Windows Vista User Experience (UX) Guide

Follow the Microsoft Windows Vista User Experience Guidelines (or “UX Guide” for short) to build your application’s user interface so that it takes advantage of all the new features of Windows Vista and provides a consistent user experience for your customers. These guidelines contain information on what’s new in Windows Vista, design principles, guidelines for controls, text, windows, and aesthetics. The guidelines will help designers and developers create high-quality, consistent Windows Vista applications.

Last week, Microsoft has released another silent update to the official Windows Vista User Experience Guidelines on MSDN. The guide which serves as Microsoft’s equivalent to Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, provides developers and designers with a set of basic principles and suggestions to make the user experience in Windows applications more consistent and user-friendly.

Only if every developer, or even if every Microsoft developer would read this, then the world would be a better place.

Silly sample error messageMicrosoft has always published guidelines alongside Windows releases to ensure consistency across the continuously updated interface (ex. Windows 2000/98 and Windows XP), but the Vista guidelines are more accessible through the web and easier to understand with less technical-jargon and more human-speak.

The February update is the first update since the launch of Windows Vista from the last major update in December. This update adds an enormous amount of material to the guidelines and expands on topics that were either not covered or lightly covered before.

New content topics cover toolbars, warnings, confirmations, icons, sounds and software branding. The following is a highlight of what can be found in this update.