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Microsoft Vista User Interface Guidelines Published 269

SEMW writes "Microsoft has published the preliminary Official User Interface Guidelines for Windows Vista. Highlights include Top 12 Rules for the Windows Vista User Experience — and the use of screenshots from Windows XP as examples of what not to do. The full guidelines are as yet incomplete, but what is there makes for interesting reading."
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Microsoft Vista User Interface Guidelines Published

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  • by Allicorn ( 175921 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:00AM (#16165251) Homepage
    So I guess we can take these rules as a fairly good indicator of what interface features the next version of Office will NOT follow. It's been my impression that whatever interface guidelines MS publish, they always seem to very rapidly diverge from them in the own applications.
    • Again, the Mac fanboys are right. MS is once again following Apple's lead!
  • by radicalnerd ( 930674 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:04AM (#16165267)
    Be polite, supportive, and encouraging. The user should never feel condescended to, blamed, or intimidated.
    • by Bones3D_mac ( 324952 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:31AM (#16165375)
      The user should never feel condescended to, blamed, or intimidated.

      You mean Vista is doing away with DRM?!

      About damned time!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by skiflyer ( 716312 )
      I personally got a chuckle out of the repetitive use of judiciously... why thank you Microsoft, I thought it would've been better to use certain functionallity foolishly!
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:49AM (#16166715)
      The idea that their "Playskool" interface is an attempt to not be condescending is just too condescending to bear.

      KFG
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      That's funny and all, but overall there's quite a bit of these guidelines to disagree with...

      While not everyone is going to agree with all of my critique, I suspect we're going to be fairly united overall. I'd like to question why the Start Button is now the "circular shape with the four-color windowpane kind of shape in it that was in the bottom left when you got your computer but might have been moved to any of the other three corners". I'd like to know why in MMC windows and Explorer windows the plu
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ChronosWS ( 706209 )
        For brevity I am only quoting the rules you stated, not your responses to them.

        Don't provide unnecessary details. A well-labeled progress bar provides sufficient information, so provide additional progress information only if users can do something with it.

        Error log files should be provided for these cases. The single line of rapidly flashing text will either be ignored by most users or be cause for alarm (because a lot of very important/cryptic stuff is happening rapidly.) IT pros are already used

  • The Rules: (Score:5, Informative)

    by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:08AM (#16165281)
    (emphasized elaborations mine)
    1. Use the Aero Theme and System Font (Segoe UI)
    2. Use common controls and common dialogs
    3. Use the standard window frame, use glass (transparency) judiciously
    4. Use icons and graphics consistent with the Windows Vista style and quality
    5. Use task dialogs for new or frequently used dialog boxes and error messages
    6. Use Aero Wizards
    7. Use Explorer-hosted, navigation-based user interfaces, provide a Back button
    8. Use the standard Windows Search (have a little iTunes style search box in your window's corner when appropriate)
    9. Use the Windows Vista tone in all UI text (use a professional writing style in you informative text)
    10. Clean up the user interface
    11. Use notifications judiciously
    12. Reserve development time for "fit and finish"!
    • Re:The Rules: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:36AM (#16165387)

      My thoughts:

      Use the Aero Theme and System Font (Segoe UI)

      Good, but obvious.

      Use common controls and common dialogs

      ibid

      Use the standard window frame, use glass (transparency) judiciously

      Good good. If MS keeps making such a big deal about transparent UI tho, silly developers are gonna use it everywhere.

      Use icons and graphics consistent with the Windows Vista style and quality

      Good. If you follow this suggestion closely enough, maybe we can convince the users at home that your application comes from Microsoft, too.

      Use task dialogs for new or frequently used dialog boxes and error messages

      Good.

      Use Aero Wizards

      If you're replacing a 97 Wizard, you should use an Aero wizard. If you're writing a new app, please do not use a wizard. They're obnoxious, and send the message: "We didn't know how to organize your options in any sort of logical way, so here's a powerpoint that lets you fill in the blanks, masquearding as a UI."

      Use Explorer-hosted, navigation-based user interfaces, provide a Back button

      In short: Consider making programs that aren't web browsers behave like web browsers, since people use those alot. This is interesting, but at some point you have to explain the difference between the "Back" button and the "Undo" button, and you might just end up making your program into a wizard

      Use the standard Windows Search (have a little iTunes style search box in your window's corner when appropriate)

      A total dig on my part, and I apologize, but that's basically what they're saying. Apple makes the same recommendation, and give a very slick API for making it work. So good suggestion.

