Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 31st Oct 2008 14:47 UTC
Windows Yes, we're still on the subject of Windows 7's user interface overhaul. We know what's going to change, we know what it looks like, but there's one important question that has not really been given much stage time: why? At PDC, one session was dedicated to just that question. Speaking is Chaitanya Sareen [.wmv], part of the windows user interface team. He'll place the changes in Windows 7 into context, talk about Windows' user interface history, and he'll explain why certain changes were made. An interesting insight into the goals of the Windows 7 interface.
Order by: Score:
"Early and often"
by kragil on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:10 UTC
Member since:

I have heard that before ... somewhere.

But "Every product will fail you" sounds like something MS would say ;)

Reply Score: 5

RE: "Early and often"
by google_ninja on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:29 UTC in reply to ""Early and often""
google_ninja Member since:

Software development process is something I am absolutely fascinated by. It may seem like MS is copying open source, but this is an example of how MS is currently getting dragged into the agile world.

If you read that, you will see how open source has influenced the rest of the industry.

I would love to go on and on about how MS is stuck in practices and processes that were forward thinking 5-10 years ago, and how they are desperately trying to adapt to what a larger and larger contingent of their customer base is demanding from them, but this is already pretty off topic ;-) The fact we are hearing this from Sinofsky though is another sign of hope for the company.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: "Early and often"
by kragil on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:59 UTC in reply to "RE: "Early and often""
kragil Member since:

Yeah, but when I hear them talking about bitmap icons (at the end of the talk) I loose all hope again ;)


Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: "Early and often"
by dmrio on Fri 31st Oct 2008 16:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Early and often""
dmrio Member since:
RE[3]: "Early and often"
by FunkyELF on Fri 31st Oct 2008 18:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Early and often""
FunkyELF Member since:


Seconded. I want resolution independence. My 15.4" laptop has 1920x1200 pixels.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: "Early and often"
by gustl on Mon 3rd Nov 2008 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Early and often""
gustl Member since:

For SURE Microsoft will NOT use SVG.

Can't use anything which is standardized, can they?

Reply Score: 2

Change it, but don't change anything!
by Serophos on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:26 UTC
Member since:

When reading through tech forums all those so called "OS-enthuiasts" always cry for Microsoft to change their Windows user interface because it is so unusable, "cluttered" (what ever that means), an such a general pain in the a$$. But when MS finally changes the UI, starting with Windows Vista, Office 2007 and going even further in Windows 7, the same people that cried before start complaining that "Function A" is not where it used to be, and The old menu was so much more usefull. The only complain I will rise is that Microsoft did not remove the classic Start-menu and the Classic-Theme from Vista. And I sure hope they do so in Windows Seven. All those ties and glue that are needed to keep those old parts inside is what makes Windows such a mess!

Edited 2008-10-31 15:29 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Thom_Holwerda Member since:

What have you been reading you smart girl?
Win the game, love
Give 'em what they want
What they want to see and you could be a big star
You could go far
Make a landmark
Make a shit load

Shirley already knew it.

Reply Score: 2

g2devi Member since:

Actually, the reason for the "inconsistency of opinion" is simple. People don't just want change, they want and *improvement*. When Win95 came out, everything was different from Win 3.1, but people jumped on it precisely because the UI of Win95 was far superior to Win 3.1. When XP came out, people balked. XP was superior to W2K functionwise (after the first service pack), but XP was just change for the sake of change. People eventually got used to XP and the last W2K holdouts didn't have much choice once the W2K EOL (but they at least had "Classic mode"), so XP succeeded.

Vista failed because it was change for the sake of change, with no redeeming features other than glitz and bloat.

It's too early to tell about Windows 7. I personally haven't seen anything yet of value over XP other than change for the sake of change and a hardening of the commitment to "the one true way -- no compromises". But Windows 7 is still nowhere near release, so there's lots of time for Microsoft to surprise us. So I'll reserve judgement on whether Windows 7 is another Win95 or another WinME.

