Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 31st Oct 2008 08:37 UTC
Windows When Office 2007 came out with its new ribbon-based interface, a lot of people were up in arms because Microsoft deliberately left out a legacy switch - you couldn't go back to the old-fashioned Office user interface. Now that Windows 7 is getting a major UI overhaul, many wondered if Microsoft would build a legacy switch into its new operating system. Ars talked to Steven Sinofsky about this one, and got an answer. They also discussed the new jump list feature.
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text
by ari-free on Fri 31st Oct 2008 09:14 UTC
ari-free
Member since:
2007-01-22

my problem is the lack of text on the taskbar. To me, that's less-able.

Reply Score: 6

RE: text
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 31st Oct 2008 09:19 UTC in reply to "text"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

my problem is the lack of text on the taskbar. To me, that's less-able.


You can enable text in the new taskbar. A screenshot on Channel 9 showed it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: text
by ari-free on Fri 31st Oct 2008 09:27 UTC in reply to "RE: text"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

oh good, they aren't that stupid. ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: text
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 31st Oct 2008 09:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: text"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

oh good, they aren't that stupid. ;)

Sometimes I wonder.

Reply Score: 4

"Major" UI overhaul
by mallard on Fri 31st Oct 2008 09:57 UTC
mallard
Member since:
2006-01-06

Oh dear, here we go again. Microsoft doing a "major" UI overhaul for Windows. Not that that's a bad idea, just that there has never been a complete UI overhaul.
Major peices of UI from previous generations always remain, spoiling the consistency of the UI as a whole.

Please Microsoft, decide on a Windows UI and keep with it. Make minor tweaks if you must, but no "overhauls". Apple have stuck with their "Aqua" UI, even GNOME and KDE have a fixed set of guidelines, even if the "skin" is variable.

Reply Score: 2

RE: "Major" UI overhaul
by dagw on Fri 31st Oct 2008 12:32 UTC in reply to ""Major" UI overhaul"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple have stuck with their "Aqua" UI

Apple has only "stuck" with their Aqua UI since their fairly recent and, at the time, much critisized complete overhaul. Which was more recent, one should add, than windows last UI overhaul. You make it sound like Apple is has been consistent in their UI since the dawn of time.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: "Major" UI overhaul
by sigzero on Fri 31st Oct 2008 13:27 UTC in reply to "RE: "Major" UI overhaul"
sigzero Member since:
2006-01-03

Apple has only "stuck" with their Aqua UI since their fairly recent and, at the time, much critisized complete overhaul. Which was more recent, one should add, than windows last UI overhaul. You make it sound like Apple is has been consistent in their UI since the dawn of time.


Contextually, you would be incorrect. If I say "Aqua" I would think that would set the time frame and not to mean "since the dawn of time". "Aqua" only started with OSX. So that person would only be talking about the time period when OSX came out.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: "Major" UI overhaul
by dagw on Fri 31st Oct 2008 13:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Major" UI overhaul"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Well yes, but my point is Aqua is a recent development and was a complete overhaul of their old UI. Saying Apple hasn't changed their UI since they last changed their UI amounts to a tautology.

The original post makes it sound like Apple is the great basiton of UI consistency and that MS change their UI every other week. While in fact Apple is the company that made more recent and more sweeping changes to their UI.

Not that I'm saying UI changes are a bad thing mind you.

Reply Score: 3

RE: "Major" UI overhaul
by christianhgross on Sun 2nd Nov 2008 01:47 UTC in reply to ""Major" UI overhaul"
christianhgross Member since:
2005-11-15

So I watched the video on Channel 9 on the new task bar changes and I thought WTF...

I actually like Office 2007, and find it very productive because it is easy to navigate. Granted it takes some getting used to.

BUT Vista, give me a freaken break. And now with Windows 7, come on...

Here are the things that I see as silly:

1) The tab and window peek sounds like a nice idea. With IE showing its tabs as windows it sounds like a nice idea (NOT). I typically have open 40 browser frames. I don't even want to think what my task bar will look like.

2) The idea of a quick launcher with feedback is interesting. BUT I would scrap the icon bar. Why not make it part of the side bar? And get rid of the freaken notices. In the side bar make little little bars that flash a few pixels. That way I know something is wrong, but it is not distracting me. The fact that I have to edit and stop the balloon flashing is missing the point completely. It should not be appearing as a problem.

3) In the tab preview they have the name of the document with the icon of the application and name of the application. WTF? Think of it as follows. You are clicking on the icon you know to be Word, and up appears documents. So why explicitly say WORD, and show the icon that you clicked on? I mean come on GUI designers what in the heck are you thinking. Its like me turning the wheel of the car and the car saying, "hey did you know you just turned the wheel of your car?"

