Windows Vista Beta 1 Press Highlights

A lot of the press comments we've recieved on Beta 1 of Windows Vista
have realy exceeded my expectations. In general, I expected to see a
tone of "it's ok, but wait for later betas" with respect to the user
interface work we're doing. There's definitely more work in the pipe,
but even we shipped this week seems to have generated some really nice
words. Here are a couple of my favorites:

John Clyman of PC Magazine did a write up on the UI changes alone. He wrote:

Our first impressions of the Aero interface are positive. We were particularly
pleased to find that the visuals were engaging but not gratuitous. In fact, they
often add information that makes using the PC faster, easier, and less
error-prone, as well as more aesthetically satisfying.

This was really great to see - one of the biggest challenges we have
with updating the look of Windows is that we want to make it rich and
engaging, but becasue such a broad set of people use Windows literally
every day, there's a huge risk of going "over the top" and really
turning a lot of people off to the UI.

David Coursey at eWeek wrote:

Windows Vista is the best-looking OS Microsoft has ever produced and is
competitive with, and in some ways better, than Apple's recently-introduced Mac
OS X 10.4, aka Tiger.

Wow. Getting compared to Tiger is inevitable these days, given all
the buzz Apple has been generating around the Mac over the last few
years, we knew someone would say something about where we stood
relative to OSX, but "competitive with, and in some ways better" at
Beta 1 is really nice to see.

Of course - there are lots of opinions out there... I picked two of my favorites. What do you think of Beta 1?

Comments (2)
  1. raskren says:

    I must say that I like where the UI is headed. Whenever I evaluate something like this the question always becomes, "How does this make me a faster/more efficient user." Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m no stick-in-the-mud-still-using-Win98-user. I want, no, I *need* a beautiful OS. Beautiful design makes me a happier/better user. I use Xp now because I like how it looks. I like alpha blended icons and other transparency. It is more attractive, which makes me happier and thus a better computer user (efficiency ++).

    The first thing that will stand out to anybody in Beta 1 is the window border transparency. The windows are *extremely* transparent. However, the blurring effect seems to make the window appear a just little more opaque which is good. I do think things are just a bit too transparent. Multiple windows stacked upon each other create a muddied, hard to read display. It becomes difficult to tell the "stacking" order of each window in that scenario. Shadows do help but only to a certain degree.

    Shadows are something that I believe does increase my productivity. So much so that I have an application for Windows Xp that shadows all of my windows for me. It has become much easier to tell, at a glance, the window stacking order. Windows Xp without these window effects feels slightly awkward to me. That said, the shadows in Beta 1 are spot on.

    Finally I want to touch on the icons. To me, 16 color icons are not beautiful design. Vista will not be a minimalistic OS so why should we have minimalistic (16-256 color) icons? The new icons in the control panel are very well done. The control panel itself also seems to be very well done as it extends the task-oriented approach one step beyond Xp. What Windows needs more of is luster and polish. I don’t necessarily mean "make everything transparent and shiny" but a feeling of greater harmony. For example, if I open help for Outlook Express I am greeted with very old OE logos while OE itself hides behind a new 32-bit icon. That’s the unity that is missing in many Windows’ elements.

    Beta 1 is off to a good start. They say that many of the really nice design elements will appear in Beta 2 and I anxiously await those changes.

  2. Kam VedBrat just emailed me with congrats on the new job. Kam is one of the PM’s responsible for the

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