      Use the Windows Vista tone in all UI text (use a professional writing style in you informative text)

      From Microsofts mouth to ghod's ears.

      Clean up the user interface

      On their page they list all kinds of things you can do to make your program more ergonomic, but they put it at the end of the list, and phrase it in such a way as to suggest that it should be something you do at the end of development, as opposed to at the beginning, when you're designing your windows on a whiteboard. "Organize your command (sic) into a simple, predictable, and easy to find presentation" is something you do before you start writing code- it is not something you do while "cleaning up".

      Use notifications judiciously

      Or not at all. The list makes no suggestion about keeping your damn icons out of the systray.

      Reserve development time for "fit and finish"!

      Fit and Finish has quickly become my least favorite phrase. Sorry, just snarky, I agree with this point. But I would say "Hire a designer" as opposed to "reserve development time", mainly because it will allow collaboration with someone who always has their eyes on the UI and can give the developers continual feedback on how their code is totally rocking for the user ... experience, or totally deviating from reality.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by adpsimpson ( 956630 )
        Use icons and graphics consistent with the Windows Vista style and quality
        From the article:
        Use .PNG compression for large icons to keep the .exe size under control.

        Did hell just freeze over? Is Windows Media Player Vista going to recommend .OGG for media files?

      • Re:The Rules: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:55AM (#16166517) Homepage
        If you're replacing a 97 Wizard, you should use an Aero wizard. If you're writing a new app, please do not use a wizard. They're obnoxious, and send the message: "We didn't know how to organize your options in any sort of logical way, so here's a powerpoint that lets you fill in the blanks, masquearding as a UI."

        Wizards are like many UI constructs; they are often abused but they can be very useful. Access data import Wizards, installation Wizards, Visual Studio database creation Wizards, etc.
        Whenever you need the user to enter a series of logically grouped options before you can begin to do what the user wants a Wizard is the way to go. It's either going to be a Wizard, or a large unwieldy dialog box.


        I think Microsoft's suggestions here are all good, but of course if you're the sort of developer that has to read them you're probably the sort of developer which doesn't care about the UI and won't implement them anyway. Which is a shame, because the UI can go a long way to make your program better.
    • Or here you can read some guidelines that are actually insightful (or 'really for nerds', depending on how you look at it):
      hcibib [hcibib.org]
  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ResidntGeek ( 772730 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:09AM (#16165287) Journal
    That's a really bitching Notepad icon. They've clearly been hard at work.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nacturation ( 646836 )
      That's a really bitching Notepad icon.

      Which means it'll get cloned and used for KDE Knotepad in 3... 2... 1...
       
  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:14AM (#16165305) Homepage
    "Keep the user guessing."
  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:15AM (#16165309)
    Do not install Vista. :)
  • by Bones3D_mac ( 324952 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:19AM (#16165325)
    It seems these "guidelines" focus more on drawing attention to the user's choice of OS, rather than actually doing anything to productively assist the user in their work without becoming an annoyance in the process. Granted, a couple of these rules are borrowed from the original Apple Human Interface Guidelines, but the majority of them actually contradict the ideals Apple tried to enforce back in the early days of the Macintosh. (That's not to claim Apple has been any better about this in Mac OS X, which changes its look in every other major update.)

    If you thought Clippy was bad before, just wait until he *becomes* the OS that is Windows Vista.
    • Did you read it? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lilnobody ( 148653 )

      It seems these "guidelines" focus more on drawing attention to the user's choice of OS, rather than actually doing anything to productively assist the user in their work without becoming an annoyance in the process.

      Compared to from TFA:

      Use animations that improve usability, such as animations and transitions that show relationships, causes, and effects. Animations are best used to provide information that would require text to explain, or might otherwise be missed. The human eye is sensitive to motio

      • The guidelines are actually quite good. Some are arbitrary,

        They're ok as far as they go, but they're very, very vague. Now, I'm not (currently) a Mac user, but anyone can tell from a glance that Apple's design guidelines from the 1980s are infinitely more helpful than this list. It's not half-baked, exactly; but it's certainly not more than two-thirds-baked.

