Wietse Wietse

Niner since 2006


  • Jenny Lam - Designing Experiences at Microsoft

    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?

  • Jenny Lam - Designing Experiences at Microsoft

    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 ...