That was a really interesting video. It acted as a kind of reality check for me. In my headlong rush towards managed code and managed APIs, managed this and managed that, it is all too easy for me to get sidetracked and forget that C++ and Win32 is still
the air we all breathe. It may be a little stale and smell bad but we need it to survive and prosper.
Thanks to Catherine for the cool demos and to Charles for asking good questions.
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.
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."
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.
Finally a Microsoft team that gets it! What's 'it'? The importance of style and elegance (as well as usability) in software. And the need for a constant dialog between developers and users. And the need for regular updates rather than monolithic releases. And
the recognition of Apple's design work...
I used Max at PDC and I remember the demo during Allchin's talk. Cool stuff. Apple has gone on to copy some of your work in the new iPhoto.
Oh and Piero could your team update Max for those of us using the latest version of WinFX. Pretty please.
Good interview Robert it got me energized about Vista again, (after a bad week) and I really like the widescreen ratio.