Friday, August 24, 2007

Vista vs UX guidelines

One of the changes in the Vista UX guidelines is regarding capitalisation. On the subject, they say:
Use title-style capitalization for titles, sentence-style capitalization for all other UI elements. Doing so is more appropriate for the Windows Vista tone and its more descriptive use of text.
Exception: For legacy applications, you may use title-style capitalization for command buttons, menus, and column headings if necessary to avoid mixing capitalization styles.
They also have a whole article dedicated to menus, in which they say on labels:
Use sentence-style capitalization.
Exception: For legacy applications, you may use title-style capitalization if necessary to avoid mixing capitalization styles.
One does wonder how much attention Microsoft pay to these guidelines. Let's take a look at the context menu for a shortcut to a application in Windows Explorer on Vista RTM + updates.

Ignoring the entries from 3rd party software, what do we find? Mixed capitalisation styles. In sentence-style, we have "Run as administrator", "Open file location" amongst others. In title-style we have "Pin to Start Menu", "Create Shortcut" amongst others. It does looks somewhat unclean and why they left it like this can only be described as a mystery.

In the same article about menu guidelines, we see some interesting differences between what is shown there in the screenshots and what is actually in Vista:

In this screenshot, WordPad in Vista is on the left, and from the article is on the right. At least part of the UX guidelines were written after Vista was released, so perhaps these changes should be looked out for in Vista SP1.

It was also interesting to note in the same UX guidelines they point out some errors in Vista RTM. For example this appears in the article on progress meters:


In this example, halting the copy leaves any copied files, so the command button should be labeled Stop.

If you've tried to cancel a file-copy operation in Vista, you'd realise this is talking about the actual behaviour in Vista.

Command Prompts on Vista

I learnt of a neat trick on Vista through another blog - if you hold down shift whilst right clicking on a folder on Vista you get an extra entry: "Open Command Window Here" (in general you get some extra entries, folder or file). Very useful - previously on XP I had to install a PowerToy (as I remember?) to get this in the context menu.

It does lead me in to a bit of a rant though. When you have UAC enabled, sometimes you need to use elevated command prompts which start in a particular directory. This was the case for myself one day, I wanted a reusable shortcut for this so I created a new shortcut to cmd.exe and changed the "Start In" directory. Opening it showed the expected behaviour - it started in the chosen folder. Now to run it as administrator (using the context menu option). Failure - it starts in "C:\Windows\system32" for some reason. Possibly because it's the location of consent.exe, I don't know, but it's not the most intuitive behaviour.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vista + Menus

Normally, or at least by default, menus in Windows Explorer on Vista are hidden until you press the ALT key on your keyboard. But for some reason my Vista install displays menus permanently in all Windows Explorer windows. Despite the fact I have the "Always show menus" option disabled:

It's pretty annoying so I wouldn't mind knowing how to fix it..

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vista Bugs Again

Is disabling the status bar by default a good reason not to test it?

Crap, I didn't know you could make files with negative size. Why did I bother buying a 750GB hard drive?

More Vista whinging soon!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Vista File Save As Dialog Gone Wrong

I click "Save As" one day in my favourite application only to be very confused:

Ahem, where do I enter the filename?? Which folder is empty?! Let's try clicking the "Browse Folders" button:

OK, now my folder is not empty but still nowhere to change folder or enter the filename.

One last try, let's click the "Hide Folders" button:
Now, this was in Mozilla Firefox. So who's to blame, Firefox or Vista? It is a standard dialog provided by Windows so it would be odd for Firefox to cause this. However it was not occurring in other applications at the time and trying again to save a file in Firefox resulted in the same mess. Even the breadcrumb/navigation bar was missing! Maybe OLE/COM initialisation related, who knows...