helveticagirl helveticagi​rl design matters

Niner since 2005

Creative Director - Windows User Experience Team at Microsoft


  • Jenny Lam - Designing Experiences at Microsoft

    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 Lam - Designing Experiences at Microsoft

    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. 
  • Jenny Lam - Designing Experiences at Microsoft

    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
  • Jenny Lam - Designing Experiences at Microsoft

    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!