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Jenny Lam - Designing Experiences at Microsoft

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Ever wonder who creates those cool icons, animations, and the general graphical experiences in our products like Windows Vista? Well, Scoble wanted to meet one of these people and turns out Jenny Lam is the "Experience" Designer at Microsoft. Scoble recently met with her for chat about this whole Experience thing.

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  • ZeoZeo Channel 9 :)

    Scoble and Charles.... This interview with Jenny is another great video and while I understand that this isn't directly part of the  WM-IN video series...why can't C9 just tack on the questions about women in technology to every women that is interviewed by C9. Jenny is really smart and this interview was a lot of fun. I'm sure anyone who finds the WM_IN series from google would miss this great interview...

    As a proposed solution could you tag all future videos with women as [tag]MS Woman[tag]?

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Most of the time our interviews are not well thought out in terms of what we are going to ask (even the WM_IN ones, though we certainly maintain a theme there...). These are just real-time conversations (thus our distaste for editing and preparing interviewees) with interesting people doing interesting things, really.

    C
  • i find it interesting that she said its a reason why the taskbar and the sidebar are black, while we start to see a white sidebar...
    I liked the white taskbar of the older versions better, and by the way i liked the rainbow multicolor explorer thing. i'm already tired of the blue-green. i hope they do a lot of fit and finish with the common controls and the glass itself, because right now the glass is horrible (it needs a lot more blur than it has at the moment)


  • tsilbSlackmasterK This Space ​Intentional​ly Left Blank

    RE: Widgets

    Regarding the desktop 'toys' that were discussed, I hope these will either be programs the user can launch or, if an applet, hidden and/or disabled by default.  Anything that interferes with productivity and efficiency is going to annoy alot of people.  Features are good, be they big or small, but we don't all want some of them in our face all the time.

  • ZeoZeo Channel 9 :)

    Jenny, 
           Having been to several PDCs and haven asked Tjreed about the UI concepts he showed at PDC 05 he told me that huge changes were underway for a revolutionary UI for VISTA(not the pearl which has been settled on), Vedbrat even mentioned a UI without a start bar much like the famed Neptune UI. When I talked with Pablo from the Avalon team he mentioned that Microsoft projects were well underway using Sparkle that will continue to excite Windows Users for the next decade.

    Given that Vista's UI doesn't seem to jump out and excite me....much like what I was expecting from Tjreed, Vedbrat, and Pablo...plus what's posted over here: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=154429#154429,


    Can you just talk about your feelings about the design future of Windows....are your ideas embraced or does it always feel like the cool ideas die in commiting because Microsoft has to make safe business decisions?

  • MinhMinh WOOH!  WOOH!
    Well, that's interesting. Vista default icons won't be vectorized. Maybe MS should invent a new hinting system for icons, eh?

    It's interesting that Robert brought up realism in games. To get linear "realism" in games, you have to spend exponentially. So, all this eye candy in Vista isn't for free. What can MS do to supply developers with quality graphics that fit in w/ Vista's new level of design?

    No one wants to see 32x32x16 icons in Vista, do they?

    BTW, what is this emo-ti-ons and feel-ings of which you spoke about in the video Robert?
  • It's the little things that count and that's what I like about what Jenny and her co-workers do. They can't rely on FLASHy things, it's all about colours and a few pixels.
    It's almost like going back to my old Amiga where you drew (or crafted) stuff in EA Deluxe Paint one pixel at a time. We where pixel pokers way back in the 80's.

    Many builds ago people believed that Vista was going to have stuff swishing in and out everywhere but if you think about it you will realize that it's the first thing that most people will turn off because animation happens over time. Of course this means waiting and nobody wants to wait for their OS, they want things to just pop.

    Just make sure that for us people who don't want huge icons, which Chris Pirillo calls it elephantitis and huge text that we can still run our interface that way.
    I hate wasting space and I have 2 monitors.

