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renderhjs
08-30-2011, 07:42 AM
Intro
They are adding collapsible Ribbons in the Explorer of Windows 8
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/08/29/improvements-in-windows-explorer.aspx
http://blogs.msdn.com/cfs-file.ashx/__key/communityserver-blogs-components-weblogfiles/00-00-01-29-43-metablogapi/5775.Figure-10-_2D00_-Home-tab-usage-heatmap_5F00_thumb.png

My favourite online comment:
http://seldo.tumblr.com/post/9549775746/this-is-genuinely-microsofts-idea-of-a
the remaining 50% of the bar is taken up by buttons that nobody will ever use, ever, even according to Microsoft’s own research. And yet somehow they remain smack bang in the middle of the interface
....
cited in the same post: nobody — almost literally 0% of users — uses the menu bar, and only 10% of users use the command bar. Nearly everybody is using the context menu or hotkeys. So the solution, obviously, is to make both the menu bar and the command bar bigger and more prominent. Right?
Microsoft UI has officially entered the realm of self-parody.

My take....
Instead of starting another AD bashing thread (why we hate ribbons,..) I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss what you guys think about GUI's for the upcoming future, so more as a whole instead of specific app cases we hate or love.
I see a scary trend recently which is making working tools or applications look like websites or like software that was designed for people with disabilities. What I mean with that are tools that use graphics and colors usually found in fancy websites of the 2.0 era, which were designed mainly with commercial intentions (bright colours, big elements, big fonts,.. like treating the surface as a advertisement area), not so much for frequent and daily use.
http://cloud.addictivetips.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/KeyFreeze.png
Its like the old language of how UI's were used back in the 90's (shortcuts, menu trees, plain UI, screen estate) is replaced by the more generic language of webdesign navigation (flexi layout, strong use of colours, plain / linear navigation, big main horizontal menu, gradients, drop shadows, text effects,...).
The risk I see: A future of UI's or navigation's that are tedious, slow and possibly limited in many advanced cases.

Q1
So what about you?
If you would be a software or tool developer like tools of the CG or game industry would you:

Dummify you interface so more plain people can use it. Like making everything mouse accessible and with big buttons, or by using step by step wizards. Increasing the profit by reach might be a reason, maybe there is more to it?
Or would you instead rather take the risk and just specialize the UI so that only advanced users feel home but leaving out anyone else.

Given that you might have only so much time to develop and that customisation is out of the question: Where would you draw the line if its a tool that is related to the work you do?

Q2
I might have some interesting personal case studies or thoughts about UI stuff I worked on recently and in the past, even some tools from others I found inspiring, anyone in for this kind of topic?
Like what's your approach and how do you defend certain decisions regarding things such as: reduction, minimalism, context sensitivity, experimental realtime analogue controls, icons vs string labels, use of colors?, steps of action,...

SpeCter
08-30-2011, 08:25 AM
I would try to make a mixture of both(easier said then done i know). But if i had to choose i would rather go the specialized route.

Most of the time when i program something i leave out most explanations and give it to people which never worked with it.Then they should point out things they liked or found easy to use and things they didn´t quite understand and why.

After that i do the same with people who use similar software more often.

This gives me some hints how and why to change certain things.


Only 10% of the windows users want buttons...despite that they add that shitty ribbon menu.Hail to the non-existant logic!

sirenblue
08-30-2011, 08:53 AM
Wow, most of the functions of the first picture are already covered via right-click menu. (If not for hotkeys)

Maybe they should have the RMB to go "click me!" for first-time users.

Edit: Come to think of it, looking at that are they starting to shape their UI for tablet PCs?

Calabi
08-30-2011, 09:27 AM
It looks like microsoft really are going to hand the Os market, to google or anyone else.

I think your first question is a bit loaded no one does 2. The only way you end up with a bad ui is if a programmer makes it and just throws up a bunch of commands(well thats not the only way, in my opinion no one attempts to make a complicated ui).

An os should not be in the way like this, Google have proved that people want a browser thats minimal and ui that does not get in the way.

Apple knows. Uis will be transparent, show what you want to see as clearly as possible. Button hold or right click menus or straightforward logical gestures will be used.

monster
08-30-2011, 01:01 PM
Not defending this UI, but I've been trying to use a Mac Air recently and Holy Shizzle is it bass ackwards.

The Enter key renames files.
The Spacebar executes files.
Two finger tap and hold on the title bar to go up a folder.
To get to a network location you have to use the CMD+K shortcut.
I gave up when I couldn't Maximize my text editor.

perna
08-31-2011, 03:59 PM
If you would be a software or tool developer like tools of the CG or game industry would you:

Dummify you interface so more plain people can use it. Like making everything mouse accessible and with big buttons, or by using step by step wizards. Increasing the profit by reach might be a reason, maybe there is more to it?
Or would you instead rather take the risk and just specialize the UI so that only advanced users feel home but leaving out anyone else.



