the Microsoft desktop Operating System family.

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148
votes
14answers
22k views

Do people really want to look at multiple windows at once?

I'm referring to Jakob Nielsen's alertbox from November 19, 2012. He complains about the lack of windows in Windows 8: Lack of Multiple Windows = Memory Overload for Complex Tasks One of the ...
66
votes
4answers
14k views

Why did Microsoft make Windows 8 hard to Power Off?

I’ve been using Windows 8 for a couple of weeks and am certain the new operating system will work great on tablet (i.e. Microsoft Surface). On PC some say the best tile is the desktop tile, where you ...
51
votes
11answers
10k views

Why did Microsoft choose the word “Recycle Bin”?

If you delete something in Windows OS, it will go to Recycle bin. But if you think about it nothing recycles in it right? Say, you delete a virus infected file and again restore it from recycle bin ...
42
votes
6answers
2k views

Should I provide feedback from a save button?

I'm currently in the process of developing a Windows Application which produces Word Documents. In the program there is the ability to save your progress (different to the "Save as a Word Document" ...
21
votes
5answers
17k views

Is there a Windows 8 desktop UI Guideline or HIG anywhere in the world? [duplicate]

And I don't mean Win 7 / Metro UI guidelines, I have them up the wazoo, but I've changed jobs and need to start looking at the new Windows 8 DESKTOP design. I know it takes a lot of cues from Metro on ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a visual glossary of (Windows) UI controls?

Some days it seems every member of my team calls each control by a different name. Is there a good resource, preferably with images, for what the official name of each control type is? I found a few ...
19
votes
6answers
1k views

Should yes/no dialogs also have a cancel?

I remember once reading an article that said whenever you present a messagebox with a Yes/No choice, you should always also provide a Cancel button, even if it does the same as No. The rationale was ...
17
votes
2answers
905 views

What happened to “What's this?” help?

"What's this?" help or context-sensitive help* used to be commonplace in Windows applications a few years ago. Dialog windows had an additional "?" button in the top right, that when clicked, gave you ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Delay on keystroke when search as you type

I'm deploying an instant search on my windows app. At the first implementation, when the user type a key, the search engine make a query and return the results. I thought that that wasn't too much ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Good alternatives for replacing multiple nested modal dialogs?

Having a mature and good-selling Windows desktop application, we are focusing on improving the user experience for the next release. One thing that I try is to get rid of multiple nested modal dialog ...
14
votes
10answers
861 views

Are some of Windows 7's UI less intuitive than previous versions?

One feature I can't understand is the minimize to desktop button. I can't imagine why it is more intuitive to put it as this little tiny transparent strip on the bottom right hand side instead of ...
14
votes
3answers
466 views

Why do scrollbars revert to original scroll distance when mouse is dragged sideways too far?

When dragging the scrollbar using the mouse, the contents of the scrollpane move up and down as the bar moves with the mouse. But if you keep the mouse button held down, and move the pointer sideways ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does the close (cross) button in Windows gets special attention?

In Windows's window even if you don't hover on the close (cross) button it always stays red. But the minimize or restore button is transparent, if you hover then it will become blue. So why does this ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is the close button in the title bar red in Windows 7?

Perhaps to prevent users from closing the window or application inadvertently? But is it also a distraction because the color of red stands out? Any insights?
11
votes
3answers
919 views

Looking for independent usability study of the Microsoft Fluent UI

I have been trying to gather objective feedback/response on the design of the Fluent UI ('Ribbon') interface. Apart from one study by Forrester which was commissioned by Microsoft anyway, and various ...
10
votes
2answers
953 views

Inactive State of buttons, to hide or not to hide…that is the question

On a windows based LOB application for data capturing. Is it better to hide a button completely when it is inactive, or simply show a disabled state for the button.
10
votes
2answers
13k views

Windows 8 Metro Design Examples / Guidelines [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where can I find style guide for metro UI for web applications? Not a technical question about how to build an app (I'm just going to use DevExpress Tiles, mostly ...
9
votes
4answers
739 views

Mouse wheel interaction with nested scrollbars

Nested scrollbars (a scrollable area within another scrollable area) present some unfortunate difficulties, mainly when scrolling trough them with the mouse wheel. Whether such scrollbars are a good ...
9
votes
4answers
590 views

Is it still preferred/acceptable to right-align the Help menu in Windows applications?

Back when I first learned Windows GUI programming, it seemed very common to right-align the Help menu in applications. It seems this is no longer the norm in all of the Windows applications I ...
8
votes
5answers
645 views

Are double tabs on the same level acceptable?

In my Windows application, I want to show the user some kind of map. The information displayed on this map can vary a lot, depending on filters set by the user. With these filters set, the user will ...
8
votes
4answers
280 views

Why did older Windows installs delay before automatic restart?

Every time I need to install an older copy of Windows (today it's Server 2003 Enterprise), I run into the screen where the initial install phase completes and my machine needs to reboot. The ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

The missing “Folder Up” button in Windows Explorer in Vista and Win7

Windows XP had a "Folder Up" button in Windows Explorer. Whenever you want to go to a directory higher in the hierarchy, you just press it. Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a rather useful address ...
8
votes
1answer
249 views

Applicability of Fitts law in expert user scenarios

Fitts law states that "the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target.". Simply put, if user is about to click/tap/press a ...
7
votes
3answers
207 views

Should we use Microsoft's feature names, or our own? “Autofilter” vs “Column filter”

Many Microsoft softwares, like the Office suite and the Windows Explorer, feature a type of column filter that they have dubbed the Autofilter. It filters rows based on column content. It adapts the ...
7
votes
2answers
593 views

What's the best positioning strategy for dialog boxes?