  • The first time I saw Gnome vector icons I was happy Smiley
    I hope MS doesn't stop people who want to use completely vector icons from doing it if they want to.  I know it's limiting creatively because I work in Illustrator all the time, but I know it must be possible to do what they did with Gnome in Vista.
  • smidleysmidley Music Freak
    Good video.  Someone should tell her that we need higher resolution wallpapers for people like me with 24" widescreen monitors!  I need more 1920x1200 content!
  • My desire is that Vista would support SVG icons. Also, locking people to a hand few of formats to customize the user experience is really frustrating (why not allow mp3's for user sounds or vector formats for desktop background?), I could have understood that in the windows 1.0 - XP timeframe but Vista should allow more leverage with that kind of stuff.
  • baluptonbalupton I'm a actually a bot.
    Did i see editing at between 36 and 37 minutes through....

    And that was a really great interview, it's facinating how much they know and put into design.

    One question, After Windows Vista is released could we see those 200+ Start Buttons? Wink If not will we ever get to see them?
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    Yeah, there was one spot that I needed to edit out cause we started talking about a competitor and we thought better of it after we shot it.
  • leighswordleighsword LeighSword
    I heard Apple has animated icons, Does MS want use Flash icons in Vista?
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    LaBomba, I deleted your comment. I'm tired of seeing posts here noting female's looks. I don't see the men judged that way here. Does that really help the industry attract more smart women? I don't think so.
  • LaBombaLaBomba Summer
    scobleizer wrote:
    LaBomba, I deleted your comment. I'm tired of seeing posts here noting female's looks. I don't see the men judged that way here. Does that really help the industry attract more smart women? I don't think so.


    So, sorry for being a guy.

    I should just pretend i'm blind.

    Of course you don't see the men judged that way...they don't look like Jenny or Carol.

    If smart women will get turned off from the industry because of a few comments, then are they really that smart?

    I don't think so.
  • tsilbSlackmasterK This Space ​Intentional​ly Left Blank
    Scoble isn't saying that.  He's saying that the smart women may be turned away by the concept of being a sexual target and item of conversation on that topic.  Granted, that's what they seem to want, but it's supposed to remain in private, friendly conversations; not public, broadcasted ones.  That is, if I enterpret Scoble's response correctly.
  • helveticagirlhelveticagi​rl design matters
    Hello ChrisA,
    I wanted to quickly reply to your question about the usage of black in the taskbar and sidebar. Of course color can be so subjective! but some of the benefits the design team thought of when finalizing on a dark, smokey color for periphery UI elements:

    - blends with the periphery of the monitor window. Ever notice how there's a few black dead pixels around the bezel of your monitor? Dark elements seem to fade into it - which takes advantage of those dead pixels at the same time making the UI proportionally smaller. (Is really true how black is slimming? Wink)

    - for max'd windows, puts the focus on the content of the windows. (aka "swelling force") + more obvious difference between max and restored windows

    - high contrast with the content area (putting more focus on users stuff over chrome)

    - neutral yet professional color that works well with other elements

    Thanks for watching the interview!
    jenny
  • helveticagirlhelveticagi​rl design matters
    Actually, I went back and looked at the real count of Start button explorations and it wasn't that high. It was a little over 100 which is still seems like a lot of work for 30 pixels. And I must confess that I also had my facts incorrect and straightened out by Tjeerd Hoek about the history of the start button. He sent me the biggo long email thread about it too Smiley Too long to go into right now but both Tjeerd Hoek and Greg Melander pushed that thing to be the pearl that it is today. Mike Hone, cool designer-by-day (cyclist-by-weekend) Aussie, put most of the finishing touches on it just recently. Look out for another special appearance of the Windows pearl in Beta 2 Wink
  • Deactivated UserDeactivated User

    Comment removed at user's request.

  • ZippyVZippyV Fired Up
    What about people who are colourblind? Does Microsoft do testing with these people? A lot of men have some kind of (light) colourblindness.
  • Well that was inspiring. Jenny seems like a sweetie. Robert 10 out of 10 for the interview. I would love more of this stuff. Speaking as someone who spends equal amounts of time in Visual Studio, Final Cut Pro and Photoshop I want to encourage Jenny and her team to keep forcing the issue. Make damn sure that Microsoft has no alternative but to listen to you. Here is the takeaway message I hope everyone got from the video... Good Design Matters. Style matters. It just does. That should be a mantra repeated throughout the Microsoft Corporation.  Make it into a poster.