        • by johneee ( 626549 )
          Of course they are. That's why it's the 12 top rules rather than the full guidelines, which are quite specific.

          Unless that's what you're talking about, in which case I apologise, but it does seem to me that the full guidelines are quite specific, so I assumed not.
  • by DuranDuran ( 252246 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:24AM (#16165351)
    > examples of what not to do

    Updates complete. Restart now?
    What about now?
    Now?
    Now?
    Now?
    Just wanted to know if I should restart now?
    What about now?
    Are you ready to restart?
    Shall I restart now?
    Should I not restart later?
    I think I should restart now.
    Wouldn't it be good if I restarted now?
    Who's up for a restart??
    • Re:Restart now? (Score:4, Informative)

      by PygmySurfer ( 442860 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:36AM (#16165391)
      They actually added something semi-useful to that dialog - now, you can select when it updates you again, up to 4 hours later. It also doesn't seem to eventually force you to reboot like the XP one.
      • Mine just did, I extended it over 8 hours now and this time it said it would restart in 5 minutes if I didn't answer it quickly.
    • by Tim C ( 15259 )
      An even better example of what not to do is to install critical updates that require a reboot, then never reboot.

      Whatever you're working on can be saved - sure, getting back to where you were after the reboot may be a pain, but I'm betting that recovering a rooted system because you couldn't be bothered to restart it would be even more of a pain.
    • Updates complete. Restart now?

      Oh, and just like WinZip shareware, switch the location of buttons... so users click on the wrong thing more often :-)
  • To do it right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <<jcr> <at> <mac.com>> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:39AM (#16165409) Journal
    Step One: write an app for the Mac.
    Step Two: get your UI reviewed by Apple's user interface evangelist, John Geleynse.
    Step Three: make all the changes recommended by Apple.
    Step Four: write a windows app that comes as close as you can get to your Mac version.

    Or, you can do what the people who wrote Visio or that guy who ripped off Delicious Library did, and just laboriously copy an existing app knowing that you'll never make it quite the same on Windows.

    -jcr
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zmotula ( 663798 )
      There are too many differences between OS X and Windows for this to work. OS X applications use different menu layout, keyboard shortcuts, follow different icon design guidelines, use different tools (like sheets and drawers), use different install procedure and so on. You could match these things to their Windows counterparts, but that would be about as laborous as getting the application right without copying anything. The only way to design a good application is to read the local design guidelines carefu
    • by Tim C ( 15259 )
      What you'll end up with then is something that looks as out of place as iTunes or Quicktime.

      MS's guidelines have two purposes - to help you create a usable interface is only one of them. The other is to create one that blends in with the overall look and feel of Vista, and so helps to enhance the entire system experience.

      Following Apple's guidelines might satisfy the first of those, but it'll completely stuff up the second.
  • Thank You Microsoft! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by netsharc ( 195805 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:51AM (#16165449)
    Put only program shortcuts on the Start menu. Never put shortcuts to the following on the Start menu:
    • Program uninstallers. Users access uninstallers through the Software Explorer control panel.
    • Help files. Users access Help topics directly from your program.
    • Control panels. Users access control panels from the Control Panel home page.
    • Program options. Users access program options from the Options command, usually found on the Tools menu.
    • Readme files. Reconsider the need for a Readme file because most users rarely look at them. If you do need a Readme file, let users access it from your setup program.
    • Web sites. Users access Web sites through appropriate links in your program. Exceptions are Microsoft Update and Windows Catalog.

    How I hate software that install all of that in their Start Menu entries. Or programs that insist they go into "C:\Program Files\My Stupid Software Company Inc\My Stupid Program".

    Talking about reform, I find the most illogical thing of user interfaces is the menubar.. how do you exit? Go to "File". Where are the options? Under "Tools".. why can't somebody offer a totally new way of making the menu. Start with "Program", where you have "Options" and "About" (maybe "Help" too), then "Document" or "File", and then "Edit", etc.. We're so used to File -> Exit that we stop thinking how illogical such a construct is... exit the file?
    • by cbiffle ( 211614 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @01:56AM (#16165473)
      Talking about reform, I find the most illogical thing of user interfaces is the menubar.. how do you exit? Go to "File". Where are the options? Under "Tools".. why can't somebody offer a totally new way of making the menu. Start with "Program", where you have "Options" and "About" (maybe "Help" too), then "Document" or "File", and then "Edit", etc.. We're so used to File -> Exit that we stop thinking how illogical such a construct is... exit the file?


