At the current rate I’m stalking Tjeerd Hoek, I’m going to have to learn Dutch sooner or later. Until then, here is a roughly translated summary provided by my good Dutch friend, Andre Fedosjeenko, of what Tjeerd said during the “De wereld draait door” TV show a few weeks ago talking about the design of Windows Vista.
- 2700 new features in Windows Vista
- Talking about Bill Gates
- Host: “Strange man, isn’t he?”
Tjeerd: “Well, interesting and smart guy. He could be very abstract as if he is doing some mathematic thinking.”
- Host: “Are you able to talk to him?”
Tjeerd: “Sure. Although…” (Bill Gates imitation..)
- Host: “Are you that high in function that you can actually address Bill Gates?”
Tjeerd: “Sometimes during meetings. You should carefully think through what you will say before addressing Bill Gates.”
- Tjeerd studied at TU Delft University in Holland. He wanted to do something with interfaces. “If you really want to do something where a lot of people make use of, then you have to do it in the States.”
- Tjeerds leads or led a team of about 35 where 7 are dutch. He thinks Dutch are smart and creative.
- He explains Flip 3D, how useful it is if you have lots of windows open. Shows it in slow motion with ‘wooooo’.
- Then comes the start button, why they removed the text. They joke around about how it took a team of 35 to remove the text and leave the flag.
- He shows concepts. First, what could they do with the taskbar. It’s already a recognized element for everybody but they wanted to do something new, something that people aren’t used to. They tried no button, then curved taskbar.
- Designers rendered lots of concepts for buttons & etc.
- Host asks if Tjeerd designs as well or does he ask the team to make something.
Tjeerd: “The people in my team make these images and together we talk about what solutions are important and what our goals are for the design.”
Then on base of that they review and see where they stand at the moment.
- Host asks again whether Tjeerd draws as well.
- Tjeerd wasn’t happy where it was going. (Shows a concept and adds that it’s too mechanic, just before the Vista logo glowing on the black background). So he proposed to take this logo/picture/button and put it on the taskbar in a way that it pops out a little bit.
Apparently the team said “it’s too small and we won’t be able to make it look as good as it is in big”. Tjeerd refers to that big picture again.
Tjeerd: “…but they have to do it”.
- Then you have to go through a couple of hundred concepts of these buttons.
- Host: “Which one did you choose?” (referring to the screenshot)
Tjeerd: “This is just a little section. Hereafter we went on and came out with this.” (refers to Vista logo on white background)
Tjeerd: “And nice thing is, besides that it’s a button that you can click and use all the time, you could use it as a symbol for Windows Vista.”
- Hosts to each other: “Are you a windows player?” (Joke)
Host: “Not an Apple user?”
Blue: “Well, to be honestly, and I don’t want to be rude, I would like to be an Apple user, but my brother said that if I am going to use an Apple then I won’t be able to help you anymore, because he is a Windows user. That’s why I don’t dare to become an Apple user, otherwise I am totally powerless without my brother.”
- Host to Tjeerd: “You work for global corporation, 800 million people are going to be clicking on the button you thought of. How can I see that you are Dutch. Or isn’t it anywhere to see that you left some kind of print?”
Tjeerd: “We are the designers, we have to listen to what users have to say. We are not ‘artists’.” (finger quoting)
Host: “Dutch Donald Duck artists always left some kind of twirl or whatever to mark it as Dutch…”
Tjeerd: “Yeah exactly. Well one example you can see is this glass effect where you can see through. People wanted to be able to change the color (of the glass) to make it their own. And there (theme colors screenshot) I put the orange preset.” (Orange being the national color of Dutch)
Tjeerd: “I had to throw one away because of the limited set.”
Host: “And what colour had to fall?”
- Host: “What are you going to do next?”
Tjeerd: “We are already starting working on the next version of Windows.”
Host: “Isn’t it like that we (consumers) get something (Vista), but you have it in your head how it should be, that there’s more room for improvement?”
Tjeerd: “Well, we are very happy with what we have done. We are very proud that we are done.”
Host: “But you already have thought out how it could be better?”
Tjeerd: “Yeah.” (doesn’t say much here) “Always looking in the future.”
In English, the interview suddenly becomes more interesting. There was more depth into the technical and artistic process than I would have imagined possible for a national TV program, although the child in one of the frames nearly fell asleep. Just as my friend Andre put it after all the time and effort translating, “enough Tjeerd for one day”.