Warning, messy quick post:

You mention google, and they've proven that you can get the first option and still appeal to hard core users. All my newer UI designs are simple, lots of whitespace, as few options as possible, big BIG buttons. It works out great.

A lot of software and web site interfaces are way cluttered, sort of a leftover from the "you have to be a programmer to use a program" days. I mean look at the typical internet forum. There's a million unnecessary buttons, links, functionality the majority will never touch, way too much data (who needs all those stats?), several ways of doing one and the same thing...

Google are damn good at taking lots of functionality and compress it down into one feature.... one feature that still has all the power, but is presented as one central concept. For example, search in gmail is just a box you can enter text into. Very clean and simple. But, within that interface is a ridiculous amount of functionality.


Why MS is doing such a poor job with UI, I can't say. With all the money they have you'd think they'd be able to impress the hell out of us with mindblowing innovation. Same goes for autodesk. And for both of them, user feedback means nothing. They actively gather feedback, then ignore it. I'm sure there's a clever reason for it, because certainly two huge companies like those can't be run by douchebags, or can they?

In google we trust.

gsokol
09-01-2011, 01:27 AM
Well, in response to the Windows Ribbon...personally I don't like it..but

A) There is an arrow on the right hand of the screen, so you can hide this. If you are a nublet you can use it, if you are a regular/power user then you can ignore it.

B) A lot of those options in the Ribbon are popular commands done by keyboard and right click. Seems to me like they want to make Windows accessible without those. Seems pretty foward thinking to me. And if you aren't using a touch device..you don't have to use it.

However I do agree...it looks pretty ugly.

As far as Question 1...I'd say shoot for both of course, but the very core point of a user interface is to make it easy and accessible for somebody to use, right? As for making a specialized UI for advanced users, I think having a mode that hides the noob UI stuff makes sense, similar to Expert mode for 3dsMax. Also, UI customization always helps. Annoyed with all the clutter on the Zbrush interface? Make your own! I'm a fan of that.

[HP]
09-01-2011, 03:46 AM
Q1 is a bit of a generic question, it would really depend on the app I'm developing. I'm all for ease of use, and obviously when developing an app, and more specifically it's UI, you need to put the tools in the right place, where the users would look for it int he first place.

Ribbon is a horrible trend to place the majority of the stuff right in front of your eyes, even stuff you don't use. The result is cluttered menus, and when you actually need to use one of the those functions, you spend +5 seconds looking for the button you need because it's somewhere hidden in the middle of that button soup. I get this a lot with the Max Graphite.

Making a universal UI for all apps (which is Ribbon tries to do) is a really bad idea, since every app works diferently, so I'm all up for specialized UIs that are thought out for ease of use, even if those tend to have somehow of a learning curve.

perna
09-01-2011, 04:38 AM
My first reply was written as a knee-jerk reaction to the original post, as the MS blog was down at the time. I said MS is doing a poor job with the UI. That was a mistake, and I feel stupid about it.

Now that the blog is back online, reading it leaves me with nothing but great respect for their work.

MS are doing an exceptionally good job catering to both casual and hard-core users with the Win8 File Explorer, which would be evident to anyone who read the actual article and not just looked at the pictures.

Synthesizer
09-01-2011, 04:41 AM
I don't see why they need an icon and text, have they not heard of tooltips?

perna
09-01-2011, 04:42 AM
;1418782']
Making a universal UI for all apps (which is Ribbon tries to do) is a really bad idea, since every app works diferently, so I'm all up for specialized UIs that are thought out for ease of use, even if those tend to have somehow of a learning curve.

I don't agree with this, and I'm sure if you reflect, you don't actually agree with it either.

Menus and toolbars have been universal for ages and no one has ever complained about those. They do work well with the absolute majority of apps. A ribbon is just a "better toolbar". People don't have a problem with the concept of the ribbon. People have a problem with specific executions of that concept.

The max ribbon is not awful because it's a ribbon, but because Autodesk designed and implemented it very poorly.

A "ribbon" is a surface with buttons and labels. Apps have had this since the existence of the first UIs.

pior
09-01-2011, 05:51 AM
Well, on some days things like the new Outlook/Word/wordpad "improved" UIs can really make me sad - especially when I have no other alternative to use.

Of course, their article "makes sense" - but it also filled with what I like to call "bad good ideas".

Put the most used commands in the most prominent parts of the UI so they are easy to find, in places that make sense and are reliable.