      It may be worth noting that you've just described the current Mac OS X menubar layout.

      Can't blame you; I think it makes more sense too. In fact, most of the Vista guide seems to have similar aspirations (which is my way of recognizing that, even though it looks like a complete rip, it may not be).
      • Microsoft's always been much better at this stuff than anyone else who designs for their platform. SQL Server, Data Access frameworks, Visual Studio: all install without reboot. Office and most of their home apps too I believe. Almost every MS product that ships on CD now prompts for an admin password if you're not admin.

        They put all their shortcuts in the Programs folder (usually even in All Users where it should be), and regularly have good help files built into the programs.

        They've basically been doing m
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jedi Alec ( 258881 )
      Sorry, but I very much appreciate either a help or a readme to tell me what to look at if I can't get something working. Yes, I am perfectly capable of finding the readme.txt in the folder where the program was installed, but why hassle? If I really wanted to get rid of it I can always delete the shortcut, right? Same goes for links to websites that deal with troubleshooting. If the program doesn't work, you can't access the built-in help or links.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by woodhouse ( 625329 )
        I disagree. All these extra shortcuts necessitate the need for an extra folder and this adds another layer of navigation which makes the start menu less usable for the 99.9% of the time when you just want to run the program.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by misleb ( 129952 )
      Get a Mac and all those problems are solved!

      Program uninstallers. Users access uninstallers through the Software Explorer control panel.

      Program uninstallers? Oh, you mean drag the application from /Applications to the Trash.

      Help files. Users access Help topics directly from your program

      Duh.

      Program options. Users access program options from the Options command, usually found on the Tools menu.

      ALWAYS under application menu -> Preferences

      Readme files.

      Come in the .dmg image for you to browse before you insta

      • Program uninstallers? Oh, you mean drag the application from /Applications to the Trash.

        I hear this so often and I'm finally fed up with it. Doing that will not get rid of the mountain-sized piles of shit that are sitting in /Library and ~/Library. Yes, uninstalling in OS X involves more effort than in WinXP. No, that shit will not be a problem in the case of most apps, but for an app that makes use of any kind of database it can occupy half a GB or more. Please stop repeating this lie.

        And BTW I do think

      • by gutnor ( 872759 )
        "Get a Mac and all those problems are solved!"

        Sorry to say that, but no.

        Guidelines are meant for developer whatever the guidelines, the developper must follow them: i.e. design its application to met the guidelines.

        Now what you are saying is that the overall result when a developer program an application using the guildelines and tools (frameworks, api, infrastructure) available is better on Mac. I sure agree.

        But as a developer, to have my problem solved, I would like to develop my application as I would d
    • Program uninstallers. Users access uninstallers through the Software Explorer control panel.

      Oh dear lord I hope they sped that thing up, then! How many programs do you have installed? Have you tried going to Add/Remove Programs lately? How speedy is that thing for you? Now try and find the application in the list.
      Or a user could use go to the start menu where they find the program, and click the uninstaller shortcut there.
      Hmm.. tough choice!
      I'm not saying that the Add/Remove Programs information shouldn

  • Integrity? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by medoc ( 90780 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:01AM (#16165487) Homepage

    From the article:

    Perception is reality, and if your customers don't experience quality in your product throughout, they may conclude there is lack of quality everywhere. A visual bug seen by all your customers might do more damage to your program's reputation than a rarely occurring crashing bug.

    Mind your icons, not your buffer overflows. Great! Will exploits follow the Vista guidelines too ?

  • by Sun ( 104778 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:07AM (#16165513) Homepage
    The first - the design guidelines (10 out of the 12 listed) are focused on appearance rather than on functionality. Making sure your icons look great (#4) comes long before producing a clean interface (#10).

    The second is that this document carries a severe undertone of "make sure your app only works on Vista, and looks out of place on anything other than Aero". The entire document keeps saying "use Vista only API whenever you can" and "visually design the application to look out of place when not using the Vista UI" (with a few exceptions).

    I guess this is how MS are trying to fight the competition formed by previous OSes being good enough. They try to make sure new applications don't work on them any more.