In a Windows application, there are many options for determining the starting position of a dialog. In the center of the application's main window In the center of the screen where the application's ...
7
votes
2answers
299 views

UI suggestion: Where to place MoveUp/Down buttons

It is ugly but I can't find a better place to put Move-up and Down buttons. What is your suggestion? Note: the ORDER of the items inside the spreadsheet is important to user and we save it. These ...
7
votes
1answer
221 views

Should filtering of data have an effect on the filter criteria as well?

My quesion is about filtering of data in a Windows desktop application. I have a large amount of data coming from a database (> 900.000 records). The records are shown in a classic listcontrol (rows ...
6
votes
2answers
725 views

What is the purpose behind mouse acceleration?

Windows XP enables it by default, I don't know about vista or 7, in Mac OS X you have to buy a shareware to remove both mouse acceleration AND accelerated scrolling. Why are those things always ...
6
votes
4answers
304 views

Control to select (not open) a file on windows

I am designing a Windows application that has a dialog that requires the user to select a file, similar to the way you would with an <input type="file"> on the web. However, I cannot think of a ...
6
votes
1answer
411 views

Where can I find an official or recommended Windows desktop application user interface usability and style guide?

I've heard there is a OSX User Interface Usability and Style Guide since the 90's. I never heard of an equivalent book for Windows. Is there any?
6
votes
3answers
208 views

When is the best time to deploy operating system updates?

Related to this question, it was proposed in the comments that it frustrates the user even more when when they go to shutdown their workstation and it takes forever to install updates. However, it's a ...
6
votes
1answer
376 views

Why is HideSelection the default on Windows?

I've always wondered why Windows controls have their HideSelection property set to true by default? Example (TreeView): ...
6
votes
1answer
229 views

Alert window, navigating to the right button

Working on both Windows and OSX, I have some habits on both. In alert dialogs, there is a huge usability variance between both operating systems. In the latter, you can either tap enter and have the ...
5
votes
4answers
408 views

Better way to provide software downloads for an exe application

We plan to release an .exe file to public. The options would be to download the .exe file from the websites direct server link, so that we can provide direct download support with respective to ...
5
votes
5answers
599 views

What's a good shortcut key for a global shortcut

I'm writing an app that allows the user to open up a window when they put in a shortcut key. I have this feature working but I would like to know what shortcut key combination would be best. I ...
5
votes
3answers
290 views

“File” for name of drop-down menu

In Windows mostly, a lot (most?) applications have a "File" drop-down menu, with things like "Exit", "Import/export settings", "Preferences", ... Is "File" a blindly accepted standard/default? ...
5
votes
3answers
449 views

Is it good UX that in Windows 7 & 8 the “windows” of the same application are automatically grouped into one button?

In Windows 7 and 8, all the windows of every application are by default automatically grouped into one icon on the taskbar. This happens even when there are two instances of the application running ...
5
votes
3answers
430 views

Which button should get the focus at delete dialogs?

I thought that most destructive actions should be avoided from default actions. But when a delete dialog comes, I see that most Windows applications (even the OS), by default, set the focus at ...
5
votes
1answer
511 views

Why would number lock be disabled by default?

There was a time that number lock was enabled by default (at least in a Windows environment). Then, after an update one day, all the sudden the Number Lock is disabled. Why the change? What is it ...
5
votes
4answers
17k views

Where can I find a gallery of WPF UI examples? [closed]

Does anyone know where I can find a gallery of UIs built with stock WPF controls? I want to give my business partners examples of what can be (fairly easily) accomplished with the standard WPF ...
5
votes
1answer
219 views

Any recommendations on dealing with wizard screens with wildly different amounts of content?

I'm facing an issue with a wizard import system. The content of each screen in the wizard varies to the tune of creating white spaces as big as 300px by 300px. A stakeholder thinks this is too much ...
4
votes
6answers
632 views

Good example of a Keyboard Shortcut Manager implementation [closed]

I am implementing a keyboard shortcut manager in which the user can assign shortcut keys to global (or contextual) commands in a Windows desktop application. Note that the application has load of ...
4
votes
3answers
164 views

Checkboxes vs Selection in dialog

In my application a user can search for messages in a database. Users may select mailboxes and folders where the search will be performed. These folders are represented as a tree with checkboxes. But ...
4
votes
3answers
86 views

User Interface Changes for Mac when Porting Windows Application

I have an existing windows application, for which I have decided to create a Mac version. The problem is that the current UI involves a lot of buttons, tabbed panels, multiple windows etc. This UI ...
4
votes
1answer
407 views

Does Metro scale?

This question has bugged me for a while, I thought I might ask it. In software, we say something "scales" if it's able to stay coherent and consistent over a long period of time, but more ...
4
votes
2answers
159 views

position-based application switching in traditional window managers

I have a related question on SU that is asking for any tools which apply this concept: Suppose that I've got a perfectly reasonable set of two terminal windows, two web browsers, and one email ...
4
votes
1answer
153 views

Why is low contrast between active and inactive window title bars considered a good thing?

It seems like recently, there is a movement toward applications forcing a color scheme on the user as well as using custom-drawn windowing elements, particularly title bars, with very low contrast ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Studies showing significant usability differences between Windows and Mac OS X?

Everybody has their pet gripes about one or the other, but I'm curious if there is any actual science showing that "The Windows Way" or "The Mac Way" is significantly better for some task. Just to be ...
3
votes
4answers
286 views

Why is the Windows taskbar default at the bottom?

In Windows operating systems the taskbars default position is at the bottom. Why is that so? Especially it is strange to me because all windows application have their main menu bar at the top. To me ...
3
votes
6answers
475 views

How can I improve the perceived performance of a desktop application?

We've build quite a 'large' and regrettably slow windows application for various financial planning business steps. I'm currently trying to improve the performance of the application by slowly ...