I have no idea why Microsoft just does not understand how to design a clean UI. I mean these people are intelligent, but yet they seem to screw things up.

Reply Score: 1

... and again
by deathshadow on Fri 31st Oct 2008 10:37 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

They blow time 'fixing' something that wasn't broken... But then I consider Win98 the pinnacle of UI design and everything since to be a slow slide down the hole towards total crap - these new 'features' being LESS accessable for me.

Quite frankly, if my 97 year old grandmother can figure out XP, you are ****ing DONE screwing with the user interface. Maybe they could concentrate on LOWERING system requirements while INCREASING performance, instead of blowing all this manpower on stupid eye-candy bullshit?

Reply Score: 7

RE: ... and again
by zegenie on Fri 31st Oct 2008 11:01 UTC in reply to "... and again"
zegenie Member since:
2005-12-31

But then again, people managed to use DOS, OS/2, old Win 3.x, etc, as well... User interfaces evolve, as does everything else in computing. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse, but you can't really know until you try it.

And some people won't change their ways no matter what you say, so at some point - if you think you have an idea that works better than the current on (like Microsoft thinks in this case) - you just have to force people. They might end up thinking "...but wait a minute, this actually works better".

Try before you buy - or in this case, try before you bash.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: ... and again
by BigDaddy on Fri 31st Oct 2008 11:25 UTC in reply to "RE: ... and again"
BigDaddy Member since:
2006-08-10

I have been using Office 2007 since it came out. I hate the ribbon with a passion. Just cannot stand it. I am not more productive with the ribbon. If they would have given us the ability to make our own custom ribbon tab, it would have helped. But all we get is a custom row of buttons which I have of course filled.

Now they are doing this to the tried and true GUI of Windows. I am no Windows fan, but I have to use it at work. I would like to be able revert to the standard UI. For no other reason than I want to.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: ... and again
by zegenie on Fri 31st Oct 2008 11:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ... and again"
zegenie Member since:
2005-12-31

...for no other reason than I want to.

My point exactly - and that is what everyone else wants as well... They don't want to leave their comfort zone, even if they - after being forced to use something else for a period of time - might become more productive.

I'm not saying the new taskbar will be better, but how will you know until you've tried it?

Some people actually find the ribbon more usable than the old menu-driven interface, and then again, some people don't, and are much less productive even after using it for a long time - like you. But then again, you said it would be nice if you could create your own ribbon - maybe that's all it takes for that interface to become better than the old one for you. How would you have known without trying it?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: ... and again
by deathshadow on Sun 2nd Nov 2008 05:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ... and again"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

which is my problem with most every attempt to replace the simple menu. Personalized menus for example suck, because the point of a menu is to show me ALL the options, not just the ones I've used recently or the ones it THINKS I might use. Trying to replace menus outright tends to be a productivity reduction for anyone more advanced than a complete nube - and let's face it, this is 2008, there are damned few nubes anyomre on the simple stuff like how to use a menu.

Look at the windows start menu for an example of something good ruined time and time again in the name of making it better. The original idea in win95 was sound - the problem came not from the start menu but from vendors abusing it creating their own inconsistant directories containing hordes of links for ONE application - or worse creating a directory for a single link.

This is where Gnome and KDE tend to kick ass - NOT because their start menu is better or even more functional, but because the programs on it are divided consistantly into categories, and programs installed on it do not go and make their own directories filled with redundant pointless links... Extra link to the manual, extra link for an uninstall so you don't use the NORMAL uninstall interface, extra link to their website, extra link to the release notes - lands sake shove that **** under the damned help menu in the program, and stop polluting the task bar with rubbish that 99.99% of the time the user goes to the menu they aren't going to even use.

No, we have to have a directory for our company name, then a subdirectory under it for each program made by our company... with 4 to 12 links just for our one program.

When the user would be better served by just a simple launch icon thrown in a consistant location for what the program DOES - just like Gnome and KDE.

The XP and Vista start menus for example, are complete /FAIL/ in my book because all it ever lists is usually the LAST thing I plan on running - because it usually lists what I was JUST using. "Recent" stuff is fine when you've just rebooted or come back a day later - it's next to useless if you go to the task bar for a different program or file more than once every fifteen minutes.

There's a reason under XP and Vista one of the first things I do is switch back to the classic menu, then spend several minutes customizing it. It's enough to make me wish I could replace explorer with Gnome - excepting that gnome blows when it comes to running the taskbar in portrait mode.

... and no, switching to linux is not an option, see, I do WORK and GAMES on my computers - and for what I do *nix still falls flat on it's face for use as a desktop OS, as does OS X... Though I'd LOVE to be able to take bits and pieces from each and combine them. OSX's handling of program installation, Gnomes menu, Windows Taskbar (with that stupid 'grouping' rubbish turned off), and Windows hardware compatability and software base.

