There's a very simple reason Microsoft keeps changing the UI. Marketing.
It Looks The Same --> It Is The Same.
We all know that what's under the hood is what matters, but the average user doesn't know/care (pick your favorite) anything about these issues.
If Office 10 looks just like Office 2000, you won't get the "wow! what's that?!" effect. Nobody would notice.
Same goes for OSs. I personally don't think the ME is a worthwhile upgrade for 98 users. But the fading menus would be a just enough reason for many cool-getters to buy it.
Point well taken. I sometimes forget to think like an end-user and not a developer. Perhaps it is actually to microsoft's credit that they can make their ui different enough to catch customers' attention without changing it enough to confuse anyone.
Thanks for that last part about ME. Those are the exact three sentances I was trying to provoke
I haven't tried ME yet, and I haven't gotten a straight answer on why its better than 98. I'm a little afraid that it IS 98 with fading menus.
I think the 2000 alpha/transparency thing looks pretty cool, but it seems like ms should work on improving windows' functionality more than changing their ui again and again. A user interface should be familiar and easy for the new user. Why does microsoft continue to reinvent the wheel? If all we wanted was a slick gui we would buy macs.
ps - has MS cleaned up their flickering problems in ME/2000? I never realized how bad flickering impacted a product until a friend of mine showed me an app with a bunch of owner-draw controls, and almost all of them flickered. This is a good way to convince users, at least subconciously, that you are satisfied with a shoddy product and haven't thought through everything. If you can see inefficencies in an application with your own eyes, there are likely many many more where you can't see them.
Yeah, I understand how to prevent flicker and that in the story i told earlier it was entirely my freind's fault. But I have noticed flicker problems in microsoft products in general, and some do seem to be inherent in the os. e.g., the tree control seems to be frequently problematic. Toolbars and menus have trouble on occasion also. I know its picky, but I really beleive that just a few minor problems like that can give the feeling of instablility in a ui. This isn't a big criticism of MS, I'm just wondering if the look and feel of 2000/ME feels more 'stable.'
I hated the whole flat look of Windows UI from the instant it appeared in Office 97. There's a term used in usability: affordance. It means a visual cue that some object on the screen can be acted on. For buttons, the 3D border makes the button look like a button, and therefore, something that can be clicked.
Then MS comes along and removes this affordance altogether! Why? To look "cool" of course, but that comes at a high price - there's no longer any visible indication that toolbars have clickable buttons. Oh sure, the buttons get a 3D border once you mouseover them, but that forces the user to go hunting with the mouse to find clickable things. Doing that makes more work for the user, and shouldn't be done to begin with.
Then you have the problem of other companies (and individual hobbyist coders) thinking "well if MS does it, I should do it too!" and that leads to program after program having the same usability flaws.
BTW, I could go off on a similar rant about web sites following an MS idea by turning off underlining and colors on links, thus removing the only affordance that a piece of text is clickable, but "Ally McBeal" is coming on soon, and everyone can probably guess what I'd say anyway.
I think Alley McBeal has really gone downhill. Angel and Roswell are now my latest addictions. What will I do when I have to leave?? Argh!
I really don't like underlined hyperlinks - and I'm not sure why. I guess I feel they are on the same level as links that say "Click here to follow this link!" <quickly races around the site hoping there aren't _too_ many of these on CP ...>. I like the subtle but obvious-enough change in color (black to blue) that signifies a link.
However, I'm now using a laptop and finding that the black-to-blue contrast on the ol' LCD isn't as great as it is on a CRT.
I personally think the whole MS "NEW" OS is more of the same, shoddy attempts at convincing
customers to use windows...unfortunately they are suceeding... there are just not enough
alternatives out there...at least not consumer level products... this issue needs to be addressed
and now with the Playstation jumping on the sequel bandwagon it wont supprise me to see ME 4th edition
If your going to make a new product...It Should Be NEW! even guis for linux try to act like windows
sick of...truly... when will I see a Computer Operation Platform(C.O.P) or a Development Platform (D.P)
how about an OS that shows me my kernel in action...hardware vectors accessible from the command
interface... anyway I suppose somebody has to be the bigest if not MS then someone else...just
sick of having to dig through file on file on page on page to find out whats going on inside the box...
I agree with Chris mostly: For larger runs of text, underline-Bold-glowing links stick out too much, and distract me from continuous reading. And for stand-alone stuff, it's typically more obvious to click there...
P.S. for the movies - I'm opening a new thread about the TV stuff... you guys made me really curious!
I aggree with Jeannie sort of. Microsoft products are not perfect, and any mac or linux user will spill out a hundred and one reasons why their operating system is better. With macs the ethos is 'you don't need to know', and linux 'if you don't know bad luck it wont work'. modern Microsoft UIs in my oppinion are quite well designed, and am quite happy using microsoft, on the other hand I wouldprefer it if they would just clean up the code a bit so window runs better and crashes less. BTW that guy who wrote blah blah hundreds of times and told us to find 2 linksa couple of messages back was a bit deluded, the were bothe perfectly visible on my computer.
I really can't stand the HTML UI. HTML was originally designed as a content presentation language NOT as a user interface. Now just because the web has become popular over night we are mimicking a technically inferior interface that is more familiar to novice users instead of choosing or designing something that is more functional. We should be striving to have the web interface mirror real application user interfaces rather than vice versa.
It has been some time since I took a Mac for a spin, but from the blurb and screen shots on Aqua I think it looks pretty darn cool. I don't like too much gliz in a UI usually, but Apple seem to walk that fine line pretty elegantly.
It seems that we are kinda' getting back to the roots in Windows user interface development.
I don't know if you've noticed, but it seems that the Windows UI is gettig "flatter" - like in the old Win 3.1 days.
So it seems rather strange, considering almost none (well actually 0 by now)- including myself - actually do like the Windows 3.1 UI.
What is even stranger is that Apple seems to go the opposite way with a UI that seems like it is some research project from 'The WinAMP Userinterface Lavatories' and infested the desparate Apple P.R department.
I *sincerely* hope that this trend keeps away from the Windows Platform.
Christian Skovdal Andersen
Last Visit: 31-Dec-99 19:00 Last Update: 30-Mar-15 10:17