It’s that time again when a new operating system is released and software developers can’t wait to roll out new versions of their applications packed with as many new UX effects and functionality as introduced. It wasn’t that long ago when the amount of “Aero Glass” in an application determined how cool the application was. To this day, the “Gadget Gallery” window stands undefeated.
Granted in Windows 7 most of the new user experience features are more substance over style, but there’s still a risk developers can go overboard. For example, the live taskbar progress-bar is a subtle yet powerful UX feature that can be easily abused if not used in moderation. To help determine when’s the best place to use such UX features and how to best use it comes the UX guidelines.
The latest revision of Microsoft’s Windows UX guidelines published June 30 includes updates to many articles to cover some of the UX functionality new to Windows 7 and others which has been improved since Vista. The most notable additions are in the “taskbar” guidelines which covers jumplists, overlays, thumbnail toolbars and progress bars – a honeypot of new functionality to developers.
It’s appropriate they also added to the frontpage this quote by Microsoft user experience researcher Bill Buxton, “Everything is best for something and worst for something else. The trick is knowing for what, when, for whom, and why.” Speaking of which, I think Bill has an uncanny resemblance to Doc Brown from Back to the Future.