Reply Score: 3

Serophos Member since:

And this is where you are wrong! Vista does a lot things different then XP not for the sake of making things different. Like it or not, there is a concept behind removing things like the "One folder up"-Button. Just click on any part of the path in the bread-crumb-thingie and you jump to any folder above in the tree. Getting two fodlers up now takes one click instead of two = improvement. This is just an example of course. Of course you can not make everyone happy, you always have to target Mr.& and Mrs. Average.

And even if there is no obvious reason behind a change: Sometimes you need to make a change to see if it is an improvement or not because in a lot of scenarios only reallife use will tell.

And now you say: But give me the option to change it back the way it was. And the answer is: This is exactly the thing that leads to the kind of "bloat" (I hate that term) that you are brandmarking. You need to have millions and millions of options and different user interfaces, maintain more code just to satisfy a small percentage of users (and they are small).

And if you do not like it, who forces you to upgrade? Just stick with your old computer from 1995. Mine still works perfectly at my parents house.

Reply Score: 5

sorpigal Member since:

And this is where you are wrong! Vista does a lot things different then XP not for the sake of making things different. Like it or not, there is a concept behind removing things like the "One folder up"-Button. Just click on any part of the path in the bread-crumb-thingie and you jump to any folder above in the tree. Getting two fodlers up now takes one click instead of two = improvement.

This is one of those 'improvements' that I don't like. Yes, it *can* be better and I generally approve of this feature. But... removing the "up one" button is *still* bad. If you have a long path and want to go up to a folder *just left* of the leftmost displayed it takes much longer than moving your mouse pointer once and rapidly clicking one button.

I like the vista 'breadcrumbs' navigation stlye. I liked it when people proposed it for GTK's file chooser dialog in 2005, I think MS implemented it just right. I think it's the one thing in vista they got exactly right. I think they were fools to remove the up one folder button.

This is what I *hate* about UI improvement wonks. Just because they've decided doing something else is 'better' for everyone they want to *force* me to do it. They do not realize that they are not all-knowing. This is like Nautilus spatial mode all over again. The message was: We know how you should be working, so we wont give you an option of doing what you want. Our way is better, just conform to our expectations!

Reply Score: 2

Comment by satan666
by satan666 on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:37 UTC
Member since:

Why so many stories about Windows 7? It's a pre-prerelease for God's sake.
And why now? They plan to release Windows 7 at the beginning of 2010. That means that they will actually release it in 2012.
Why aren't you excited about Vista?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by satan666
by google_ninja on Fri 31st Oct 2008 15:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by satan666"
google_ninja Member since:

The PDC is going on right now, and the windows team hasn't said anything about 7 until now. That is why the sudden flood of news.

Reply Score: 7

Comment by pcunite
by pcunite on Fri 31st Oct 2008 16:53 UTC
Member since:

Given that I buy an OS if I want to or not I have held off purchasing Vista all because the folder view did not have an UP arrow and the address bar did not provide "\" as the separator in the default view (unless clicked on).

Silly? Probably... but why not provide for people as strange as me the option to revert to Windows 2000 classic interface?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by pcunite
by darknexus on Fri 31st Oct 2008 17:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by pcunite"
darknexus Member since:

Because at some point they have to stop providing the old UI. How far back would you have them provide? If Windows is to ever break free of its shackles and bloat then ms needs to, at some point, say no to providing legacy interfaces. It's not a full solution but it is a start.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by pcunite
by google_ninja on Fri 31st Oct 2008 17:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by pcunite"
google_ninja Member since:

Not trying to convince you or anything (i honestly don't care what OS other people use), but the lack of an up arrow was awkward to me for about a week.

Now I have a hard time using a file explorer that does not have a dropdown list of root nodes on the first arrow.

