Microsoft shows off Vista like its 2005

On the official Windows Vista website, there has been an awfully large collection of pre-Beta 2 dated screenshots illustrating poorly, the final look and feel of Windows Vista. Looking through the features page, it feels like I’m warping in-and-out of time. Nearly every page offers a taste of Vista in a different era, far-fetched from a gallery of consistent user interfaces.

Sharing feature

Just to show I’m not kidding around, this particular screenshot for Sharing pre-dates even Longhorn Beta 1, from July 2005. On the left, the screenshot on the website shows the old back button, cyan titles and ‘jellybean’ buttons. It looks pretty horrible. On the right, is the final interface for the same feature.

Windows Photo Gallery

Another example is on the Windows Photo Gallery page. This screenshot was even taken at a time where menu toolbars were still turned on by default. The main toolbar is still largely unorganized and lacks the black gradient. Control buttons at the bottom were still looking a little clunky and the Aero Glass border is yet to infiltrate that area. Windows Photo Gallery today is far more polished in comparison.

Windows Calendar

What a mess Windows Calendar was. Thank god the bottom control buttons were completely scrapped. Surprisingly, the menu toolbar made it through.

Start menu

Although not all of the older screenshots are worse. For example, in User Experience, I very much prefer the older Start menu. Besides the purple text in search results, two minor differences include the boldness of username, as well as a darker user picture ‘holder’. The bold username served a very useful purpose for separating the actual user from their folders.

I could go on with more examples, but I’ll leave it at that. This problem is barely limited to only the Vista website. All over, and even in the all-too-important Vista Virtual Pressroom, there are more than handfuls of outdated and quite frankly, ugly screenshots of an otherwise aesthetically pleasing user interface.

During the course of development, Vista’s UI changed (too) many times and even more websites fail to keep up. But now with Vista well beyond its production cycle, Microsoft should start focusing on updating these screenshots to send a refreshed and consistent message about the new user experience.

Perhaps a new Vista website is being developed for the business and/or consumer launch? Possibly rolling out at the same time as the new website? I sure hope so, the current one’s becoming quite dated.

13 insightful thoughts

  1. It’s not just Microsoft’s websites that havent been updated for Vista UI changes, programs in Vista itself (namely the Speech Recognition Tutorial) havent even been updated.

  2. Yes, even in Windows Help, there are some old pictures (with Beta1-style libraries in Explorer). And what’s the deal with hideously overcompressed videos in Vista Welcome demos? They can’t be serious with this. This is another example of Vista not being done.

  3. To add to my previous response, I think (or hope) that these discrepancies have to do with Vista not being officially released yet. We should see completely different Vista webpage in January 07.

  4. I agree with rajo, MSDN/Connect/”Corporate” users, the ones who have access to Vista, aren’t going to be looking at those sites anyway 😉

    Apart from updating it in January, the only other time before then that they might is November 30, as CompUSA prepares to sell Vista.

  5. Noticed this one also when I was playing around with Windows Calendar, was trying to find a way to show up that ugly toolbar at the bottem, but couldn’t find it, turns out it was canceld 😛

  6. I believe Microsoft is holding up all the stuff for the official public launch next year, that’s when I think they will update the site, screenshots etc.

  7. Yes, I not said above (I flew/quick read) the Start Menu also has an manual search in it (I think) or a refresh icon… Or something… Well as Julian said, I agree! I don’t like blogs too!

  8. Long,
    The only reason the start/task bars are lighter in the new version is because the background is white – just for the sake of a cleaner screenshot. In the old version, there was a dark background photograph, hence the glass looked darker.

    You also get a similar effect if you turn off transparency altogether.

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