    I hope her hard work does not go to waste. I have my fears. And they are mostly centred around a creature known as the Windows developer (cue scary music). Here is my picture of Windows developer 2006. He (for he is almost certainly a he) is white, middle aged, possibly a little on the upholstered side,  invariably highly intelligent, he has a philosophical bent, is rigorous and who knows, maybe a bit stuck in his ways. He sees no reason to use fancy new programming models when Win 32 is all a man will ever need. And more often than not, he creates decent software. Occasionally he creates transformative software that changes the way we compute.

    Now all of these thing are good things (well maybe not the Win32 bit). Without the white, middle aged men of science our world would be much worse off than it is. We depend on them getting their sums right for our planes to fly, our computers to compute and our cars to start in the morning. We should be eternally grateful to them. I know I am.  These people, our engineers, are genuine heroes.

    But Windows developers, on the whole have no sense of style. No taste. No feel for design. And their products suffer greatly as a result. No matter how great an algorithm is, if it is wrapped in used tissue paper, my response is gonna be yeuch! There are times when I feel like vomiting when I look at my Windows apps. From their crude icons to their gaudy interfaces they seem to shout “Design is for Girls!” You've gotta wonder if they will undo all of Jenny's good work. Parenthetically, I wonder how highly developers score on the Autism Quotient Test (FWIW, I scored 24)

    Now Microsoft itself is equally culpable in this regard. They have created such horrors as the Multiple Document Interface (boy some will really hate me for saying that) and Windows ME.  And frankly Windows XP looks like a Fisher Price toy. It is too bright. And please Microsoft, I’m begging you, give the blue a rest will ya?

    Which leads me to Vista. I don’t like the Vista interface. I find it bland and uninspiring. I mean it's fresh and clean but really, it’s a case of “Meet the new UI, same as the old UI” (apologies to Pete Townsend). It looks and I’m not the first to say this, something like a sanitary towel ad.  It looks, ahem, girly. I am deeply disapointed that this is the final UI. What happened to the revolutionary UI designs of 2003? Where is my damn carousel interface? Where has all the cool directorware gone?

    And another thing... I have been using “Microsoft Expression Graphic Designer” and “Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer” (you know naming is an art too. It is also part of the design gestalt. Compare “Sparkle” with “Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer”. Stupid!) Whatever they are called, they are great design tools. There is some revolutionary stuff in both. The combination of Vectors and bitmaps in one app is something of a holy grail. Graphic Designer is a fine first effort.  The photo stitching algorithm is  mind-blowingly wonderful (I urge you to try the Notre Dame demo). Interactive Designer threatens to streamline my workflow drastically in future and I can only be grateful for that. But here is the kicker;  both apps are really, really ugly. This is unforgivable in an application made for designers. Please tell me the UI will be completely re-written for Vista.

    OK I’m done. I’m off to play with my Mac.

  • Jenny I am interested to know your reaction to the Mac community who trash Microsoft's design efforts. I mean they seem to think there is ZERO design in Microsoft products. And they don't hold back with their abuse either. If Vista can squeeze on or two compliments from Mac users then you will have done exceptionally well.

    True story: Steve Jobs once said publicly (Triumph of the Nerds) that Bill Gates has no style. He called up Bill to apologise for the innapropriate public remark, whilst confirming its validity. Bill's response was, "Well perhaps it's true that I have no style, but that doesn't mean my entire company has no style."

  • sloppycodesloppycode Cynical brit
    The question about being years behind Apple in terms of design seemed to be artfully dodged and turned around into people copying Microsoft.

    It's odd why Microsoft don't just say yes we didn't use to care about graphics too much but now we do. However it would've also been worthwhile pointing out that Windows is not aimed at the media industry (who are more image conscious) whilst Macs are, and so their userbase care more about it.