    Shachar
    • The second is that this document carries a severe undertone of "make sure your app only works on Vista, and looks out of place on anything other than Aero". The entire document keeps saying "use Vista only API whenever you can" and "visually design the application to look out of place when not using the Vista UI" (with a few exceptions).

      In all fairness it's called the "Vista User Interface Guidelines" for a reason, not the "Backwards Compatible 2000/XP/Vista User Interface Guidelines".

      A lot of the new

      • Building backwards compatible UIs that still fit in with the Vista model will be a very hard task for programmers

        So it seems you're saying that Microsoft makes developers jobs hard.

        Admittedly, I don't really know what developers think (I'm not a developer), but I'm trying to imagine. Microsoft is telling them to make sure their apps will only run on Vista, thereby limiting their market to early adopters, for the sake making the GUI look more like Vista. I don't think I'd go for it.

        As a consumer, it pis

    • Yes, and your comment made me realise something else - if your app looks and behaves exactly like a Microsoft one, then it seems like it makes it very easy for Microsoft to replace it! More and more these days it seems like Microsoft are even competing with the people who develop the apps for their platform.
  • by sporkme ( 983186 ) * on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:20AM (#16165557) Homepage
    Vista user experince... for crap. I spent the past couple of months testing this OS, and when my gaming XP boot feels like a safe haven, I know that something is definitely wrong. For migrating XP users, the interface feels counter-intuitive. Even more telling, my college-going roommate has only ever known Red Hat (thank you very much, he has only ever known linux on the front-room computer), and for him the simplest task, like installing Firefox (where's the package?) was torture (not to say there has been a change here). I became so frustrated with ctrl-esc,r yielding a "r" in the ever-so-laggy search sub-start dialogue (instead of a run window) tonight that I just blew out the whole partition. I actually wanted to run iexplore for once! I am downloading Mandrake 64 now, thank the creator.

    I found Vista to be too heavy on the eye candy, and it seemed that "power tools" and control panel received heavy design attention, while the ~deeper~ apps like regedit and msconfig are the same old barf. Vista = skinned XP != new OS. Meh. Shiny? Yes. New? No.
    • by Tim C ( 15259 )
      for him the simplest task, like installing Firefox (where's the package?)was torture

      Downloading the installer from mozilla.com and clicking "Run" (or double-clicking the exe) is torture? That's nothing to do with the OS, that's just an inability to adapt to a new environment.

      I became so frustrated with ctrl-esc,r yielding a "r" in the ever-so-laggy search sub-start dialogue (instead of a run window) tonight that I just blew out the whole partition.

      A change of shortcut was enough for you to nuke the install?
      • by aaronl ( 43811 )
        RC1 brought back the dozens of LUA prompts for everything. The system managed to randomly have files on the desktop be owned by Administrator. LUA prompts cause occassional corruption of my display; I have to kill and restart the Theme service to fix it. You can still select the desktop as a window, taking the focus away from all other windows with no visual cue to it. They also haven't made Aero be obvious about which window is focused, in general. It's still a slightly bigger window shadow and a red
  • "For all controls, select the safest (to prevent loss of data or system access), most secure value by default."

    In other words, treat the user like they don't know what they're doing. Slow *everyone* down, in order to save the idiots.

    I really like knowing that when a dialog box pops up, the enter key will usually complete the task that I requested in the first place.

    • In other words, treat the user like they don't know what they're doing. Slow *everyone* down, in order to save the idiots.

      Works for me. It will probably also work for the 99.9% of users who have ever clicked "Yes" when they should have clicked "No."

  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:42AM (#16165627) Homepage
    Do no evil interface design... Oh, wait a minute, that's the Google guidelines.

    *cough*

    Evil interface design acceptable if you're writing an application, virus or spyware.
  • Notice that in Rule 1, the word "aero" is not in the font they say you have to use...
    • Notice that rule 2 is already ignored by the MS Office team...

      Rule 2: Use common controls and common dialogs
      Use common controls and common dialogs to achieve an accessible, high-quality, and consistent UI in your application. Don't spend time rebuilding standard UI components


  • Now if only they followed these "rules" themselves, Vista wouldn't be such a nauseating, gaudy, broken piece of shit.
  • by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:03AM (#16165861) Journal
    I just loved this bit;

    "# Focus on what users really need to know. Don't avoid important text--be explicit whenever necessary--but don't be redundant or verbose. Because users often scan text, make every word count. Simple, concise text not only saves screen space, it most effectively conveys an important idea or action.

