Mic / camera cut off switches color

I think it is weird that the switches for the hardware cutoffs are inactive when the red is showing. It took me a while to think of why that was weird and I think the closest think I can think of is my built in safety training I have with firearms. Red means hot or ready to use. I am sure with mics or sound boards or whatever this is similar. Is having red be the color for inactive more intuitive for people?


In power points when red is showing it’s live. Might have just been a minor oversight.

Just a compromise made in the design process, colours don’t translate their meanings universally. Personally I associate red with blood/dead/killed (kind of morbid) or that being on is the default state, and therefore no colour is shown.


Personally, I think it makes more sense. Folks that have a stronger concern for privacy appreciate being able to confirm at a glance that their mic and webcam are disabled. Everyone else will typically leave the switches “enabled” by default, and not think about it anymore.


Maybe in status-based situations, it’s more intuitive for red to mean “non-functioning” or in a disabled state.
Like in an assembly line or something like that, green typically means all is functioning as it should, while red means something is disabled or out-of-order.

As @obfuscurity mentioned, it’s easy to tell at a glance that the presence of the red color is there against the black background. Privacy-focused people prefer the “default” to be disabled rather than the other way around.

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Kinda adding to what you already said (in support)

From what I recall, typical universal knowledge is Red = Stop/No-Go and Green = Start/Go. We don’t have Green on the framework but I would think that’s what they meant by using setting the mic/cam to show red when it’s disabled.


Plastic Model Paint

Make it anything you want…


This is interesting. I can see both red has different meaning based on what other experience you have. Also, it seems like there is a concept of default state which will be different for different use cases. It does not bother me too much but after reading and considering it I still think red meaning live and ready to use fits my use case better.

In my experience, red means that the safety has been turned off, and the device is armed/active. For the cameras, I think they should change the switches to only show the red when the cameras are connected, not when the are disconnected. Does anyone else feel a similar sentiment?

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I’m perfectly fine with how it is. Red to me means that the hardware is off, similar to how you might see a red light on your motherboard if something is not working. Lenovo also does something similar as when you’re covering the camera, there’s a red dot over it.

From an aesthetic point of view, I dislike how the black bezel would be interrupted by red patches by default if the camera was on (which a lot of people just leave on anyways).


Why leave the camera on when it can’t be used for windows hello and could potentially be a security/privacy risk? I think it would be wiser to actually switch it, so that people would just leave it off instead of on, because like you say, you dislike how the red patches inturrupt the look of the bezel, and I’d have to say I agree. So are you really fine with the way it is? Consider my points below:

Its like guns, when the safety is off, you see red, and know that there is a risk. The camera should be the same way, because when its connected, you know the safety is gone, and there is a risk.

And I ask, why make it red anyways, if it isn’t about risk? Why not make it grey or green, a neutral or good color indicating that things are good and connected?

This has been discussed before:

there is clearly no consensus on what the preferred convention is.

My interpretation is that Framework went with making the “default” (non-signal-color-marked) state the state that is most in line with what other laptops do: camera and mic electrically connected. So the red means: the mic and camera are not in a state that you may expect from experience with other laptops.

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I suspect the reasoning is more like the red providing an easy clue why the camera does not work.
On a Lenovo I had multiple times inner exchanges like this: “Camera not working again, what is it now, drivers?” → Glance at camera → “Ah… red dot… switch in wrong position…”
Might be a me thing, but my Headset shows the mic being muted by a red LED on the USB plug. So I quite like them being similar :slight_smile:


Maybe its the freedom in our blood :laughing:

But really, I feel like framework would have thought through the choice of color and location if they were actually going to put s colorized switch into the bezel. And seems to be a bit of a consensus, with what @digitalknk says here:

Now, concensus is hard to say given there are only like 10 replies between both topics only a few share this sentiment, but yeah, I feel like there is a bit of agreeance on this.

On a laptop meant as a productivity platform, the assorted items used for a video enabled call would create a default status of them being enabled. If the default is on, a color indicator to show it is off makes perfect sense. Red generally means Danger. This is why a safety on a firearm is red when it is off, i.e. ready to fire. In the instance of the laptop red is warning us that it is off or disabled where it should be on which is its default state.

In the case of the laptop I can see it going either way so they chose what they chose, get used to it.

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For what it’s worth, the camera cannot operate without the light coming on to tell you it’s operating. I would personally consider it a low security risk.

If you feel this way I think there’s an opportunity of a low-risk and possibly cool project: see if you can modify the switches to have the red on the other side. You can remove the bezel and access the switches from the back. Or with some scraping and new red stickers you may be able to do it from the front. If you document and post it here, I’m sure you’ll get a solid group of fans. The risk is that you ruin your bezel, in which case you probably want to buy a new one for $51 + shipping (or $64 if you want a fancy colour). The modularity really lowers the price of experimentation.

As a canadian that’s never handled a real gun, the whole “in guns red means danger” means absolutely nothing. My instinct (and I’m guessing for most of the non gun centric world) red is a stop sign (and is true globally), “I told the camera to stop” like in a datacenter (to bring it back to computers) then red means non functional, in manufacturing red means non functional etc etc etc.


I think it’s all about context. Not all weapons have safety mechanisms that use a red dot. However, when you consider the situations where firearms are used, it is probably good to have a quick visual indicator for whether the weapon is in a safe state. In order to prevent an accidental discharge etc,.

Red does usually mean recording for cameras and I think for electrical work it means something is live/hot so don’t touch. Historically in the UK, red meant off for factory equipment and on the railways, red signals meant stop/danger.

To be honest you can just blame us Brits for this topic as I realise as I type this, that my last comment provides support for both sides of this discussion…my bad :joy: