I'm on a tight deadline for a project at work, and the black interface is having a negative impact on my productivity. It's stressful.

Many Windows applications let users choose a theme--black on white, black on gray, black on light blue, etc. Seems it would be a simple matter for Camtasia to give users that option. 

Techsmith, you make awesome products. I love Snagit and use it all the time. I hope you'll make it a top priority to include this simple improvement to Camtasia, which would make it exponentially more useful. 

Thanks for your consideration!
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ChrisM

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I have the exact same experience. I know this sounds like a dig on TechSmith, but it's not really; They really don't care at all about this. I don't know why, but TechSmith wants this ridiculous interface and flat out refuse to change it. The version you are actually using is the improved version believe it or not. I have seriously given up.
OK...one last time...I am not elderly, I am not even "old" and the dark interface is detrimental to my work performance. The only reason I still use it is there is was no alternative. I have been talking with Adobe and pushing for their Captivate product to be part of their suite of product offered in the Creative Cloud. As soon as it is, if the interface in Camtasia is still dark, you can bet I am going to switch in a hot minute. 
Dear TechSmith, I see your market dominance deteriorating and has everything to do with the new interface and your refusal to change it.
Sorry to hijack your post Kathryn...
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Kathryn Grant

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Chris, I feel your pain <wry grin>. I have considered Captivate too, since I have CC. I hope Adobe will include it! CC includes a lot of stuff I'll never use, so I'd be happy to trade those apps out for Captivate :) Maybe you can suggest that as you talk with them.

I know it can feel like "big business" doesn't care, but I think Brooks is trying to change that perception. If TS can come up with a simple solution--even a light gray alternative--that would be enough for me. It will be interesting to see how things go!
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Rick Stone

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Hi folks

I'm an Adobe Captivate user myself. I was a Certified Adobe Instructor for Captivate for a number of years.

Personally, I'd be shocked if Adobe were to include it in their Creative Cloud. It seems to be a kind of niche product that not everyone would use. Although it *IS* (or maybe WAS) actually part of a couple of suites they offer.

I'm not sure if they are still offering this, but at one point Captivate was part of something called the "eLearning Suite". And it's still part of something called the "Technical Communications Suite". 

Cheers... Rick :)
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Brooks, Camtasia Technical Product Manager

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Official Response
I’m nervous about kicking this hornets nest, but here goes. Please keep in mind that I took over as the Camtasia Technical Product Manager in July of 2018. I’ve been with TechSmith for a very long time and was aware of this long running thread, but I didn’t make or influence any of the decisions prior to July. That’s not an excuse, just an explanation that my analysis and decisions about product priority started fairly recently. I started as a developer on Camtasia back in 2005 and am enormously proud of the team and product. That said, I know we can always do better.

Some things to make clear here:

#1 We read these posts frequently. It’s not fun to see users expressing this much pain and frustration, ever. It puts a bad taste in everyones mouth. As a product team we want to make software that helps users make a difference. We’re a super passionate group and we want our customers to love using the product. 

#2 In March of 2018, we adjusted the UI contrast on Windows in a maintenance release to Camtasia 9 as a direct result of this feedback. Camtasia 2019 for Mac will ship with similar improvements to contrast (I’m very appreciative of those changes as a predominantly Mac user who spends a ton of time staring at a screen). The point being that during the last 12 months we’ve been making an effort to improve things for users on the UI contrast front.

#3 The dark UI polls very well among users. The vast majority of the users we’ve surveyed either prefer it or don’t have a problem with it. I’m not saying we are ignoring you folks who don't like it, but there’s a very large contingent of users who would prefer us to do work in other areas.

#4 Camtasia sits on several different UI technology stacks and the codebase has been actively developed against for ~20 years. It’s not easy to turn desktop UI with that kind of code legacy on a dime. I’m saying this because the decision to focus on a light UI will mean less work on other features and that makes most of our users less happy. I hope folks can at least see the position we’re in, recognize the tradeoffs and come to a reasonable understanding that our decisions aren’t based on how little we listen or care for our users.