    # Remove redundant text. Look for redundant text in window titles, main instructions, supplemental instructions, content areas, command links, and commit buttons. Generally, leave full text in instructions and interactive controls, and remove any redundancy from the other places.

    glad to see MS don't break their own rules!
    • by inKubus ( 199753 )
      Actually, THIS is the best bit (last sentence):

      "Perception is reality, and if your customers don't experience quality in your product throughout, they may conclude there is lack of quality everywhere. A visual bug seen by all your customers might do more damage to your program's reputation than a rarely occurring crashing bug."

  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:44AM (#16165961) Journal
    Shneiderman's Eight Golden Rules for user interface design has been around for years (pre-dates Windows 3.x, in any case). Any UI designer should be conversant with these rules:

    http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/almstrum/cs370/elvi sino/rules.html [utexas.edu]

    Am I the only one who doesn't want a "user experience"? If I'm getting an "experience", the damned user interface is getting in my way. I just want to get the job done, not have an "experience".
  • They could have saved a lot of typing by just linking to the Apple Human Interface Guidelines [apple.com].
    • Oh! Witty! Appendix 1 can be all [jaketracey.com] the [salon.com] places [duoh.com] Apple breaks said HIG in its own applications.

      This [haxial.com] is a good read, from an Apple development house.

  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:52AM (#16166129)
    I found this:

    http://www.marcorolandi.com/imgs/just4fun.jpg [marcorolandi.com]

    I don't know if the meaning of word 'consistency' has been changed lately...do you?
  • by roskakori ( 447739 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @06:45AM (#16166295)

    One of the worst misfeatures of Windows (and its developer community) is the retarded design of dialogs. AFAIK the pre-Vista API has a bunch a simple functions to do Yes/No and Ok/Cancel dialogs, but nothing to label buttons sensibly. So it's quite common to have a dialog with "Yes" and "No" buttons, and and huge text explaining what these options mean. Despite the fact that every at least semi-decent article or book about dialog design recommends to use verbs for button labels.

    I recently read [msdn.com] that Vista finally offers an API to easily change the button labels. Yeah! And guideline 5 (Use task dialogs for new or frequently used dialog boxes and error messages [microsoft.com]) specifically recommends:

    Use positive commit buttons that are specific responses to the main instruction instead of generic labels (such as "OK"). Users should be able to quickly grasp the options by reading the button text alone. Always start commit button labels with a verb.

    Yeah again!

    However, above this guideline we can see a screenshot of the classic, super retarded Windowesque "Save changes? Yes/No/Cancel" dialog.

    I suggest for the final document they just copy this dialog from any random Mac OS application and put a Vista theme on it.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:08AM (#16166351) Homepage Journal
    Don't let the application handle the window frame. Even their latest OS feels sluggish and unresponsive when retarded applications (Like Outlook) stop processing Window frame controls because they're syncing from the network or some other bullshit. I should always be able to move, minimize and close an application immediately no matter what that application is doing. This has been a pet peeve of mine ever since I was first exposed to Windows back in the 3.0 days. OS/2 actually had the threaded OS before Microsoft did and you could always tell the shoddy knock-off ports of Windows 3.1 software from the code that was actually written for OS/2 because proper OS/2 code at least made an effort to process events in threads, while the knock-off ports would hang the entire OS up when they stopped processing events to index disk and stuff and the system input queue filled up. At least Microsoft got that right and most of the time a misbehaving application will only lock up its own window.

    Now if an application were written properly this wouldn't be an issue -- the application would have a thread dedicated to UI work and in theory the interface should be highly responsive, but you're trusting all the application developers to implement their programs properly and not even Microsoft is capable of setting a good example. Their OS would almost not suck if they'd just fix this one design flaw and I'm going to keep blowing this horn until they do.

  • by tetrode ( 32267 ) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @07:18AM (#16166363) Homepage
    Their common dialog box is still yes no cancel. While gnome and kde (i think) has adopted a different and in my opinion far better strategy.

    People are afraid of doing things wrong. Especially at a computer, as they have learned that a computer is *VERY* unforgiving. Turn it off, and your document isn't saved, you get chkdsk errors, your operating system does not start, you have to pay your local guru big bucks or a bottle of wine to keep the damn thing running. Turn the TV off and on again and it all works. You need to treat the computer with respect. So you say (err - click) yes to it - all of the time.

