First the picture:
As you can see in the image, the colors used for the icons and the words Applications and Places (In spanish in this case) have a different background dark gray color than the rest of the panel. Also the icons look rather bigger in that panel. Now my questions are:
Can the background colors be customized so they look the same all the way through the panel.
Can the icons be somehow minimized a little so they don't look strange (bigger actually)
How to edit the way to add icons to the panel. I have to actually hold the ALT key and right click on it to show the context menu which shows me the option to add something. That extra key press is not friendly at all.
In this particular case I am trying to help an older man start in Ubuntu. Unity is too much for him but Gnome is friendlier for him (Learning curve is not the best for older people.. specially 68+ year old people).