User Interface Opinions

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This page is for opinions on matters of aesthetics and functionality in the new Steam User Interface. If you have bugs to report or feature requests, please see User Interface feedback. Please sign your opinions.


General Aesthetics

  • The design feels glutinous for pixels. For example, I did a comparison of the old My Games list and the new Mini games list: The old window had 58 vertical pixels of interface not devoted to the actual game list; the new window has 139 vertical pixels. At almost two and a half times the size, the new design gains the functionality of a 12px tall menu bar and a 30px tall expand button (the net height of which is just 30px). -- Lunchtimemama
    • Agreed. The interface could do with some serious trimming and size reduction.
      • I agree also. I feel this new UI was designed on a more "user friendly" note. I would rename that "newb friendly" as it has more useless graphics designs implemented (IE: The icons, the tabs, etc.. looks A LOT like the Lemonade Tycoon layout). I liked steam as it was before because it was so simple, clean and easy, where this one is bulky and feels rather weakly organized. That's not to say I don't believe in the new UI, I would just like to be able to use the original steam skin until a new skin is designed. I would be willing to help, being a so-called graphics designer myself. Saboter

Rounded Corners

  • There are varying radii of rounded corners in this new UI, some of which strike a proper balance between aesthetics and efficiency, and others are, I feel, too large. -- Lunchtimemama

Drop Shadows

Inner Drop Shadows
Outer Drop Shadows

Color Scheme

  • Seriously, what's up with the turquoise and maroon? ;-) --TomEdwards 00:48, 9 Oct 2005 (PDT)
    • Turquoise? Maroon? Sounds like you need to calibrate your display. --Alph Tech STUART 08:15, 17 Dec 2005 (PST)

Window Aesthetics

Rounded Window Corners

  • The radius of the window corners is 17 pixels. I think that is too large. -- Lunchtimemama
  • The lack of anti-aliasing make the window corners harsh. I understand that technical limitations restrict the use of anti-aliasing in older versions of Windows, but XP allows for alpha blending. If the windows are to have round corners, much would be gained with soft curves. -- Lunchtimemama
    • Windows 2000 allows alpha blending too, and that makes most Steam users with WinXP!, but alpha blendig is resource consuming (i.e: its optional in Winamp 5.x) so it should be optional or exclusive for skins with rounded corners or even transparency. -- Boneless

Background Gradient

  • The green-to-grey gradient works well as a background upon which sits a monochromatic tab or list (the Server Browser, the expanded main window, the mini games list), but when text lies directly atop the ramp (the Friends window, alerts), the effect is far less appealing. -- Lunchtimemama
  • I like the slight darkening of the grey at the bottom of, for example, the Store/Games/Tools tab cluster. -- Lunchtimemama


  • The lack of windows borders means that two stacked windows can blend into each other in a confusing and unaesthetic way. -- Lunchtimemama
    • I agree, possibly the window(s) in the background could darken. I do not think a window border is a good idea, but this would also solve the problem. Will


  • I strongly dislike the use of pillow embosses. It adds weight to the interface and is inconsistent with the windows and tabs, which do not have 3D effects. -- Lunchtimemama


  • The Close, Maximise and Minimise buttons do not give any user feedback when you hover over them. There is no depression or color change. Also when you click them there is no feedback. I would suggest a change in color for the hover state and when clicked a depressed look. An example: buttons.png Will





Progress Bars

  • With the new "round" theme to Steam, I expected a nicer progress bar. The "blocky" progress bars are ugly, inaccurate, and clashes with the rest of steam. --Steamfraiser 07:40, 27 Mar 2006 (PST)


  • The icons at the bottom of the expanded window don't visually "fit" with the existing Steam iconography, but if this is the start of a new style, I welcome it (they are attractive). -- Lunchtimemama
  • I'm not to keen on the large black area on the bottom of the main window where the News, Friends, Servers, Settings, and support icons are. On each tab page there is ample space for them just above. Here is an example: icons.png Will
  • Personally, I don't much like the icons, but that's mainly because they're duplicating menu functions. The UI would be more functional without them, but the tradeoff is less appeal to those who like the eye-candy.



  • Steam v3 has a lot more potential for skins than v2 did, but skinning is currently very tedious and undocumented. I think there should be some documentation on steamscheme.res and skinning in general.—Qwerty (talk) 21:19, 15 Oct 2005 (PDT)
    • I added the bold, as it's been 3 months and there's still no documentation. --Alph Tech STUART 08:20, 17 Dec 2005 (PST)
    • Also...what makes skinning that much more difficult is (for instance) scrollbars being misaligned by one pixel...making whatever the skin renders on them 1 pixel off.—ts2do (talk) 19:53, 15 Oct 2005 (PDT)
      • Agreed.. and to expand on what I said earlier.. If you take a look in steamscheme.res, at a glance it's a big list of classes and variables scattered everywhere. It would be useful to know the syntax, what does what, etc, so someone creating a skin knows what they'd have to tweak in order to change what they want. So I think documentation should be top priority for skinning.. then I hope small things like Ts2do mentioned can be sorted out..--Qwerty 22:17, 15 Oct 2005 (PDT)
        • I say the syntax for scripting it is pretty obvious after a good look—ts2do (talk) 23:19, 15 Oct 2005 (PDT)
          • I agree.. but that's because I've done a lot of programming/scripting before. Not too sure about someone who hasn't..--Qwerty 09:12, 16 Oct 2005 (PDT)


Expanded Games List

Mini Games List

  • Some basic functionality would be nice with the Games List, such as manual ordering of games by drag-and-drop. i.e.: I play TFC + DoD:S more than I do others, yet TFC is near the bottom of the 'Installed' category whilst Day of Defeat: Source stays near the top. —Hampster
  • One thing that would be helpful would be the ability to have Steam start in the mini-games list; most of the time, I'm in there to save on screen clutter, and having to switch to it each time Steam starts is a bit of a pain. —Spidervenom

Menu Bar

  • I haven't made up my mind on the menu bar just yet, but here is an argument for its removal:
1) Since "mini" implies a small, bare-bones interface, the menu bar could logically be removed from the mini games list.
2) Left only with "full view," the View menu simply duplicates the buttons and tabs of the window, so it is entirely redundant.
They will become useful to people who can't use a mouse if and when Alt+* keyboard access is added. --TomEdwards 11:59, 10 Oct 2005 (PDT)
3) The Games menu only has one item: kinda silly if you ask me.
4) The "Technical support page" link in the Help menu duplicates the Support icon at the bottom of the window. To remove the redundant "Technical support page" link from the Help menu would leave us with another one-item menu.
5) The "Settings" link in the File menu duplicates the Settings icon at the bottom of the window.
6) Removing the redundant View menu and the one-option Games and Help menus, we are left only with a three-item File menu. With a menu bar this sparse, why have one at all?
Even if one were not to eliminate the View menu and were to keep the menu bar in the mini games list, the "Technical support page" link in the Help menu still duplicates the "Support" link in View. This renders Help a one-item menu along with Games. The inclusion of a menu bar, of whose menus half have only one item, should be questioned.
-- Lunchtimemama

Inline Games Update Status

New Properties Window

  • Very nice new properties window. I especially like the Verify Cache button and properties for mods! --Lunchtimemama

See also