#4 I’m a bit uncertain what’s a good enough compromise to win over folks on this thread. Some folks seem to want a myriad of color choices they can choose from, others want something that looks more native, still others just want something not quite so dark with good contrast. I’m not in favor of a complete UI overhaul at this point. That would be a significant undertaking we just don’t have the bandwidth to do (always be leery of full UI rewrites is a principle I hold dear). 

#5 I think we’re in a bit better position from a UX and technical perspective to deliver a lighter colored UI in the future. I’ll be looking for opportunities to fit it in, but our current 12 month schedule is very tight, so I can’t make any guarantees. 

So the million dollar question—would a lighter UI that you could toggle to and required a restart be enough? If so, that's what I'll be attempting to scope and angle toward in the future.

Brooks

Camtasia Technical Product Manager

Mobile Technical Product Manager

TechSmith
(Edited)
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kayakman, Champion

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thanks for your candid insight, Brooks

the contrast changes made in 9 and 2018, compared to original 9, have been a big improvement from my perspective

I do not mind the dark look as long as there is excellent contrast available on the various controls; in 2018, there are still some problem areas:

very poor contrast in canvas settings dropdown for a selected/hover over item;

bright blue marker flags with white micro font are impossible to read [at least for my eyes]; 

set-hotspot-properties controls and quiz QI are just too small [font size and text box width] to work with on a concentrated basis; I find working with them very fatiguing and eye straining; re quizzes, I now develop all the quiz stuff outside of Camtasia and then copy/paste as I can't reasonably work with the current controls 

most selected text in these controls is almost unreadable because the selection back color is not sufficiently contrasted with the original text

if I only had a 40" monitor ... ?

If you only have limited bandwidth, I'd prefer to see the current dark UI "tweaked" where appropriate and practical

I will admit that I often miss CS8's UI look, as I always found it to be very easy on the eyes, and most of its controls gave you adequate room to get the job done
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Kathryn Grant

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Brooks,

Thanks for your quick reply and helpful explanation! As a web developer myself, I empathize with the tricky task of juggling priorities and trying to please as many users as possible.

I'm intrigued that most users like the dark interface. If you have a moment, could you explain briefly why? (I don't doubt that they do, I'd just like to understand. Maybe I'm overlooking the benefits.)

To answer your question, I'd be thrilled with just a simple toggle choice,  similar to the one in Snagit:



Thanks again for the quick response and explanation!

Kathryn
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ChrisM

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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Information is key. Up until now all I would see is "we are working on it". But your explanation is excellent. Thank you.

I have been a user for over a decade and I just want to feel like opinions matter to TS. This post from Brooks is a huge step in the right direction.

I too am in software development. I absolutely understand that UI changes can be very, very tricky. We just revamped our interface after 30 years. Yep, you read that right, 30 years. The only way we weren't inundated with crabby users complaining was communication.

To be able to switch between light and dark, like reddit, would be key. It would make me very happy.

Thanks again Brooks for the post. PLEASE keep us updated.

PS - Karyn, thank you for letting me know I am not the only one wishing for Captivate. You are so right about the amount of software in the CC I will never, ever use. I wish Captivate was an option to switch out. But I think you are right. Brooks post (Sorry to talk about you in the third person Brooks) kind of changes things. This seems like a step by TS to include user feedback more in the development road map.
(Edited)
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Donna.Lettow

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Just a reminder to anyone reading this who is a federal or state government employee:  This product violates the Section 508 accessibility standards,  which require software and applications purchased by any entity receiving federal funding to have a minimum color contrast ratio of 4.5.   (These are also the same standards used in Canada, UK, EU and Australia.)
https://webaim.org/articles/contrast/

Still hoping for a day when I can legally upgrade from Camtasia 7.
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Brooks, Camtasia Technical Product Manager

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Hey Donna, if you have examples of UI contrast not meeting WCAG guidelines please reach out to me via email b [dot] andrus [at] techsmith [dot] com. I'll pass them on to our UX team. My understanding is the adjustments we made brought Camtasia into AA compliance with that standard.
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Donna.Lettow

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By the way, for other people in conversation, I did as Brooks asked when he asked, and have heard only crickets in return.
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Andy, Senior User Experience Designer

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Official Response
Hey folks,

I’m one of the UX designers on Camtasia. I have been working on some UI color changes that are focused on addressing some issues in this thread and I would love to get your feedback! This will require you to be able to install a version of Camtasia (Windows only) and submit some feedback in a survey.