Yeah, right ? That seems to make sense, and whoever wrote that down on the whiteboard during the brainstorming meeting must have gotten a nice pat on the back and a good ego boost. Except the problem is, designing (and overdesigning) a UI that way only ends up in a clusterfuck. Seriously :

http://blogs.msdn.com/cfs-file.ashx/__key/communityserver-blogs-components-weblogfiles/00-00-01-29-43-metablogapi/2553.Figure_2D00_8_2D002D002D00_Win8_2D00_Hero_5F0 0_thumb_5F00_2B3376FC.png

There are tabs within tabs, border elements now becoming active button holding spaces, and so on. Now I understand that the average human being is pretty stupid, but I dont think that overlaying 3 interface designs on top of each other is going to solve that or make their product easier to use.

I honestly think that a lot of this is just originating from some sort of pointless team somewhere at Microsoft trying to justify their job. Or from some kind of pointless marketing need. ("We need new stuff!! Rounder icons would be great!")

All these pointless redesigns would be unnecessary if they only took the time to make a 5 minutes video expalining how the winXP classic file explorer works.

This stuff seriously makes my brain fry. Such a waste of time, money and energy... Not to mention that the windows explorer is becoming glitchier with each iteration, just like the Photoshop UI for instance (micro flickering of respectively white and black flat areas while manipulating the UI).

This all makes me a little sick actually - because every time I am confronted with such redesigns I have to figure out where stuff went, why do I get less screen real estate, and I need to be careful not to accidentally click some sort of new magic rollout menu popping in under my mouse. Waste of my own time and zen, well thank you for that Microsoft ...

Back to the OP :

Q1 : I think a good interface just has to be simple, descriptive, and straightforward - even if it means being dry and "oldschool". For instance, even if the app is targeted at artists there is often no need whatsoever for big colored cryptic icons. A simple text description is good enough. Linear menus are great too (file, edit, help...), and can easily be combined with more complex UI possibilities. Silo remains a great example of a beautiful, standard interface easily coupled with advanced custom UI features. No need to dumb things down, especially for high-end applications.

Q2 : I am a huge fan of descriptive text based UIs (as far as desktop environments are concerned, that is. Tablets are very different). For instance whenever I have to deal with a tech artist implementing a new tool for say, Maya or Max, I always ask for the menu item to be very descriptive, even if it makes it quite long. Because drop down menus collapse down automatically anyway, therefore it doesn't matter.

An example/scenario : Lets say someone creates a dropdown menu item linking to a mirror tool, working in such a way that the user has to select 3 vertices on a mesh to define the plane of symmetry.
Well, instead of having just a menu that says:
"Edit > Symmetry"
I would rather have :
"Edit > Symmetry (select 3 vertices clockwise for mirror plane)".
Because that way I would never have to look up or remember how the tool is supposed to work.

My 2c!

[HP]
09-01-2011, 05:58 AM
Point taken perna.

Anyway, regarding Win8, at least the up button is back.

Walrus
09-01-2011, 06:07 AM
I wish they'd stop moving everything around. I also wish Autodesk would fix the UV editor. Neither of these things are likely to happen.

Calabi
09-01-2011, 06:45 AM
They should be working towards making UI's intelligent and context sensitive. So the software learns how you behave adapts and even anticipates what you are going to do.

Jeremy Wright
09-01-2011, 07:07 AM
My thoughts are that all this UI re-working is, for the most part, pointless. Any decent operator is going to learn the shortcut keys, or make their own, or tie macros to a gamepad. Time is money, and I don't have time for clicking through multiple ribbon menus.

Does ANYONE press the copy/paste buttons? WHO THE FUCK DOES THAT?! Why are those even there?

What I want to see in a Windows Explorer is multiple open folder windows, so I don't have to open multiple instances of Explorer to cut/copy/paste files and folders.

Edit, I gots no hate for M$, but I tire of software being designed for the lowest common denominator. I don't need a delete button. I have one on my keyboard.

perna
09-01-2011, 07:32 AM
I'm highly critical of poor software design and particularly of poor UI design. However; that's based in logic rather than blind irrational hate of corporations or brands.

Microsoft has done a brilliant job with the Win8 File Explorer design. The majority of complaints here are from people who clearly did not read and understand the article, but are just irrationally seething with disregard for either Microsoft, the term "Ribbon", or change in general (you can't improve something without changing it, folks).

I'm writing this in the hope that someone will respond in an intelligent manner with specific references to design choices they are against and suggestions for how to improve on those choices. Too much to ask? Just want to ramble incoherently instead?


They should be working towards making UI's intelligent and context sensitive. So the software learns how you behave adapts and even anticipates what you are going to do.

That's been tried and dismissed. May seem like a good idea but give it some thought and you'll see why it's not.