Edited 2008-10-31 17:35 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Windows 2007 Hmm
by ritesh_nair on Fri 31st Oct 2008 18:44 UTC
Member since:

Tried it. Friend lent me his copy he received and i tested it on virtual box . boots in 40 secs and works nice at 1024 MB. not bad. Liked it. I still like vista sp1 though

Reply Score: 1

Two-sided approach
by siki_miki on Fri 31st Oct 2008 22:07 UTC
Member since:

Vista does quite a few improvements under the hood, but MS somehow neglected importance of consistent and improved GUI (some parts were improved, but others, like sidebar, turned out to be annoying). Add to this early problems with drivers and performance, and people will lbe unsatisfied.

Windows 7 - here they try more to improve the GUI. Unfortunately they design it by looking at what people do mostly. Somehow I don't find it the best approach. If you see how TV got worse by just producing content that was the most popular, you will understand what I mean. If they are concentrating just on most common usage and neglect the rest, we will get UI that works well for most basic needs, but is severly limited (or even breaks apart) when you try to customize it for more advanced needs. Somehow I think Apple got this better and tend to adjust UI more after whan advanced users want - and therefore they got significant market share in academic circles, for example.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Two-sided approach
by Phloptical on Sun 2nd Nov 2008 15:23 UTC in reply to "Two-sided approach"
Phloptical Member since:

Somehow I think Apple got this better and tend to adjust UI more after whan advanced users want - and therefore they got significant market share in academic circles, for example.

Again, Apple can afford to do this because the amount of Mac users is a fraction of the amount of Windows users. And also, the typical Mac user isn't a 'button pusher', who uses a PC because he/she has to.

For the record, Microsoft is starting to adopt this philosophy, and I think it's wrong. Example: I like the ribbon interface, but I don't think they should have done away with the classic theme in Office 2007. Now my company is going to have to spend time and money in training users on the new interface, at the very least is loss of productivity. I don't care how much Microsoft "believes" in new UI decisions. You can't strand a whole subset of users like Apple does by not offering a choice of making things at least 'look' the way they did before. Also it impacts our upgrade cycle. We'll now have to support Office 2003 as well as the 2007 converter for who knows how long.

Reply Score: 3

Forcing Change
by High Plains Drifter on Sun 2nd Nov 2008 18:48 UTC
High Plains Drifter
Member since:

With Office 2007, Microsoft started doing something very different: there was no way to restore the Menu Bar... you were forced to use the new ribbon.

That's very uncharacteristic of Microsoft, which almost always features a "classic" setting when introducing a UI change, I would assume because institutional customers on which Microsoft depends will avoid an upgrade rather than go through the expense of re-training their staff.

But with Vista, Microsoft is continuing the Office 2007 thing saying "this way or nothing," or "this way is better so get used to it".

I find that, well, kinda Apple-ish of them. It's usually Steve Jobs who is trying to teach the world to do things his way.

I still remember the first Mac keyboard in 1984-5 that lacked arrow-keys to force users to use the mouse. Windows, in contrast, went to pains to make sure there was always a keyboard equivalent, although perhaps because early Microsoft (serial-port) Mice were pretty flaky.

Anyway, Microsoft products were always very accommodating for the way people wanted to work. Word, for years, had settings to accommodate people accustomed to WordPerfect.

So, with Vista and Office 2007, I see Microsoft getting cocky. They don't need to accommodate users anymore... let the users accommodate Microsoft.

Well, I've acclimated to Windows XP pretty well, once SP1 and 100+ patches weaned me away from what was a dependable and useful Win2K. What's more, Intel and AMD have advanced enough to make XP a pleasant experience.

So things like even a moderate performance hit, memory requirements, and a bulkier GUI that takes away what helps me work faster but adds junk that I don't need is plenty enough to keep me from upgrading to Vista. And let's not talk the price tag across 6 Vista variations.

Yes, the dropping of the "up folder" button is stupid, even though there is an alternative, even an interesting alternative with the bread-crumbs. There should be a way to put the "up folder" back for those who want it. This does not make for bulky, legacy code that needs to be shed for the OS to move on.

And, frankly, I find Aero ugly. At least Microsoft's current implementation of it. That's my taste I guess, but where's the customization options? People say Vista should shed the legacy Win2K classic interface, and I agree it looks pretty dated, but Windows offered a way to modify just about every aspect of that interface. There's no way I know of to do that to Aero... you get just a handful of color schemes, and, sorry, I don't like any of them.

