Part 2 [User Experience]: Why Windows Vista?

24 05 2006

User Experience (UX)

Microsoft has given Windows Vista, the new Windows Operating System, a completely new face lift. Let us take a look at some of the key innovations and changes in Vista’s User Experience (UX). The visual changes in Windows Vista are very evident and I’m very certain that it would leave you with tons of ooohs-and-aaahs.

Aero Glass

Professional-looking, transparent glass design, with subtle effects like dynamic reflections and smooth animations. The glass windows create an open, energizing environment, and enable you to better focus on your content, rather than on the surrounding interface.


Windows Vista searches filenames, metadata, and the full text of all files instantly, and displays the choices organized by the type of asset, such as applications, Internet files, application files and e-mail messages.

Speech Recognition

Speech Recognition is fully integrated into Windows Vista and is built on top of the latest Microsoft speech technologies. It has unparalleled voice recognition accuracy that improves with use as it adapts to your speaking style and vocabulary. Speech Recognition supports multiple languages and includes a new human-sounding speech synthesizer.

Windows Vista Explorer

Explorer includes- Instant Search which is always available and finds files instantly Navigation Pane which contains both the new Search Folders and traditional folders Command Bar which displays tasks appropriate for the files being displayed Live Icons which display a thumbnail of the actual contents of each file Preview Pane which provides rich information (metadata) about files Reading Pane which allows users to browse a preview of a file’s contents in applications that have enabled this feature Enhanced address bar, title bars and borders.

Live Taskbar Thumbnails

With Windows Vista Aero, live taskbar thumbnails show you the contents of the windows that are currently open or minimized to the taskbar. When you pause your mouse over a tile on the taskbar, you see the “live” contents of the corresponding window without having to bring that window to the foreground

Windows Flip (Alt + Tab) Windows Flip is an update to the feature known as Alt-Tab in previous versions of Windows. With Aero, using Windows Flip shows you live thumbnails of your open windows, instead of generic icons, making it easier to quickly identify the windows you’re looking for. One of the displayed windows in the Flip experience will always be on your desktop, giving you a fast and simple way to instantly minimize all the open windows on your desktop.

Windows Flip 3D (Windows + Tab)

Flip 3D gives you a new way to find the window you want. Flip 3D dynamically displays all the open windows on your desktop in a stacked format. While using the Windows (Start) + Tab keys, it also shows “live” processes like a playing video. With Flip 3D up you can use the Tab or arrow keys, or the scroll wheel on your mouse, to smoothly flip through the open windows and select the window you need.

Windows SideShow

SideShow is a new platform that supports secondary screens that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and hardware manufacturers can include in their designs for portable computers, keyboards, mobile phones, remote control units, and other devices. The Windows SideShow platform utilizes a class of Independant Software Vendor (ISV) developed mini-applications called “gadgets” through which you can view important information that is on your PC. Gadgets can also enable you to control some PC functions, and in many cases, it doesn’t matter whether the laptop is turned on, turned off, or in Sleep mode. Windows SideShow dramatically expands the usefulness of your laptop and other connected devices. Windows Sidebar Windows Sidebar boosts your personal productivity by providing instant access to gadgets—a wide variety of engaging, easy-to-use, and customizable mini-applications that offer information at a glance and provide easy access to frequently used tools. Gadgets are mini-applications with a wide variety of possible uses. Gadgets can connect to web services to deliver weather information, news updates, traffic maps, Internet radio streams, and slide shows of online photo albums. Gadgets can also integrate with your applications to streamline your interaction with them.


Windows Sidebar is a pane on the side of the Windows Vista desktop that organizes gadgets and makes them easy to access. Windows Sidebar is the perfect complement to widescreen monitors and also works seamlessly on standard displays. You can easily customize Windows Sidebar to suit how you want to interact with it—whether you want it always on top or resting below maximized windows. You can also move gadgets off the Windows Sidebar and place them anywhere on your desktop. More Vista Screenshots…

Windows Media Player

Photo Gallery Viewer

Windows Media Center






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