I don't see why they need an icon and text, have they not heard of tooltips?

Yes. Remove the icons and text. Make the buttons invisible. At least it will look stylish.

Calabi
09-01-2011, 08:09 AM
@Perna. I know they've done some poorly ill-concieved things(mr clippy), but I think, there are ways of doing it. Nothing should just be dismissed.

perna
09-01-2011, 08:42 AM
@Perna. I know they've done some poorly ill-concieved things(mr clippy), but I think, there are ways of doing it. Nothing should just be dismissed.

That's why I said "tried" and dismissed :poly121:

Kai Krause, one of the few recognized names in UI design, used one of the better approaches to "intelligently adapting UI"; An app would start out with the bare minimum of features, then gradually unlock functionality after use.

While you could go all sci-fi and describe that as "intelligently adapting" as above, it's barely different from what most apps do; hide toolbars and the like by default. The assumption is that if the user is advanced enough to have functionality opened up, that user is also sufficiently advanced to do so manually.

Removing functionality, on the other hand, doesn't work well in practice. It has also been tried. Invariably functionality you want to use will be removed from the UI. Then you need to go to a customization dialog and re-enable it, which is the same amount of effort as disabling it, so that approach is pretty pointless.

So you can add, or you can remove.
You can do it "intelligently", or you can leave it up to the user. The former is guaranteed to misbehave, and the latter.. well, the latter is what we have today, as a result of the evolution of UI design.

So, no, these things weren't just dismissed, they were thoroughly tested, and the result is what we use today. Which, in itself, is pretty good. I don't think anyone's looking for a paradigm shift in mouse-based ui interaction at this point. What we have works well. When it fails, it's due to specific execution, not to core concepts and principles.

Calabi
09-01-2011, 10:00 AM
Well I've heard talk of them making programs which can read your emotions. If you have a webcam, it could tell whether you are angry and respond accordingly(this would probably be worse than Mr Clippy though).

There is lots of information that can be gleaned from the way people use software. This could be used to adjust the UI in non intrusive ways.

I was thinking more of the software would move things about, increase or decrease the sizes of things. Have information compartmentalised only the info that you want is shown, or its shown in a more human way.

Decent voice control or intelligent standardised keyboard shortcuts(it uses the context of the previous action to imtimate what the keyboard shorcut means).

Virtuals folders, that remember where you've been and what you've done then place and orders the files accordingly.

The UI hasnt really evolved, the Windows UI hasnt changed much at all, its Apple or others that seem to bring the innovation and change.

Personally I dont think what we have today is the best, it works well enough, but things can be improved.

Jeremy Wright
09-01-2011, 10:02 AM
Well I've heard talk of them making programs which can read your emotions. If you have a webcam, it could tell whether you are angry and respond accordingly(this would probably be worse than Mr Clippy though).

OPERATOR ANGRY
DELETE WINDOWS FOLDER

Synthesizer
09-01-2011, 01:38 PM
Yes. Remove the icons and text. Make the buttons invisible. At least it will look stylish.

Ok, I guess I wasn't too clear, keep the icons, have the text in tooltips.
Lots of programs do this with dockable toolbars, having 32x32 icons.

Microsoft's own Visual Studio 2010 has a pretty nice UI, very modern feeling, very customizable. I don't know why they couldn't extend that to Windows?

http://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/jasonz/WindowsLiveWriter/AnewlookforVisualStudio2010_CF66/DvX_ShellBase_2.png

perna
09-01-2011, 02:03 PM
Ok, I guess I wasn't too clear, keep the icons, have the text in tooltips.

I'm with Pior here. I'd rather have text labels instead of icons, then. What you're suggesting requires memorizing each icon by using onmouseover a large number of times until it sticks.


Lots of programs do this with dockable toolbars, having 32x32 icons.
I prefer this myself. A small number of small icons. I don't rely on tooltips for anything other than the occasional reminder(if that ever happens), as that's just too slow. Instead I keep the number of icons low enough to remember anyway.

Anyway, what you're talking about is in the Win8 File Explorer. I keep saying it's damn well made, and people respond "no, because it doesn't have X", when it does, in fact, have X.


Microsoft's own Visual Studio 2010 has a pretty nice UI, very modern feeling, very customizable. I don't know why they couldn't extend that to Windows?


What makes you feel that they haven't? VS is very well executed, but I hardly think tabs and old-fashioned toolbars make it unique.

Synthesizer
09-01-2011, 02:29 PM
I'm with Pior here. I'd rather have text labels instead of icons, then. What you're suggesting requires memorizing each icon by using onmouseover a large number of times until it sticks.