If you are interested in participating please fill out this short form: https://forms.gle/TGXuh5DcFeLiVnjw6

Thanks!
Andy
(Edited)
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Andy, Senior User Experience Designer

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We currently don't have enough participants signed up to perform an accurate study. I need at least 3 more people to sign up. If installing a build of Camtasia is an issue, I can run this study by just showing screenshots. Please fill out the survey and just indicate you can't install a build, if that works better for you.

Thanks,
Andy
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karin.layher

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Thanks, for the reminder, Andy. I signed up a few minutes ago. I'm currently using Camtasia 8. Will the download interfere with that?
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ChrisM

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Hey Andy, I filled out the form but I dont know that I heard back. How do I know if I made the cut?
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Donna.Lettow

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In my case, it's not the build that's the issue.  It's signing an NDA.
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keven

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The NDA is also preventing me from signing up.
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Rick Stone

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Curious about folks having issues with the NDA.

Does that mean some aspect of the NDA page isn't working for you or just that you have philosophical issues with signing it?
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mary.peek

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I would love to participate but I do my work on a Mac. I do have a home computer that's windows which I could use. Do you provide a separate Windows version that I could install without a license for that?
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lynette2003biz

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I had forgotten about it, but filled out the form this morning; have not heard back yet. I certainly want to be a part of this! thank you
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director

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I signed the NDA and agreed to participate 5 days ago. Hope this gets going ASAP!
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Andy, Senior User Experience Designer

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Just a quick update on the study. We are going to be getting it started next week, we just need to squash a few crash bugs in the test build and finalize the survey. I’m also hoping to get a few more people in in the study, if possible. Thank you to all of those that have signed up!

Andy
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director

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FINALLY! I’m so glad to see some positive, “we’re-gonna-do-something-about-this” feedback.

Brooks’ explanation was super helpful. I’m absolutely in favor of a lighter interface you can toggle on/off like in SnagIt. That sounds PERFECT (providing that the lighter interface is light enough). This should have been done a long time ago. (And begs the question, if you can do it in SnagIt, why not in Camtasia?? I never understood that.)

I’m willing to help provide feedback. I’ve signed the NDA and submitted my info.

Thanks,
Michelle
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Kathryn Carruthers

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I don't remember being asked about whether I prefer a dark background. Maybe the question was unreadable by anyone who doesn't find it useful? Anyway, if more folks who hate this chime in, will it get fixed sooner? I'm happy to try to find more people to put a note here (to join the numbers who've bothered to ask here over the past few years).
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Dan Bayn

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I just updated to Camtasia 2019 and the first thing I did was try to find a way to change to a light background.  Unless I missed something, it doesn't look like this discussion resulted in a lighter option for this release. If I did miss it, please point me in the right direction.
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Joe Morgan

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You missed nothing, there is no light UI options.
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director

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As Joe said, there is no such option. TechSmith doesn’t care how this affects their customers and ignored the requests. :(
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Thomas W. Shinder MD

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Sadly, they already have your money. This is the reason why I have no upgraded and sought out and found alternative solutions.
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Bret Sutton

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Well, phoo.  I've used Camtasia for at least 12 years, and Snagit for almost 20.  Just upgraded Camtasia from v.8.  I'll use it, but I'm wondering whether the upgrade was a mistake.  The dark mode really grates on me.  Andy, are you still there?  What was the outcome of the UX study from last spring?