Focused Monotone 2: Lines of the Cokewhore’s Mirror

Focused Monotone 2: Lines of the Cokewhore’s Mirror

This document still needs basic editing, spellchecking, etc.

A couple of years ago I was ADHD-clicked my way into creating a Firefox theme, Focused Monotone. I meant it to be subdued, and for once make a third party browser blend with the OS instead of looking like a carnival next to the rest of the desktop.

Do you remember macOS pre-Mojave? Aqua — the macOS’ GUI — wasn’t customizable at all except for the wallpaper and screensaver. Then near the end came the option of making the menu bar and Dock dark, it’s debatable it that’s customization or an accessibility thing though.

You could also pick a color for highlighting nearly anything you can select but this is hardly customization as it is an accessibility requirement—one that Mojave fucked up BTW. It was sort of fixed later but not completely.

Aqua also had a Graphite look, it was meant not to draw attention to the UI but rather to the contents of the application, I’m paraphrasing a statement that was made in a WWDC I believe… Regardless, this was the idea behind Focused Monotone (FM or Monotone from here on).

In FM, when you clicked on a field, a very strong green color would fill it, this was not a color I particularly liked too much but it was hard to ignore and the fact that normally I wouldn’t pick it for anything added something special to it.

Firefox themes are nothing but a color palette, basically, and an optional background image. That’s it. The only hard thing about it is knowing where the color goes because the tools are a little outdated. With that in mind for the next Monotone, I first thought I was going to do this specific color scheme I had in mind and see how much it differed from the previous Focused Monotone, which is version 1.1, by the way. If main areas were just tweaked, then it would be v1.2, if the change was too big v2.0. Or maybe publish the theme with the version number in the name because something odd happened with version v1.1; I thought publishing themes was an easy way of getting them back, y’know, like free public storage—but as it turns out I forgot the people component of it. People actually downloaded it, I didn’t tell a soul about it, didn’t put it in social media or any place public except for the obligatory blog post or page in a site that’s frequently offline (this) and in the Firefox Browser Add-ons ↗︎, or this is what the metrics say (Mozilla’s metrics; I don’t collect analytics on any of my websites—not intentionally/knowingly, at least.)

Publishing an update would probably push the update and install it silently without the permission of users or if there’s an option to decline — which I’ve never seen, I don’t expect it to be honored long term and be phrased like decline for now; or, not at this moment; or something that accepts an sneaky auto-installation later, and I’d hate that to be done in my name. Like when you purchase an app and then the developer instead of releasing another version, they make it a freemium or some dick move like that.

Because it was more than a slight tweak on the colors, I’m now thinking on naming it something else entirely, but right now I need it published somewhere as per the Mozilla requirements, and after that I’ll probably forget, so it’s staying as Focused Monotone, version 2.

Focused Monotone is a boring blend of grays with nothing particularly sticking out but a tiny tealish line that was supposed to go a the top border of the active tab. It gave it just the tiniest bit of color. Then Firefox was redesigned and the same property now encircled the tab leaving it with too much of a border thus making it way too colorful for its “mission” but not enough border (thick enough) to make a statement which in combination with that color nowhere in the vicinity of the primary + inktank colors that people normally cite as their favorite, looks a bit ugly, tasteless.


For Monotone 2 I had a new set of focused colors, in the range of 0xF20D5E at the darkest to 0xFF2F92 at the lightest (0x means hex, BTW),

French Fuchsia (0xFF2F92)

Raspberry (0xF20D5E).

Magenta (Process) (0xFF0091)

French Fuchsia is AKA the Strawberry crayon in Apple’s Color Picker and I have no idea what “process” means next to magenta. I got the name of the colors from this site I found just now while writing this, color-name.com ↗︎. I do know that Magenta AKA Fuchsia, is 0xFF00FF. All inktank+primary colors codes can be gotten by literally F-ing them here and there. I finished what was going to be Monotone 2 but while I was testing I ADHDed into a completely different thing that looked like a mirror with cocaine arranged in lines on it.

I liked it and ran with it. This time I created mack-ups to evaluate things more precisely…

…and payed closer attention to accessibility/readability, which I hadn’t past. There is still one section that not easy on the eyes, Customization Toolbar…, the colors used in there are shared with other areas so I did the best I could for now. I think I got the design unassuming enough to be a suitable update for Monotone. Unfortunately it lost most of the cokewhore mirror effect but it kinda had to in order to become usable. I darkened the gray so it doesn’t look as dated as before and there’s this thing I’ve observed in themes that go completely dark when their windows are not active… Well, if you have a lot of stacked windows, they’re hard to tell apart and you’d often end up clicking some place you didn’t want to.

This was a priority for the now discarded Monotone 2 and I kept it a priority in the current one: When a window gets left behind in the back, instead of darkening its colors it actually does the opposite, so if a window peaks between the cracks of those covering it you don’t confuse it with another thing or a dark wallpaper.

This was a little tricky because it’s the background that you have to change to match the toolbar, which is itself translucent, so if you change the background you change the toolbar; matching then requires playing with transparencies in other areas so when a certain color combination is applied looks as desired while maintaining the original colors.

It’s loosely structured like this:

See the bookmarks? I spent about an hour thinking about the most offensive and ridiculous shit I could put in there, fuck Lorem Ipsum. I had to cut it down for this image though but the mock-ups still have all the nonsense. I don’t read it anymore because I start laughing and can’t function for a while, best case scenario. Most of the time I just ADHD off to look for something funnier.

In Monotone 2 I’ve tried to focus more in common sense things while being conscious this is a theme; it’s supposed to be all about the looks. I have a few more things that I want to add to it, but I need to first learn the skills, since which take a lot of time and triggers my OCPD for changes that would be almost imperceptible anyway so I’m sort of forcing myself to publish it now and add them the slight tweaks as an update later on because I’ve had, and still have so much to do. For instance, this website is mess and it needs to be up for publishing it. I have designed a lot of shit this month but made deep platform changes that take forever to be ready and I just can’t get going fast enough.

I think this will be it for now. I don’t expect anybody to read this, but last time I was surprised that people actually did, it was like a handful, but I really expected exact zero. Maybe it was more, I don’t know, I’m just repeating what I saw in the Firefox Marketplace metrics, as I mentioned earlier; I don’t collect analytics in any of the services, websites, or whatever I host.

Do as you’d like done, right?