Well for the basic ones they have I understand that a red X means delete and a pair of scissors means cut. Pretty much every icon on that ribbon seems self explanatory to me. I also doesn't mean you need an icon for everything, but then maybe it could just be text and no icon? It just seems like overkill having both.

Anyway, what you're talking about is in the Win8 File Explorer. I keep saying it's damn well made, and people respond "no, because it doesn't have X", when it does, in fact, have X.

That's cool then :) I haven't really read up on it much, but I didn't seem to see it in that article renderhjs posted.

What makes you feel that they haven't? VS is very well executed, but I hardly think tabs and old-fashioned toolbars make it unique.

No, it's certainly not the best thing ever, just an example of a UI I enjoy using. It just vaguely seems better, more professional than Windows Explorer in some undefined way.

Sandro
09-01-2011, 02:41 PM
I quickly scanned article and watched video. Seems pretty straightforward to use and I see people with no prior windows experience finding what they seek without any problem.

And that's the way it should be. File management, writing some text notes in wordpad and sending emails should have no learning curve whatsoever, because these are basic, essential functionalities.

However, I don't like when this principle (and implementation) is applied to software intended for doing complex tasks. I am not going to open AutoCad and expect to start drafting apartment building instantly. It's okay to have learning curve, because subject itself is complex. 128 px save button, cloud of random sized icons (some with text and some without) does not make it any easier. Just simple, compact menu bar and custom toolbar with my most used stuff please :)

perna
09-01-2011, 02:49 PM
http://blog.duber.cz/wp-content/uploads/max2010_ui.png

Autodesk figured they would play it safe by implementing all ui systems in existence.

And require you to use them all simultaneously.

pior
09-01-2011, 03:52 PM
I don't understand the argument of the big ugly colorful icons being targeted to "new users with no prior Win experience". Windows desktops, tablets or laptops are all fundamentally different from, say, an ipad (which can indeed be safely picked up instantly because it has no notion of hard drive or folders). You cannot just pick them up and safely "figure them out". (if you are an active adult, the consequences of screwing up your computer are much bigger than accidentally formatting a drive full of porn at age 14)

Windows computers are exactly similar to regular Apple computers (honestly if you look past a few differences, OSX and Win user interaction experiences are exactly the same). The big difference is that if a 70 years old retired novel writer decides to finally swap is typewriter for a laptop, he/she can go to the nearest Apple store and register for a newbie class to learn how to use a Macbook. It's stupid things like that that makes the Apple laptops perceived as easier to use, even if they are not.

Win8 explorer is supposed to be a pretty christmas tree easy to figure out by looking at it - but I can guarantee you that the lightweight, sleek OSx explorer, even if inferior functionality wise, will still be perceived as better and easier.

Back on topic : new computers users shouldn't be given a foreign concept (the windows file browser/explorer) to magically figure out by themselves. There should be a simple way to learn about the core functionality of it with a few simple videos and maybe a "tip of the day" dialog and an easily accessible help file opening on startup.

For someone not even remotely familiar with the concept of copy/pasting, pretty little scissors and a little stack of paper will never, ever make any kind of sense sense. I remember back then before I first touched a computer for the first time I vaguely heard the terms in conversations and I had no idea what they meant. Icons don't explain anything, that's not their function!!

Sandro
09-01-2011, 09:38 PM
Pictograms were created long time ago before computers and were meant to communicate stuff, and they did pretty ace job. For everyone who did paper animals in kindergarten cutting and pasting stuff is not going to be that wild concept. And I don't see how huge cross with "delete" caption can be misinterpreted in any way.

Managing 20 jpegs and couple of word documents should require no classes whatsoever, and if it does I'd say UI is to blame. People are pretty familiar with concept of organizing stuff in containers, they do it everyday.

Elyaradine
09-01-2011, 11:48 PM
I think they missed out on something in their research. The list context menus as the most popular choice for executing a command, followed by hotkeys.

Personally, I use those two too, mainly because moving my mouse all the way across the screen feels as if it takes a really long time. I'd much rather click twice (right-click, left click) in a small area to do something than to click once, but have to move my mouse to the other side of the screen to click it. Of course, I'd rather just have hotkeys and not have to move my mouse at all.

What I've disliked about my experience with ribbons is that not only do I need to go all the way to the top of the screen to click on something, disconnecting me somewhat from what I wanted to do originally, but sometimes the command I'm looking for isn't actually shown on the ribbon, because it's in another tab. Then I waste time first glancing at the UI at the spot I expect the button, then switching tabs, and then clicking what I actually wanted.

Granted, dynamically placing a UI has its problems too, especially if it doesn't show up in a reliable position, and you end up wasting time looking for it. I'm not saying the context menu's awesome or anything, but what makes me use it pretty often is that I can quite easily predict where it's going to show up, because I know the top left corner of the menu will be at my mouse cursor, and this allows me to pre-emptively move my mouse to where I know the command is, without having really looked for it first.