    I have a question about the colors in windows: is this dictated by color pyschologists or is left down to the design time? How much user testing (how many people test it) is involved in this?
  • Sloppycode

    I think there is a culture of design excellence in the Macintosh community which is absent in the Windows world. As you hinted the audience the Mac appeals to makes this kind of self selecting peer group. But it is more than that. I mean, blood will spill if a developer so much as DARES to stray from a default keyboard short cut. It can get insane.

    In many ways it is simpler and more accurate to think of Apple as a cult and its devotees as cult followers.
  • ChadkChadk excuse me - do you has a flavor?
    ChrisA wrote:
    Great interview.  Home run hit for channel 9.  Oh yeah, Mr. Scoble, we geeks do like Starbucks.   I have never seen someone get so excited about a Target shirt.  Great thoughts on Branding and trust and it was put in a way I had never thought about before.  Ms. Lam said there was a reason for the black taskbar, what are the reasons for black?  I havent used Windows Vista yet, so will it become clear later on or what do the users who have used Windows Vista think.  Does color make that much of a difference?

    I do, indeed, think its does.
    For instance black.
    This colour is both comforting, protective, and mysterious. It is associated with silence, the infinite, and the femine life force-passive, uncharted, and mysterious. Black can also prevent us from growing and changing. We often cloak ourselves in black to hide from the world.

    While orange is a joyous colour. It frees and releases emotions and alleviates feelings of self-pity, lack of self worth, and unwillingness to forgive. It stimulates the mind, renewing interest in life ; it is a wonderful anti-depressant and lifts the spirits. Apricot and Peach is good for nervous exhaustion. Some positive aspects of orange are joyous, sociable, creative and constructive. Some negative aspects of orange are despondancy, pride and exhibitionism.

    I think color make a big difference.
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    My target shirt is Orange. Smiley
  • Tom ServoTom Servo W-hat?

    Will there be options to customize the colors inside the Explorer? Means that teal-blue mess. It took already considerable whining in the beta newsgroups to get customizable glass frames, but the Explorer insides aren't really appealing, however is there no way to change that except hacking the binaries.

    Before Luna, people could change the colors of all applications centrally, but anything beyond the classic mode gets overridden by the static theme colors. That's not cool at all. People want to customize their operating system, and that without jumping through hoops as soon you're done setting the wallpaper.

    Thanks.

  • ChadkChadk excuse me - do you has a flavor?
    scobleizer wrote:
    My target shirt is Orange. Smiley

    Yes. Orange is a very nice color.
  • rjdohnertrjdohnert You will never know success until you know failure
    Great job Scoble and Jenny Lam.  I heard Jenny on the PowerUser.TV Podcast and now here.  She does an amazing job.  Keep her happy so we dont lose her to Apple or any other company.  Great artists are hard to find.
  • NidonocuNidonocu The Poison Bunny
    I'm wondering with the UI largely 'tied down' now, are we going to be seeing a final release of the Vista Guidelines sometime soon?

    I've been writing my first full application and trying to follow the ideas and stuff I've seen since then closely, but its still a pain with half finished doc's.
  • amotifamotif No Silver Bullet
    Great interview. Good questions, Robert.

  • Hello Ms. Lam!
    Do you need interns at your departement?
    I'm studying Communcation-Design and have some "tiny" experience in interface design...
    Please drop me an email.
    Would be soooooo great!
  • Awesome interview, and one that really interested me too.

    I think the most important thing for Windows Vista will definitely be the (G)UI. I'm a mac user for almost a year now (though I've faithfully used Windows for about 10 years) and recently switched because of the interface mainly. Well that and I couldn't wait any longer for a new fresh OS Wink. I think Windows is already a fine product by itself and since more and more users are getting PC's these days, design will play a big role. Despite what the interview says even though there must be thousands of geeks, I'm guessing by now there will be even more beginning users. So I think Ms. Lam and the team have a pretty important job to say the least !

