Windows 7 Visual Changes You Never Got to See
Article by George Norman
On 26 Mar 2009
Redmond software developer Microsoft, with the Windows 7 operating system is trying to reach two main goals: make an OS that provides users with much needed functionality and do so in a visually appealing way. There are several visual changes available in the next iteration of the Windows-based OS, such as the option to change the default logon screen (details here) or a more obvious flashing effect for “needy applications (details here).

Some of these changes (visual and functional) have already been revealed to Windows fans with Build 7048 and Build 7057 of the Windows operating system, builds that were leaked online earlier this month. That is l very nice for the enhancements we got to see, but what about the bits and pieces we never got to lay our eyes upon?

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Reports on the web have it that Microsoft, while developing the Windows 7 OS, took several design ideas into consideration. Some of them made it to the official Beta, Build 7000, while others were discarded and as such remained a mystery. The good people at TechRadar uncovered them and here they are:

- Thumbnails of running programs in the taskbar, as opposed to icons and pop-up menus in the taskbar – as you can see in the picture at the bottom. Senior Use Experience Designer Stephan Hoefnagels: “In our usability labs we found people like thumbnails so much they want to click on them. In Vista you'd move your mouse to a thumbnail and it would go away and there was always disappointment in our usability labs. People were saying 'that's the window I want; oh no! It's gone away', so finally in Windows 7 we made it clickable.”

- Bat Signal: just place your mouse cursor over an icon in the taskbar and get a full window pop-up, highlighted by beams of light (just like the Batman signal, get it?). This feature was also scrapped because it proved to be too intrusive with the user's work flow and was replaced by Aero Peel.

- Aladdin: rub a background window with the mouse cursor and a preview will appear on top; keep rubbing it and it will stay on top. This feature was scrapped and replaced with Aero Shake.





Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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