So hey. I may not like the UI much, but can't think of a better way to do it, and I'll probably be using hotkeys anyway, so it's not as if it makes much of a difference, except for taking up a bit more space.

perna
09-02-2011, 02:54 AM
Pior:

Why would old people with Alzheimer's be performing advanced file operations anyway?

You haven't justified any of your earlier criticism. If someone said your art was s waste of time and it makes them sick, without backing up their claim, how seriously would you take them?

Win8 is taking significant steps towards becoming user friendly for the kind of people you describe, which are in a different category than "casual users" by the way. That's a different topic, however.

Right now, if you have never used a computer in your life you can get a tablet PC or you can get win7. The latter may require you to press F1, ask a family member, or consult with training material (of which there's absolutely no shortage). There's a choice.


So hey. I may not like the UI much, but can't think of a better way to do it, and I'll probably be using hotkeys anyway, so it's not as if it makes much of a difference, except for taking up a bit more space.

You can disable the ribbon.

I see a lot of people saying that the ribbon isn't efficient for power users. It's not meant to be. That's sort of like complaining that baby diapers don't fit adults (I had the good sense not to complain about this when I found out).

pior
09-02-2011, 03:07 AM
Well my point is that I feel like even tho Microsoft certainly has the time and ressources to devlop more elegant user interactions systems, in the case of the win8 browser window they show that they just dont.

I think the issue here is not so much a matter of criticizing their thoroughly researched decissions with valid or non-valid arguments. The reason why I dislike their recent designs is because they look like the obvious offspring of very uninspired design by commitee. To such a point that the designers tend to forget that they had more elegant solutions in the past.

They do the same thing with their release cycles - releasing the new, buggy version of office regardless of how messy it is. I find it sad that companies who could be at the forefront of innovation cannot even define a clear and elegant vision for something as fundamental as UI design. No matter how much money they poured into the subject of "enhancing" the browser UI, it just all looks like an amateurish lazy effort in the end...

I agree that, indeed, someone picking up computing from scratch with a desktop running win8 would be required to ask a family member to help with the learning. My point is that, big glowing icons don't help anyone with the learning process. It might seem like it, but I don't think it does. Remembering the structure of things and why things are grouped a certain way always works better than picking at the surface of a problem.

Anyways - I always have a problem with hype and "shiny new things" that wants to be the next big thing even tho they are by no means necessary. I guess I like simplicity too much!

perna
09-02-2011, 03:14 AM
Well my point is that I feel like even tho Microsoft certainly has the time and ressources to devlop more elegant user interactions systems, in the case of the win8 browser window they show that they just dont.

To me the problem is not so much a matter of criticizing their thoroughly researched decissions with valid or non-valid arguments ; my issue with their designs is that they look like the offspring of very uninspired design by commitee. To such a point that they tend to forget that they had more elegant solutions in the past.

What is it you feel is missing from the Win8 File Explorer UI exactly? How was it done more elegantly in the past? I get that you're unhappy about the design, but not what you're unhappy about, why you're unhappy about it, and what you feel could be specifically done to address the issues.

pior
09-02-2011, 03:22 AM
Oh! I see what you mean, I should have phrased it more clearly.

I dislike it because it seems to follow the trend of multiplying ways to access a given function, instead of committing to only one or two efficient ways. I generally disagree with the idea that a UI design has to "appeal to everyone". The picked design should be, in my opinion, simply the most efficient, most logically organized and most space saving one.

To sum it up, I think they are trying too hard. I could simply brush it off and say "Ill just turn it off if I don't like it" but the past has proven that whenever new UI paradigms are added, they tend to overload the system even when turned off. (Aero, round corners, and so on). Therefore, I tend to see such changes as a waste of peace of mind (why do they force me to worry about that ?), a waste of time, and a waste of screen real estate.

It seems like they are going with the times tho : the average computer user of today seems to be happy to just dick around stuff and waste time rather than getting things done :)

jeremiah_bigley
09-02-2011, 03:27 AM
;1418841']
Anyway, regarding Win8, at least the up button is back.


Right!!! Can't believe they had taken it away.
"Alt + UP" ;)

In anycase, interesting stuff guys.



Autodesk figured they would play it safe by implementing all ui systems in existence.

And require you to use them all simultaneously.

They are getting us ready so that they can rip the modifier panel out from underneath us... lol :P

Elyaradine
09-02-2011, 03:38 AM
I see a lot of people saying that the ribbon isn't efficient for power users. It's not meant to be.
If the most used way of getting to commands is via hotkeys and context menus according to their own research, then either most of their users are power users, or using context menus and hotkeys is just part of ordinary, every day use, and isn't exclusive to power users at all.

