Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Microsoft Compromises on Black Titlebars

One of Microsoft's most hated UI decisions for Windows Vista was the decision to black-out the titlebar when a window is maximized. Well, rejoice, for the UI team has listened... and offers a compromise.

In Vista, we are really trying to reduce the amount of high contrast visual noise in the UI to make it more comfortable for daily use. Part of that is make the taskbar darker, and another aspect is making the maximized windows match the taskbar by tinting toward black also.  The black taskbar and black titlebar produce a kind of letter-boxed effect, drawing your eyes toward the contents.  We think it works pretty well.  What we do is mix black in with the selected window color.  If you look closely, you can see that your taskbar and maximized titlebars all have some of your window color mixed in.

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In the end, we decided that we like the black and think it is the right thing to do, but we want to respect the user's color choice for users who bother to make a change.  So - starting in today's build, we have significantly backed off the amount of black that is mixed in with the user's color for maximized windows.  This is not particularly noticeable with the default color, but with the more intense colors like Red and Orange, you will appreciate the difference.

While I can understand where they are coming from with the whole "letterbox" thing, here's one part I don't get... if Microsoft was trying to match the taskbar... why didn't they use the same shade of gray? I think the fact that it was absolute black was probably the most annoying thing that people didn't get.

Anyways, it's still there in the default... but if you don't like it, change the tinting! See, Microsoft can compromise... It's the genius of "and", people!

Posted on Oct 04 2006, 08:49 AM by Robert McLaws
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