I don’t like designing and programming UI. Unfortunately, at work, I am thrust into it. Otherwise, the software we development is simply speaking “Unusable by target audience”. Since then, I had been picking bits and pieces of advices in UI building, with Apple being the Design God I worship and pay homage to.
PCPro magazine did a piece on how Windows 7 (pre Alpha) is not faster than Vista, but simply perceived to be faster. According to Graham-Smith, the author, what happens is “They’ve recognised that perceptions of speed focus almost exclusively on interactive performance.”, i.e., they polished the surface but leave the underlying things unchanged. Graham-Smith says, it is not a con but is an inspiring move. I agree this is not a con (yet) and Microsoft’s polishing effort inspiring, and the discovery insightful and a useful fact for UI designers to note.
One thing to note. We are looking at pre-Alpha. It is very possible that making application runs faster will be implemented sometime now to the final release. Concentrating on the perception of Windows 7 is fast on pre-alpha is a business decision, and a correct one. Now what we want to see is the application do indeed run faster.
Remember, beauty is only skin-deep. Polishing is something is necessary to increase its value, but polishing removes a layer from the surface, makes exposing the inner core one step closer, and polishing also do nothing to improve the quality of inner core.
Ultimately, it is the inner core that matter. Microsoft currently has a problem with Vista, it cannot run on low spec computer, what they like to call Ultra-low-cost PC, others call NetBook, and what I call not-overpriced PC. That segment of the market had become increasingly important. Vista’s inability to handle those computers is one reason why XP just refuses to die. It will be a shame that Microsoft did not fix this in Windows 7.