So hey, if most of your users aren't using your menu bar, then sure, it's possible that the menu bar just isn't efficient/easy to use in its current form. Alternatively, and this is what I wonder whether they considered, it's possible that the idea of a menu bar itself is kind of flawed in the first place, and you can improve it all you want, but it just still won't be used much, because most of your users are using context menus and hotkeys anyway.

To me, one of the bits of research should be to look at why people use hotkeys and context menus over menu bars in the first place, and I think it's not because the previous commands were nested in menus and submenus, but because they were just too darn far away.

arrangemonk
09-02-2011, 03:48 AM
if visual studio ever gets a ribbon im going to kill myself

perna
09-02-2011, 04:06 AM
Oh! I see what you mean, I should have phrased it more clearly.

I dislike it because it seems to follow the trend of multiplying ways to access a given function, instead of committing to only one or two efficient ways.

[...]

I generally disagree with the idea that a UI design has to "appeal to everyone". The picked design should be, in my opinion, simply the most efficient, most logically organized and most space saving one.

As power users, we are in the minority, which means if they're going to remove functionality we are the ones who will suffer from it. Why would you want that to happen?


the past has proven that whenever new UI paradigms are added, they tend to overload the system even when turned off.

The idea that the UI changes will significantly reduce performance is not only pure speculation, it's also highly unlikely.

I'm having a hard time seeing how power users can NOT be happy about the following:


Keyboard shortcuts for all functions
Customizable toolbar
More efficient screen space usage


Those things are going to hugely improve efficiency. Why would anyone, ever, have a beef with those improvements? :poly142:

It seems like they are going with the times tho : the average computer user of today seems to be happy to just dick around stuff and waste time rather than getting things done :)

People will get less efficient because MS improved the UI efficiency? I'm really surprised by the things you're saying Pior, as you're a hard core power user and early adapter. You're the last person I would expect to be against these obvious improvements. I have zero understanding for how keyboard shortcuts and customization can make you less efficient. That seems completely absurd to me.

pior
09-02-2011, 04:13 AM
Keyboard shortcuts, I totally agree with! But UI customization is hardly as good as it should be in theory. It just keeps happening : Photoshop adds more of it, Max too, now Windows ... but every time things get more glitchy. I am not against change at all - I am just tired of seing the same thing happening over and over again. Having to research online how to turn off shit, reg keys to edit, Aero not working for some odd reason... My patience is just getting thinner every time a single thing slows me down or disturbs my concentration because of a blinking icon or some useless fade-in effect :)

perna
09-02-2011, 04:31 AM
Keyboard shortcuts, I totally agree with! But UI customization is hardly as good as it should be in theory. It just keeps happening : Photoshop adds more of it, Max too, now Windows ... but every time things get more glitchy. I am not against change at all - I am just tired of seing the same thing happening over and over again. Having to research online how to turn off shit, reg keys to edit, Aero not working for some odd reason... My patience is just getting thinner every time a single things slows me down :)

I love to tweak stuff and share your general frustration. I feel it's a bit premature, however, to assume that the implementation of the designs will be buggy and low performance. We should be able to discuss a design on its own merits.

You should check out the other posts in the same blog. Win8 will have a LOT of awesome improvements for file handling in general. If it sucks in the end, it won't be due to the designers, who seem to be total butt-kicking pro's this time around.

For those who don't care to look through the article, here's a shot of a customized toolbar. Visual Studio style, just like people are requesting. Microsoft ARE listening this time. Give them some credit.

http://blogs.msdn.com/cfs-filesystemfile.ashx/__key/communityserver-blogs-components-weblogfiles/00-00-01-29-43-metablogapi/4380.Figure-24-_2D00_-Alex_2700_s-customizations_5F00_2.png

Calabi
09-02-2011, 07:46 AM
How is 80 percent or so that the guys own study proved how people use their own OS a minority?

They should be working on figuring out the means to get those 20 percent up to speed on those most efficient methods of using the os.

A bunch of icons, and menus within menus is not an efficient or logical easy to use ui at all.

pior
09-02-2011, 07:58 PM
Interestingly this is what the early prototype of XP looked like (Windows Whistler) :

http://zapp4.staticworld.net/news/graphics/211398-11_slide.jpg

Looking sharp!!

Sage
09-03-2011, 06:34 AM
I have to agree with Prior. There is all this bs into making things "better" but they turn out worse. The newer Windows UI are just flashier, but it's really annoying when you lose good functionality as a result of some new idea. I used to be able to customize windows 2000 and XP quick start menu by easily dragging and dropping icons of anything I wanted there if I needed it to be a quick launch item. With windows 7 you can't do that as you did before. You get asked all kinds of questions, and now you can't keep icons on one side, the tab go and mix in next to the icons. It's a freaking waste, especially when you have multiple browser windows open and you minimize them, they are a pain to find...