Microsoft did that to XP, too, BTW. The XP interface came in silver, blue, and olive drab. Hardly any of the Win2K "advanced" settings did anything to the XP skin. There are hacks around it, but again, they're hacks.

This is extremely Apple-ish of Microsoft. I expect Mac OS X to give me very little to change or customize in Aqua. That's how Apple has always been. Fortunately, they usually make good choices, although Jaguar's mirror-dock and a brief flirt with too much transparency remind us they aren't perfect either.

But Microsoft is doing nothing for goodwill toward its customers by following suit. For better or worse, the 85% or more of the marketplace who use Windows have gotten used to Windows XP. We've coaxed out all the customizations there are, hiding somewhere in a menu or a toolbox, to give us the tools, buttons, and key-mappings we need to get our work done. Where Microsoft falls short, we've found a free or shareware hack out there that filled the gap (e.g., tclock2, bxNewFolder, Y'z shadow, Winroll, IE7pro, to plug a few).

Vista, and Windows 7 as best I can tell, yanks most of this away in favor of eye-candy and un-proven UI devices... that is UI devices that are not known to actually make getting one's work done faster.

One way or another, it's wasted time re-learning how best to get things done. And for what? Why should I have to use an Apple-Searchlight clone to find my files when I'm now lightning fast browsing File Explorer? So Windows 7 can be faster, smaller, more efficient from dumping legacy code?

Newsflash: this UI stuff is NOT the bloat legacy code that Vista and Windows 7 needs to lose... it's the compatibility code, some of which has to run every time you launch an app, that accommodates for old, old or poorly written software.

The promise of Windows 7 is to dump all that into a virtual machine. Kudos. So why butcher the lean, efficient Start menu and Task bar to make it look more like KDE and Apple? Why arbitrarily remove UI elements here and there? Why lock Aero into a virtually uncustomizable look? Why keep the Win2K interface as "classic" but dump the XP interface entirely?

And most especially, why put all this effort into these arguably superficial features, when they could be putting that effort into fixing all the bugs and annoyances of XP, which all of us are have had to grow used to and work around?

I would happily pay $$$ for a Windows XP version 2: that is, XP that is lighter, faster, more bug free and more fundamentally virus/malware proof, more customizable (officially supported skinning!), and sure! uses DirectX acceleration for the desktop.

Does that sound like Vista or Windows 7? but it's not. They fall short of being an improvement to the XP experience as much as a departure from it. The under-the-hood improvements introduced with Vista and 7 also introduce lots of unwanted changes to the experience itself. More bloat, unwelcome and arbitrary user-interface changes, and higher hardware requirements with a take-it or leave-it appearance: if you don't like Aero, 'cause it's too slow or just ugly, well, you can look like Win2K.

Rather than fixing and improving what Microsoft's dominant market share actually use, Microsoft chose to look sexy. With Vista, and I fear, with Windows 7, they are failing at both.

Perhaps Microsoft thinks consumers are dumb and need sexy eye-candy rather than bug-fixes to cough-up $$$ for an operating system upgrade. They're wrong. Consumers are already sold on XP, having learned to work with it for years. Consumers have learned its shortcomings, too, and would appreciate an improved XP that addresses them in a way that does not intrude too much in their every day use.

Give consumers a product like that, in two price points for Home and Professional, and they would pay to upgrade. I sure would.

Reply Score: 1

What does that start menu ...
by de_wizze on Sun 2nd Nov 2008 20:56 UTC
Member since:

... remind you of. I'm not trying to start a flame war but which of those previously existing application would you say that the new Windows 7 menu bar remind you of.

Explorer Start Menu?
OSX Dock?
AWN Window Manager?

I know I am missing some others but the thing is, in it 'current implementation' I want to know what similarity he was trying to head off by giving the long history of the menu bar when it seems to me that it looks like and works more like something else.

Edited 2008-11-02 20:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2