    One gripe I've always had with the XP interface is that the UI itself tries to be the center of attention. I personally don't think mac users really like the interface cause it's "aqua" (well some do). But more because it really focuses on the project or program you're working with. If you launch itunes for example there isn't much in special effects to the gui besides the standard look, it really focuses on how the songs are shown and listed, the visualizer for example is hidden until the user decides he or she wishes to see it. I get the feeling that Windows wants us to marvel at how beautiful the interface is rather then to focus on whatever we're trying to work with at the moment (office assistant for example, or popups coming out of the system tray). The choice of colors can be really distractive too, people usually respond to a color in a certain way, so why is it that the taskbar and the top of a window for example are blue by default ? Vista is taking a step forward in this though, but I'm hoping to see it evolve even more ...

    What I'd really like to see is having a GUI that does more of a job complimenting all the media you use and create on your computer (documents, videos, images and even music, all these things already have a look or sound of their own). It also keeps the GUI fresh since it feels like it positively interacts with your activities every time.

    Finally I'd say a unified look would give the biggest improvement to the overall interface, people like ipods and macs because they are consistent in their design while not too boring at the same time. Office for example I think looks better on a Mac because because menu's aren't different. Outlook's interface even looks bloated and doesn't feel like it matches with that of Windows itself, even though I like the menu's in Office more(hope that doesn't sound too confusing). Surely people like "skins", but skinning an application by default strikes me as a bit odd. In the end, no matter how beautiful media player or any other program looks on each update, it will get old eventually ...

    Sorry if this sounds like harsh critique, but Windows really needs it. I wish Ms Lam and the team best of luck with their work. Hopefully they see to some of my ideas. I'd definitely consider switching back to Windows if they would succeed in that Smiley ...

  • Great Video! I hope Microsoft is on the right way. Most people don´t buy a OS because of a new networking stack (you can´t see a networking stack), they buy it because of a better look, a nicer style and design. That is something Apple has noticed a few years ago. I hope that Microsoft has noticed it now too. Of course it is not only the style that counts but Microsoft should has the capacities to do in both ranges (style and functionality) a good job.

    PS: I find the Vista UI nice but not that exciting.

    PPS: the PDC05 ribbons were great.
  • Jenny, do you blog? If not, I absolutely believe you should. I for one would visit it daily. I worship what you do. We don't hear nearly enough from this side of Vista.
  • helveticagirlhelveticagi​rl design matters
    Winston Pang wrote:
    I was wondering, since developers don't seem to have much say over the designing.

    So when a new type of control is brought into a product, do the designers rough the sketches out and make a flash version of it, and then have the developers do the code drawing etc for the control?


    Hi Winston,
    You bet. For Windows Vista, the designers did a bunch of prototyping in various tools (ex: Flash, Director, even Power Point) to demonstrate the behavior of new UI controls. From that point, it's a collaboration between the designer & dev on building it out. Designers check in with dev very frequently to tweak and refine. 
  • helveticagirlhelveticagi​rl design matters
    i3x171um wrote:
    Jenny, do you blog? If not, I absolutely believe you should. I for one would visit it daily. I worship what you do. We don't hear nearly enough from this side of Vista.


    i3x171um -
    <sigh:(> I tried to start a blog at the beginning of the year but failed miserably. Honestly, I don't know how all you people keep up with your blogs and actually get to live life offline. No offense - I love Scoble and the blogging community. Really I do. We're just so focused on fixing bugs and getting the fit and finish nailed right now, who has the time?!

    You do bring up a question that several folks have been asking and I personally believe we must address it.

    --jenny  
  • Bobinho wrote:

    Which leads me to Vista. I don’t like the Vista interface. I find it bland and uninspiring. I mean it's fresh and clean but really, it’s a case of “Meet the new UI, same as the old UI” (apologies to Pete Townsend). It looks and I’m not the first to say this, something like a sanitary towel ad.  It looks, ahem, girly. I am deeply disapointed that this is the final UI. What happened to the revolutionary UI designs of 2003? Where is my damn carousel interface? Where has all the cool directorware gone? 

    But here is the kicker;  both apps are really, really ugly. This is unforgivable in an application made for designers. Please tell me the UI will be completely re-written for Vista.