Also the newer versions of MS word, outlook etc, aren't exactly better in terms of UI, they just look prettier in some regards... I think that is all this babble they are doing is about, give the user the the impression that their programs are so much better than before because their ui are prettier...

perna
09-03-2011, 06:59 AM
Sage:

You can turn off aero. There's certainly nothing flashy about my win7 install.

A quick google search will show you how to get the quick launch toolbar in win7. Why would you want to though? Pin/unpin does the same thing, just better. You may not agree that it's better (for whatever reason), so you have the option of enabling quicklaunch. So since Microsoft is giving you the best of both worlds, there should be no reason to complain.

That's the problem with being a designer. Users cry out for improvements, and when they get them, they complain it's not like it used to be.

passerby
09-03-2011, 07:10 AM
why are people acting like there is a ideal solution?

of course how a experienced users who uses there comp for work everyday will use it differently than a casual user who only uses there comp for web access, and photos or something like that.

also different things are better for different users for most of us here are willing to learn the most efficient way to do something with our tools(and make our own customizations), but for some users ease of use or familiarity is better.


also

Sage just disable taskbar grouping and set small icons and it is more like XP taskbar, just better since applications are always on it in the same order instead of the order they were launched in.

pior
09-03-2011, 01:56 PM
Yeah the quicklaunch can be re-enabled, it's not too hard (but still a pain to look up).

One thing that I am wondering : Since MS certainly knows that a good chunk of their users are "power users" who want things to be simple, minimalistic, and efficient, then why don't they put together some sort of preset geared toward them ? For instance I am pretty sure that 90% of us here would love to have a win7 with thinner or even borderless windows, no transition animations, a certain "classic", space-saving and performance-friendly feel to the UI, and so on. Yet the only options are to go full Aero, Aero static, or "windows classic". Since there is a market for minimalist UI design (like the esthetics used on the ... Windows phone!), why not offering a cool preset for it ?

Now I feel like downloading windows seven skins (which totally goes against my choice of not messing around too much with an OS because it's risky and mostly a waste of time hehe)

Minos
09-03-2011, 09:58 PM
http://blog.duber.cz/wp-content/uploads/max2010_ui.png

Autodesk figured they would play it safe by implementing all ui systems in existence.

And require you to use them all simultaneously.

Jeez that has more buttons than the space shuttle's cockpit :(

Toast
09-04-2011, 12:01 AM
Less UI and more program space in my opinion.

I like Maya to hide all the UI and only have a status bar of the important things showen as small as possible - I wish this would be the direction of newer mainstream apps and windows instead of making things larger, to go more minimalistic and show more real estate to the part of the program that matters. But I can see how they are catering for lowest common denominator.

A guy I know who's been using a computer for 15 years had no idea what I meant by the start button last year when we were still on XP for instance. No wonder they're making it a giant shiny orb!

MoP
09-04-2011, 08:41 AM
As long as they have a native batch rename function in Windows Explorer, I'll be happy.

I've actually found the Ribbon UIs for the new MS Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) pretty handy, even though I was initially skeptical.
The idea of grouping things together logically in visual form is nice, and you can still use keyboard shortcuts or right-click menus for any of the more common commands.

The thing I don't get about MS is how they drive forward in these directions and then seem to forget about stuff like, I dunno, being able to resize a window?!

Examples:
For fun times, load up Excel 2010, make a ton of Conditional Formatting setups, then go to the "Manage" window for these - it's just about big enough to fit 3 in the window, and you can't resize it.
Also, try this: create 20 worksheets, select them all and Hide them. Now try to Unhide them all. OH! This selection list only allows you to select one item at a time! BRILLIANT!

If they actually covered all bases and updated the crappy legacy stuff that is still broken, I'd be much happier about them pushing out new UI designs.

Fix the old broken stuff before plastering shiny new bits around it.

Sage
09-04-2011, 02:05 PM
I didn't know you could bring back the quick launch. I prefer this to the pinning and docking.

@passerby I couldn't find all the setting you were talking about, but with the quick launch I would group all my apps together by the type of app they were. I would have my 3d programs, paint programs next to each other, then utilities, games, etc... It just helped me keep my desktop clean, I don't like having anything on it, and if I needed to launch a folder, for example to my textures, I would have a unique icon for the shortcut on my quick launch and it saved me a lot of time.

the pinning feature didn't allow me to see things there I like can with the quick launch. Also now I can have all my tabs seperate from app short cuts.