Taskbar is another great example. The original ungrouped taskbar was all I ever needed or wanted. All these other methods of handling it seem either to give you information starvation (OS X Dock), don't handle different aspects or placements well (Gnome and KDE - I like my taskbar in portrait mode on the left side of my left display at about 320px wide. Neither handle this well) or take something that was just FINE and cripple it into being useless (Windows 'group by program' option)...

Though I'd love to see Leopard style 'fan' on a "grouped by program" windows style taskbar.

... and no fat bloated eye candy rubbish like RocketDock or Windowblinds are not an answer.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ... and again
by sakeniwefu on Fri 31st Oct 2008 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE: ... and again"
sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

While app design has improved a lot since the 90s, Desktop design has gone down a slippery slope.
How can an always-on Taskbar, with icons that fill up the screen, with auto-grouping so that you have to browse it to get where you want, be better than Windows 2000? How can a menu that doesn't show where you come from and you must click through be better than a menu you can hover around? It might look better if you are a toddler, but be better?
Vista I can handle because I can have Classic with a normal taskbar, but Windows 7 has gone too deep into the Mac OS X way to be as good as its predecessors Desktop-UI-wise.
I want a modern OS AND I want a powerful UI that doesn't fill up the whole (wide)screen with useless eyecandy. This is why I use XFCE.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ... and again
by Stephen! on Fri 31st Oct 2008 12:23 UTC in reply to "RE: ... and again"
Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

And some people won't change their ways no matter what you say, so at some point - if you think you have an idea that works better than the current on (like Microsoft thinks in this case) - you just have to force people.


It's like the body changes during puberty. Some people may not like it at first, but they're forced to deal with it one way or another.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ... and again
by BluenoseJake on Fri 31st Oct 2008 13:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ... and again"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

nobody decides when puberty starts, this is a decision. Hopefully the people deciding change their minds.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ... and again
by Rugxulo on Fri 31st Oct 2008 16:27 UTC in reply to "RE: ... and again"
Rugxulo Member since:
2007-10-09

But then again, people managed to use DOS, OS/2, old Win 3.x, etc, as well


I wouldn't say any of those (or any at all) are really easy to use. In fact, most are typically pretty darn cryptic, at best! That's why there are so many computer help books (Windows for Dummies, Mac OS X for Dummies, Linux in a Nutshell, etc) as well as online help in spades.

And some people won't change their ways no matter what you say, so at some point - if you think you have an idea that works better than the current on (like Microsoft thinks in this case) - you just have to force people. They might end up thinking "...but wait a minute, this actually works better".


Maybe they should replace Notepad with (n)vi : it's more productive that way, right? Surely no one will complain when typing doesn't do what they want. ;-)

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ... and again
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 31st Oct 2008 17:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ... and again"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

"I wouldn't say any of those (or any at all) are really easy to use. In fact, most are typically pretty darn cryptic, at best!"

Heh... cryptic? That's an understatement. Three words... Abort, Retry, Fail? Enough said. ;)

"Bad command or file name" was also a vague one.

Reply Score: 2

RE: ... and again
by MamiyaOtaru on Fri 31st Oct 2008 11:31 UTC in reply to "... and again"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

win98 the pinnacle?

It totally ignored fitts law. You couldn't click on the corner to hit the start button, or on the bottom of the screen to hit taskbar items. There was a pixel or two of dead space. It bothered me enough that I hacked a bunch of litestep modules to make a theme that looked just like explorer.exe but where you could click on the screen edge*.

If that interface is your thing, XP (with classic menu and style) is to me demonstrably better.

* http://mamiyaotaru.deviantart.com/art/JayOS-975319
warning: fug. I was proud of how all the modules conformed to your windows color choices. This was important for me when I was dual booting 98 and XP, which had slightly different default colors. With that theme I could have it match regardless of colors used

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ... and again
by dagw on Fri 31st Oct 2008 12:37 UTC in reply to "RE: ... and again"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

If that interface is your thing, XP (with classic menu and style) is to me demonstrably better.

Not that I disagree with your statement, but it still has that same dead zone at the bottom of the menu bar.

Personally I never noticed until I read some article by some usability 'expert' ranting about how horrible it was, and even after that I can't say I've ever actually had problem with it in actual usage.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: ... and again
by MamiyaOtaru on Tue 4th Nov 2008 16:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ... and again"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

I'm pretty sure it doesn't*. It looks like it does, but you can actually click there. It was realizing this that made me stop maintaining my litestep code.

