Coffeehouse Thread

18 posts

Modern Design at Microsoft

Back to Forum: Coffeehouse
  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    Great read on the thinking behind Microsoft's modern design strategy. My 30 second take:

    1. I really appreciate Microsoft's efforts to provide a consistent, predictable, and pleasing UI/UX.
    2. With Microsoft's concern for #1 how the heck did Office 2013 end up the way it did?
    3. The blog is absolutely beautiful but also sends the message that they don't care about users with non-touch devices as it's non-intuitive to scroll horizontally for more content on most desktops today. It's these kinds of messages that breed the speculation that the desktop is dead and it's the Windows 8 Store App environment from here on forward for Microsoft (And no that doesn't mean they will take away the desktop. It means they will stop investing in it other than for support of legacy software.)
    4. Sounds like all of the transitions and other zoomi-ness found in Office 2013 is part of what they call "motion design" and will be a key part of their design philosophy going forward. Just look at the installer for VS 2013 and any of its updates. Swoosh... swoosh... swoosh...
  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    , DeathBy​VisualStudio wrote

     it's non-intuitive to scroll horizontally for more content on most desktops today.

    What you mean by that is that you're not used to doing it. If you put someone who had no experience of using a computer in front of such an app I doubt they'd find either experience particularly more intuitive than the other.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    @GoddersUK: The main problem with it is that in the browser, my mouse won't scroll horizontally. The start screen is fine for me because I can just scroll it with the mouse wheel, but that web page is annoying because I have to drag the scroll bar.

  • User profile image
    Lizard​Rumsfeld

    Exactly.  You can middle-click and get a directional navigation arrow for most mice, problem is (and it's not fixed with IE 10), IE has a ridiculous ramp-up speed whereby you move the pointer a few mm and you get smooth scrolling, a few more mm's outside of that and suddenly it goes into hyperdrive and you're at the end of the document.  There's no middle ground.

    With Firefox however, I got smooth and accurate scrolling using this method.

  • User profile image
    contextfree`

    Requiring horizontal scrolling is fine if you map the mousewheel to the single axis of scrolling, it's horrible if you don't.

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Easy enough to fix? Can't you set scroll behavior in a web page? C

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    The Design home site is nice and vertical. Pretty too.

  • User profile image
    chb

    I am actually fine with with horizontal scrolling as long as  i can use the mousewheel but I am on "modern UI" ie10 and I can't use the mouse wheel neither do I get a horizontal scrollbar... well i guess i shouldn't be using ie10 with a mouse. 

  • User profile image
    DCMonkey

    Its broken in Chrome. Not surprised.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    I instinctively used the horizontal scrolling region on my touchpad. *shrug*

  • User profile image
    bondsbw

    I don't really see the point of Microsoft switching the natural scrolling motion from vertical to horizontal.  Almost 100% of websites scroll vertically, and that's not going to change without good reason.

    Vertical scrolling is more natural from a touch perspective too.  I swapped out my Android launcher for Nova, which gives the option for vertical scrolling of the full apps list.  I love it compared to horizontal, it's just more natural.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @bondsbw: I think where horizontal scrolling shines is in reading large amounts of text over a longer period of time. For quickly scanning a page, vertical feels better. However, Bill Hill spoke about how the human eye tracks best.

    Our eye does best with columns that require a smaller amount of left/right traversal (I don't remember what the width was...something like 4-5 inches at normal reading distance). We're also more comfortable when we can track between chunks of text more easily. What that means is that it goes against the grain to read a page of text and then scroll down, thereby breaking the flow of reading. The horizontal scrolling of columns seems to better fit that idea. It should be more natural to hit the bottom of one column and then move directly to the top of the next column instead of losing your place while you scroll and then find where you left off.

    That's just what I can remember (not sure about accuracy) off the top of my head from various videos and blog posts.

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    @kettch: I think it'd be all fine if you could easily scroll horizontally without having to use the scrollbar. But yeah, columns of text with short lines (15-16 words) are the most readable, especially when the text is not justified and you have rags (curving as opposed to block straightness) on the edges of paragraphs.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    The mouse wheel tilt seems to work fine with the website, and the scrolling action is surprisingly fast.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , Charles wrote

    Easy enough to fix? Can't you set scroll behavior in a web page? C

    Great. So my question is "why didn't they do that?" Did they just test this web site on a tablet with touch or a laptop with a touchpad with horizontal scrolling? No one used a mouse with it and thought "hey maybe we should change the scroll behavior for this?"

    , Bas wrote

    I instinctively used the horizontal scrolling region on my touchpad. *shrug*

    Yeah because the vast majority of folks have touchpads. *shrug* When I get my Leap Motion controller I'm going to be doing a lot of shrugging too.

  • User profile image
    bondsbw

    It should be more natural to hit the bottom of one column and then move directly to the top of the next column instead of losing your place while you scroll and then find where you left off.

    I'll give you that this was true back in the days of needing to grab the scrollbar to scroll.  But today we have mouse wheels and touchpad/touchscreen scrolling.  Your scroll action no longer requires moving your eyes, so your eyes can follow the text as it moves.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    They need a little printer icon on the bottom of the page with the tile of "best viewed on paper". I guess retro is the new metro.

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    Bas

    Yeah because the vast majority of folks have touchpads. *shrug* When I get my Leap Motion controller I'm going to be doing a lot of shrugging too.

    Whatever, guy. I was speaking of my own experience with the page, not making grand statements about the vast majority or the future of computing. 

Comments closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums, or Contact Us and let us know.