    Do you want to save the document: Yes
    Do you want do delete the folder: Yes (o shit)
    Do you want to uninstall this application: Yes (where were these disks again)
    Do you want to format this disk: Yes

    Now, look at gnome. That interface is talking to you in a quite different way. When you close gedit (the notepad equivalent) without saving, it will tell you

              Do you want to save the document 'xyz'
              If you don't save it, your changes of the last n seconds will be lost

              [Don't Save] [Cancel] [Save]

    Now that is informative, and i really have to make a meaningful choice. I need to choose between Save and Don't Save. Or I pick cancel which will surely take me back to the previous state.

    Much better than the windows common control, which has been devised in Windows 2.0 (I kid you not) and still in Windows fscking Vista, noone has had the courage to reread 'About Face' and reshape it.

    Sigh

    Mark
    • Actually, I think that these guidelines DO say this; there is a mention of using named actions on dialog buttons. But there is also a "Yes no cancel" dialog above that, so they seem a bit undecided (probably because Windows and many Microsoft applications are full of such dialogs already).
  • So ... three months before plnned release, they FINALLY get around to releasing guidelines. And they are going to whine when nobody's software complies.

    And they aren't even the final version.

  • Here's one for everyone, including Apple:

    Be consistent in the use of the UI:
      - Apple screwed up badly in recent times, with having a mixture of Aqua, Metal, new Aqua and whatever else.
      - Microsoft also screwed up in Windows XP with having a mixture of different open dialogs, for essentially doing the same thing.

  • Present choices * and settings in terms of user goals, not technology. Use everyday words when you can. This is especially
    effective if you are explaining a complex technical concept or action. Imagine you are looking over the user's shoulder and explaining how to accomplish the task.

    Technology-based:
    * Enable Internet Connection Sharing host
    * Manual Duplex

    Goal-based:
    * Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection.
    * Print on both sides of the paper.


    This tendancy annoys me more and more with ever release of Windows, for many reasons:
    1) Most everybody knows what "duplex" means. Why not let those who don't learn what it means instead of pretending the word doesn't exist, and encouraging people to forget.
    2) When I am on the phone with a user, I can say "look for the options that says something like "Internet Connection Sharing". Most users will not find the goal-based option, as it does not include the word "sharing".
    3) I know what I'm looking for. I know what it was called in NT4, 2000, and 2003 server. Now I have to read paragraphs and guess that "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection" is Internet Connection Sharing and not Web Proxy.
    4) It encourages the user to not learn about the very complex piece of equipment he just bought. If you provide a good searchable manual instead of dumbing everything down, the program will be easier to use, and the user will learn more.

    Imagine if your grill didn't say "Ignite" above the red button, but "Make the fire start", or if your toaster didn't say "Toast", but "Make your bread crispy", or if your car didn't say "ABS", but "Automatically remove and reapply pressure on the brake so your car doesn't skid. Don't pump your brakes".

    This is slashdot, so I need to reference either Orwell or Rand:
    Or are they trying to reduce English to a smaller set of simple words that everybody can understand? Double-plus ungood.
    • >Most everybody knows what "duplex" means.

      Almost everyone on Slashdot, maybe. But the average user who's just bought one of them computer things from PC World to see what all this fuss about the interwebs is about? I don't think so. The former set of users will understand both 'Duplex' and 'Print on both sides of the paper', though they may prefer the former command for its brevity; the latter set will understand only the latter command. In changing the former to the latter, Microsoft are just in
    • Most everybody knows what "duplex" means. Why not let those who don't learn what it means instead of pretending the word doesn't exist, and encouraging people to forget.

      maybe because microsoft markets to non-technical end users who don't have and don't want to keep the Geek OED on their desktop?

  • After reading the guidelines I got the distinct impression that they were trying to instill Vista with Genuine People Personality(tm).

    "Happy Service!"
  • I wish Microsoft would expand the scope of the article to not only how to write applications to leverage the "Vista experience", but also to author your applications so that they will properly levergage any updates to standard libraries (current and forthcoming) so that if your applications is loaded onto Windows 2K, XP or Vista; the user will have a consistent experience.

    In Microsoft's view of the world, all corporations will update to Vista the day after it is released. In reality, many are still runnin

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