    OK I’m done. I’m off to play with my Mac.


    First of all the GUI is basically the exact same that they showed in 2003.  Very small changes have been made.   So I have no idea on what you are saying here.

    Secondly, Microsoft is putting out a redesigned 3D GUI and shell from scratch in Windows Vienna.

    With Vienna they are throwing out the Vista interface and starting from scratch using their Microsoft Research and Development work and designing it for the next small release of windows which will probably come out 18 months later after Vista comes out.

    The Mac interface is okay, but I think the Mac has been overrated when it comes to GUI, there are things they have done right and things that they have done wrong from a design perspective but to some people this doesn't matter.  At the end of the day the Mac is just like anything else it has huge flaws and problems and people get used to working around them.

  • onon
    helveticagirl wrote:
    I tried to start a blog at the beginning of the year but failed miserably. Honestly, I don't know how all you people keep up with your blogs and actually get to live life offline. No offense - I love Scoble and the blogging community. Really I do. We're just so focused on fixing bugs and getting the fit and finish nailed right now, who has the time?!

    You do bring up a question that several folks have been asking and I personally believe we must address it.

    --jenny  



    Blogging is fun. You can write posts daily or weekly or twice a week - when you have freetime. Or somebody else from your team. I think it would be a very good chance to promote new features of Windows Vista UX. - Probably it's not your business.
    But it would be so great to read a blog where somebody explains Vista UI changes (like Jensen Harris does).
  • cropcirclescropcircles who needs sidebars and virtual folders anyway.
    Allot of giggling going on between those two. Jenny is a classy, beautiful lady. In listening to her I talk about polishing up for the launch, I couldn't help but get excited. No, not her. Vista you guys. Come on. Anywho, I think Jenny exemplifies what I think will be the Vista experience.
  • scobleizer wrote:
    LaBomba, I deleted your comment. I'm tired of seeing posts here noting female's looks. I don't see the men judged that way here. Does that really help the industry attract more smart women? I don't think so.


    Scoble, just to satisfy your request and make the balance even: this guy is kind of cute: http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=159231

    Zaczek
  • Damn... Jenny is HOT!!!
    Notice the number of people replying to this thread?

    Anyway, Jenny's explaination about the usage of black in the taskbar and sidebar is really intuitive and concrete. Where did you learn design Jenny?

    helveticagirl wrote:
    I wanted to quickly reply to your question about the usage of black in the taskbar and sidebar. Of course color can be so subjective! but some of the benefits the design team thought of when finalizing on a dark, smokey color for periphery UI elements:

    - blends with the periphery of the monitor window. Ever notice how there's a few black dead pixels around the bezel of your monitor? Dark elements seem to fade into it - which takes advantage of those dead pixels at the same time making the UI proportionally smaller. (Is really true how black is slimming? )

    - for max'd windows, puts the focus on the content of the windows. (aka "swelling force") + more obvious difference between max and restored windows

    - high contrast with the content area (putting more focus on users stuff over chrome)

    - neutral yet professional color that works well with other elements



    JAMES Big Smile 
  • Hi Jenny. Nice video. I was just wondering, with all the comments about the wallpaper and glass and icons and stuff, if anything is being done about the default cursors in Vista? It'd be good to have something cool here too...

    Cheers!
    Matt

  • Great video! Please interview more designers at Microsoft.
  • onon
    helveticagirl wrote:
    i3x171um wrote:Jenny, do you blog? If not, I absolutely believe you should. I for one would visit it daily. I worship what you do. We don't hear nearly enough from this side of Vista
    You do bring up a question that several folks have been asking and I personally believe we must address it.

    I hope Jenny didn't forget it. They must address it! Smiley
    http://blogs.msdn.com/winux/ is still empty.
  • "PDC is huge for us. It really exposes the power of the PC and what our community can contribute to the ecosystem."Is "ecosystem" a fitting word for what she ment?- andrei just being a (I need to watch my language) :O
  • Awesome video!! One of the most interesting I have ever seen, the human side to the OS is also very important.

