Back near the very end of Windows Vista’s beta testing days, Chris Pirillo went on an extended rant about the inconsistencies and "mistakes" in the Vista user interface. (You can read my reaction and then follow the links back to Chris’s two-part series.)
A few days after I wrote that post, I was a guest on Chris’s radio show/podcast, and we talked about where we thought Windows Vista was at that time and where it was headed. What neither of us knew at that time was that Vista was literally days away from being locked down, and there was no room in the development plan for UI changes. In fact, if Pirillo’s story that Jim Allchin personally asked him to prepare this list is true, it is a nearly perfect embodiment of how badly the Vista development effort was being managed. Allchin reached out to an influential member of the Windows community, asking for input and setting the expectation that that input could be acted on. It was too late to do anything, it turns out, and so the result was disappointment.
That was exactly two years ago today, and by coincidence, this weekend Windows super-sleuth Long Zheng has kicked off a similar campaign. He calls it the Windows UI Taskforce, and unlike Pirillo’s purely personal list, this one is distributed. I’ll let Long explain:
Most of us who use Windows Vista have probably come across a couple of user-interface quirks during our times – some of which irritate you more than others, some are more obvious than others. With the development of Windows 7 speeding full-steam ahead, I thought this might be an opportunity as good as ever to make these problems known to Microsoft and hopefully get them all resolved.
Instead of going at it alone, I thought this is the perfect opportunity to harness the wisdom of the crowd. Therefore I’m asking you to submit any UI quirks you know of in Vista and I’ll help compile a list of them together, including but not limited to legacy icons, legacy styles and malformed layouts. Include with it a brief description of the problem (and possible alternative if appropriate).
Long’s original post went up on May 31. Roughly 36 hours later, the list is up to 48 entries, each formatted as a bug report with its own screenshot. If someone decides to go through Pirillo’s original list(s) and add them, this thing could be up over a hundred entries by the end of the week.
So now the real question is, did Long start this project soon enough? Will someone at Microsoft take this list to heart and have the time to act on it?
Update: Long is overwhelmed: "I’m going to work on a custom web application solution to make this a little easier to manage. Until then, keep the ideas in your heads."
2 thoughts on “Long Zheng takes aim at Windows UI quirks”
Quote from Long: “Oooookay. This is a little overwhelming now. I’m going to work on a custom web application solution to make this a little easier to manage. Until then, keep the ideas in your heads. :)”
This is exactly what I expected from Microsoft a long time ago. Improvements/fixes to UI consistency are just important as security and performance improvements.
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