*not at a windows machine right now or I'd check. If I'm wrong I'll reply with a mea culpa.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: ... and again
by dagw on Wed 5th Nov 2008 16:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ... and again"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

I checked before I posted, but I just checked again now. Dead zone is still there for both the Start menu and the tool bar in the Classic theme (which is the one I use most and did my orignal test in), but I just realized they've fixed it in the XP theme. Strangely the dead zone isn't there for the quick launch buttons in either theme. I guess Microsoft is nothing if not inconsistant. So I guess we're both right ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by BluenoseJake
by BluenoseJake on Fri 31st Oct 2008 13:39 UTC
BluenoseJake
Member since:
2005-08-11

I am surprised and dismayed.

Reply Score: 1

Can't have it two ways
by darknexus on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:02 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

I know I'll get flamed for saying this... but I'm glad MS is finally giving Windows a UI overhall and removing the previous UI's--assuming, of course, they actually do it. There comes a point when you just have to say out with the old and in with the new.
Exactly what I think about these particular UI changes? I'll wait until I can actually try it--which won't be for a while--before I make a judgement call.
Sometimes there's just no two ways about this. Everyone here, myself included, complains that Windows is full of bloat. Well, hate to break it to you, but a major component of that bloat is all the "legacy switches" that have been left in there. It's far from the only source of bloat, but it's a big one. MS can't keep providing infinite backward compatibility in their UI, and it's about time they just cut the legacy UI out. They have to do it at some point, and now's as good a time as any. In fact, I think they waited too long.
This doesn't mean I approve of their UI decisions at this point, but I approve of their stance on it. Honestly in my personal opinion there doesn't need to be a lot of overhall to the win2k/xp interface, but the old dialogs and older UI modes need to be cut out.
Now, here's hoping they actually follow through with it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Can't have it two ways
by tech10171968 on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:51 UTC in reply to "Can't have it two ways"
tech10171968 Member since:
2007-05-22

"MS can't keep providing infinite backward compatibility in their UI, and it's about time they just cut the legacy UI out. They have to do it at some point, and now's as good a time as any. In fact, I think they waited too long."

Agreed. After all, it worked for Apple, no?

Of course, corporate users seem to be the reason for the emphasis on all the backward compatability (just stating an opinion here, not fact). These companies are using a lot of proprietary and mission-critical apps which were written for older Windows versions, so it seems (to me) that Microsoft was merely trying to address the concerns of one of its biggest market segments. However, your statement is spot-on; you can take backward compatability only so far before it become less of a feature and more of a lead weight, for it stifles any sort of real innovation.

At some point Microsoft is going to have to make a clean break with the past if they want to do something innovative with any future version of their OS.

Reply Score: 1

Bounty
Member since:
2006-09-18

They took away choice = bad.

You might also be more productive if I shove a hot poker up your ass, so I'll go fire up the furnace. I guess forcing a move to Linux will be more productive.

/* begin rant
While they're at it, they should change "File" to "syxy" and hide it somewhere, then they can rename Add/Remove Programs to Programs and Features, then to Features and things we'll let you uninstall. Then they can make a fake "Program Files" directory and stick half of your stuff there. Then they can stick half of your browser controls on one side of the address bar, and the other have all the way across the #H@Hing screen. */

-Bounty

Reply Score: 1

Microsoft is right....
by polaris20 on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:52 UTC
polaris20
Member since:
2005-07-06

It does take very little time to adapt to a new interface if you're immersed in it.

I switched over to a MacBook Pro from an XP-based Thinkpad and I'm doing great!! ;)

Reply Score: 2

Regular Taskbar
by ngnr on Fri 31st Oct 2008 16:08 UTC
ngnr
Member since:
2008-01-16

hummm I don't know, the new taskbar looks like a "Dock" to me.

I switched to mac a year ago and love OS X but I think the dock has usability issues.

IMHO the regular taskbar (win,kde,gnome,xfce) it's a better UI approach to track current running processes.

Edited 2008-10-31 16:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

sigh..
by xushi on Fri 31st Oct 2008 17:04 UTC
xushi
Member since:
2005-08-29

sigh... you can all scream and shout, but in the end what will happen is the same every time.. you will accept it like the sheep that you are.

Reply Score: 2

RE: sigh..
by darknexus on Fri 31st Oct 2008 17:36 UTC in reply to "sigh.."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well those who use Windows by choice, anyway. I don't. Of course it's not surprising that someone has already resorted to demeaning namecalling, but hey if you really want to play that way...

Reply Score: 1

What's wrong here?
by dwave on Sat 1st Nov 2008 09:02 UTC
dwave
Member since:
2006-09-19

What's wrong with a desktop OS market leader that presents minor tweaks of age-old GUI like the dawn of a new time?

Reply Score: 1