    As a direct comment to Jenny Lam, I do photography here in Spain, and would love to send you a picture I took and photoshopped not long ago, I think it really works with the natural, fresh and clean feeling you are putting into Vista. I am completely in love with the work you guys are doing with the UI, and would be so glad to send you some photos and maybe be some help to you in finding a good background.

    I don't really know how this blogging works, but if you are interested in seeing some of my photographs, please email me at euskalzabe@hotmail.com.

    Thanks

    Xabier Granja Ibarretxe

  • jenny, relating to your response to black color...

    some monitors are white-framed?

    i'm curious why msn didn't allow people to change to color of the taskbar and top frame window?

    thanx
  • So no vector icons in Vista, while Leopard will be moving in that direction.  Yet another "feature" scratched from Vista - how will the resolution-indepdence work now with a ton of ugly bitmaps?  Or will the GUI have any resolution indepdence to speak of? Will OSX trump Vista again?  Geez guys!

    Look, I don't think outside Windows developers can be critiqued for not adhering to a culture of style like Apple when the parent company sets a bad example.  Apple does indeed have a large community of style-concious users, but then again Apple sets the bar pretty high.  The included apps in Vista show a mish-mash of styles and just a general lack of attention to aesthetics.  I mean, look at Windows Mail for pete's sake - where did that bright neon blue bar come from?  Maximized with a jet-black border and it's just atrocious.  There's a reason you see a lot of posters actually hoping the UI is a _decoy_, folks.  

    One of the significant problems appearance-wise is the fonts, particularly the lack of decent AA when Cleartype is enabled and the font size is medium to large, there's significant aliasing.  I can't believe MS doesn't see this as a problem, and it's one of the reasons the early concept shots look so good - fonts that actually look like newsprint.

    Another problem is the lack of double-buffering in the interface.  Is this going to remain this way?  You have nice composited windows, then you're back into XP-style tearing whenever something is resized or scrolled.  Scrolling through the index results (speaking of UI ugliness, how about segmenting the results like Spotlight does to make it look somewhat more presentable than a text dump?) gives you white-out sections until you pause and the icons are read back in from the HD.  This is just really, really shoddy guys - Apple wouldn't this stuff out even in a beta.

    But...but...Vienna!  Trust us this time, this is when MS _really_ starts to pay attention to design! 

    Sigh...

  • Well I finally managed to get my hands on Vista RC1 this week and I must say my first impressions were good! It's been awhile since I last tested a beta and it's clear that a lot of progress has been made since. Transitions as well as most animations are a lot smoother, I've tested this on both my new macbook and somewhat older PC with a pre DirectX9 gpu. Congratulations on that part. This is without question the biggest and best transition Windows has had so far.

    As far as the comparison between Apple and MS goes, while it's still debatable which looks the best, it has become clear that windows is also entering a new generation, hopefully giving Apple a few things to think about as well. One thing I think that's really improved is explorer! I really like how the bottom bar is now used for extra information on your files, it no longer seems to distracts and when browsing my music for example and open a folder it feels like I'm looking at a nicely detailed playlist. So hats off to whomever is responsible for that.

    My only huge gripe with it are the so much debated security warnings. I absolutely have no idea why there's so much attention around them. I know the pro's are more then annoyed by it. But even beginning users tend to get scared by it the first time it appears. I have a part time job instructing seniors and I let them try Vista out just this week. When they tried to move their files, I noticed that at first they were suprised by the notification of needing administrative rights. Then when clicking continue the whole system is put to a halt to once again tell you that you need administrative rights. So I had to explain these were some of the new security features, once they understood they just clicked on. But ofcourse that can't be right either. If they were to actually do something truly damaging to the system they wouldn't know the difference between what can actually damage the system and what can't. They would click continue either way. This might be a hard issue to pinpoint but it would be a lot nicer if there's a good distinction between action such as simply moving your files about requiring administrative permissions or actually mess with files within the windows folder.

    Anyway I think you guys are making good progress, keep up the good work!

    By the way, is it me or do I always have to go back to the first page for the reply button?

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