Dane. Designer.

Old Blog

A View on Vista

Dear God, the worst headline ever! But yeah, I promised Christoffer Alm I would tell him in no unsure terms why I think Windows Vista likes goats, and by golly here we go (screenshots from Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows, where you will find not only more screenshots, but also Paul’s insightful commentary on the status of Windows Vista Beta 2):

winvista_5465_13

First of all, I don’t hate the transparent windows as much as some people; I do think they make the feel of the UI a bit lighter. That said, I can also understand why they need to add a hefty dropshadow to outline the window… But the sight of an almost fully transparent pane of glass with such a strong dropshadow just feels off. Also, check out the accessibility icon… Ehm… Not very accessible, is it?

Bonjour Much?

Bonjour much? (Fair enough, it’s about damn time the Windows crowd gets a taste of the sweet nectar of zero-config networking, but then hey, buy a Mac and you won’t have to wait for Vista).

winvista_5465_07

No, the media player button needs to be MORE like OS X’s aqua interface. No, no you’re right, we can’t just rip it off… Alright, make it tastelessly blue. I mean supernaturally so! Great! Oh, and add sharing support to your library, cuz iTunes also has that…

Fugly.

Now I know all of this is beta and all, but holy Christ on a skateboard going downhill in San Francisco, that is one fugly Start Menu.

Flip 3D

Forget about the transparent windows for a minute, this is a usability travesty! Not only is this an Exposé rip-off (come on, it’s SO a rip-off), but it’s called (help me now!) Flip 3D!... Flip… 3-fucking-D… Not to evangelize, but I do think Steve Jobs said it best. Either way, here’s a pretty crappy video of Flip 3D, it was the best I could do just now.

So what’s wrong with Flip 3D then? Well, I’ll tell you. the brilliance of OS X’s Exposé is that when you activate it, all your windows slide away from each other, revealing not only their entire content, but also showing you the absolute number of open windows. What Flip 3D does is pile up all you windows into a stack, which you’re then shown in an orthogonal view where each window is slightly offset from the other and you can then scroll back and forward through the strack.

There are two major problems with this, in comparison with Exposé and a single advantage. First of all the windows, despite being spaced out a bit, do cover up each other quite a bit, so you’re reliant on recognizing your windows either by a fraction of its surface or by scrolling it to the front, which of course takes time. Secondly, and this is much much worse, the on-screen stack contains only a certain number of windows at any given time, maybe 15 or so. So say you have 30 windows open, you have to scroll through the first 15 to get to the other 15. Bang, you just lost your overview. And to add insult to injury, the stack scrolls infinitely, so you alsbo just lost your spacial awareness.

Dang.

There is one advantage though, as Joen recently pointed out to me, Flip 3D does allow you to have 4000 windows open and still cope with it… Sorta.

It’s still in beta, but do you think it’ll turn around? I sure as hell don’t. In fact I think Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot big time, and despite having eagerly followed the progress of Vista, it seems they just can’t catch a break.

Update: Following Paul Thurrott’s outburst about me having ‘stolen’ his screenshots (and the ensuing discussion), he was kind enough to clarify some of my points on his ‘Internet Nexus‘ site, and I would like to just take the chance to respond in full here.

[...] he has the balls to rip off my screenshots, describe them as being “supplied” by me (as if worked together on this project), and then spells my name wrong. Grr.

An unfortunate choice of word(s) and a stupid error on my part. Both have been rectified.

2. People Near Me is not Bonjour, sorry. It’s about setting up ad-hoc wireless meetings without a nearby wireless network, using just the wireless cards in your laptops.

From what you’re saying and what the text in the screenshot says, it’s basically an amalgamation of OS X’s Create Network and Bonjour, yes?

3. WMP 11’s visual display is far nicer than anything in iTunes’ dBASE III-era UI.

By visual display I’m guessing you mean interface? I’ll grant you as much as WMP11’s interface uses album covers in its browser, which is something iTunes should have had a looong time ago. Mind you, I used WMP for a few years up until iTunes was released for Windows (back when I was still on PC), and by and large it works pretty well. Among other things it has a nice little feature where, if you seperate multiple artists with commas, it will recognize them as being different artists. Take heed Apple!

4. The new Start Menu is far more usable than that of XP, sorry. And if you want, you can configure it to your heart’s content.

I wasn’t talking usability, I was talking fugliness. Big difference. As I said to Blake:

Don’t mistake layout for ugliness factor. I do think the XP start menu was a step up from 9x, but the current beta start menu (which I don’t think they will ship with) is just plain ugly. The colors or bad, the spacing is bad, the portrait which sticks out and is glass-like… It’s just bad. #

Back to Paul.

5. Flip3D is absolutely not an Expose rip-off. Flip3D and Expose do two completely different things. If anything, Flip3D is far more limited. It’s just a more graphical way of switching apps (used to be ALT-TAB). That’s it. Nothing more.

Two different things, eh? Damn, I must be using Exposé wrong, I could have sworn it was pretty good at being a graphical way of switching apps…

6. Oh, and you ripped off my screenshots and had the gall to add them to your Flickr site. Please remove them, thanks. —Paul

The above text was also copied and pasted from your site with a credited link telling readers where I got it… Tell me, is that also ripping you off? Or is there a distinction between the text and the images you publish? I’ll just go right ahead and steal some content from myself then:

Since you have no permalinks to the individual images, the only other option I have is linking directly to the individual image, but then you’d be over here talking about bandwidth theft. #

Maybe I should have just taken a screenshot of the screenshot in the browser window, then where would we be?