Are Vista icons facing the wrong way ?

No doubt you've all seen the "Computer" icon in Windows Vista. Some of you might have even clicked on it and few of you probably have a shortcut on your desktop. But has it ever occurred to you it's facing the wrong direction, away from you? At least one guy did, and this is just one of the minor details under scrutiny at the Windows UX Taskforce that is particularly fascinating.

The problem is, by default, Windows displays icons from left to right. Assuming the user sits in the middle of the monitor, the icons should in fact face right towards you and not the edge of the monitor. The only icon in Vista off the top of my head which does this correctly are the "folders" icon which open up towards the right. This actually conflicts with the official user experience guidelines suggesting the perspective of icons face left.

If this isn't weird enough, the Windows XP's icons and even conceptual Vista icons designed by Iconfactory faced the right (pun) way. For some unknown reason, Microsoft designers decided to flip them. Mac OSX icons face directly at you - probably the best solution.

Link: istartedsomething

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First off, quotes surrounding the entire blurb is appropriate since it is a word-for-word copy.

Also, this was news 10 days ago. As usual, Neowin "newshounds" are on the late show. :suspicious:

Someone needs to spend less time analyzing Vista and more time looking for a job.

Also, grab a dictionary and check up on the word "fascinating".

I think the new icons look really nice. I guess if there is something wrong with them I don't notice... Anyway, MS has always had trouble following its own style guidelines. Look at WMP, IE7 and Office2007.

Since noone noticed anything for so long, how much of a concern should it be?

Isn't as if the Y2K bug is going to occur just because an icon is facing 'the wrong way'.

It does sounds pretty minor... but I played LotR Online during its beta stage and never ended up purchasing the retail because I felt the UI was so bad. The biggest thing was the posture highlight for pets would flash! It was incredibly distracting to have a button constantly moving and flashing for no apparent reason.

Eh... Since when was facing right towards you, and facing left away from you?

Right or left, the icons are the same angle away from the centre middle.

(Lieutenant said @ #24)
Eh... Since when was facing right towards you, and facing left away from you?

Right or left, the icons are the same angle away from the centre middle.

What he meant by away or toward is the fact that most people have their desktop icons on the left side of the screen (from the article). Since they're on the left side, if they're also facing left you get a sense that they are facing "away" from you rather than if they were facing to the right.

Vista icons facing the wrong way? You look in a mirror and what you see is a reverse image of yourself. Damn, I gotta get my mirror fixed, I'm facing the wrong way when I look at myself.

I had to look at the article's pictures because like most users I don't have icons on my desktop, so never noticed something as inconsequential as the facing of the icons.

Seriously? This is news? In design circles I am sure they would debate this for weeks or months but seriously? Who gives a rat's ass!

The only thing wrong with Vista in my opinion is Microsoft.

I think everyone agree Microsoft rushed the OS to the shelves, but it's not a reason to not give it some polish. We are talking about a software that millions of users see everyday. Consistency is a basic developer quality, I don't see why a graphical artist shouldn't be consistent.

Now I'm really never gonna upgrade to Vista. This was the last straw! I'm converting to Mac OS X!

^That's just sarcasm. Who gives a flying **** which direction the icons are facing? That one guy noticed it, big ****ing deal.

Those who dismiss such things, you know there's a huge industry built up around graphic and even typeface design?

You may find it inconsequential, but even little things have a surprising amount of impact on how people receive and interpret information.

Interesting, and yeah, i noticed this (when i replaced 1 or two icons and suddenly i had icons all facing different directions :P)

lol Someone felt this is such an important issue that it needs writing about? Oh dear...

Some people really, and I mean REALLY, need to see the sun

You know such minor things all add up together to build a sense of aesthetic and they are all functional in terms of building a metaphor you can understand.

So unless you're a mutated super hero or something, this is the topic of an actual, serious discipline.

Pfah. Left / right = so last OS. I want ones that are up and down. Or in and out. With a special set for quantum physicists of charmed and strange.

I prefer it faces to the left to be honest, not that it really matters but at the angle its facing it seems more natural to me, that if placed on the left of the screen like this article is implying it would be, then I can see the computers right hand side if it's to the left.

Think I worded that badly. Basically the facing to the left is far less "in your face" IMHO.

Anyway the folder icons to me have the same orientation anyway. The focus of those isnt so much the folder itself but the contents being displayed IN the folders which like the other icons is angled to the left and thus IMHO is consistent.

(DKAngel said @ #4)
omgwtf who givesafark its a damn freaken icon, moving right along to real news...........

Please, never become a UI designer. Ever.

And since when does Neowin post 100% "newsworthy" news?

(DKAngel said @ #1)
omgwtf who givesafark its a damn freaken icon, moving right along to real news...........

And yet you spent the time to read and then comment on this news article that you dont give a "fark" about.

(DKAngel said @ #4)
omgwtf who givesafark its a damn freaken icon, moving right along to real news...........

If you can't be bothered getting the small things right, how can we as users expect you to get the big things right?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There's lots of other consistency issues in Vista, and all Windows versions in general.

For example: 'kilobytes' denoted 'KB'? It should be 'kB'.

Another similar mistake: System Information reads CPU speed as 'Mhz'. This is incorrect, and should read 'MHz'.

Furthermore, some parts of the OS and MS application suites say 'website', while others stick to 'Web site'.

In terms of icons, there are also instances of smaller, scaled versions of the icons being "cut" prematurely. Just look at the Calculator icon in XP (Start Menu).

I could go on...

As for Vista, we all know the whole icon package is a bit of a joke. It's a mish-mash of new Vista icons, older XP icons, and archaic pre-XP icons.

Actually "KB" is logically right (10^N):

IF (N > 0) then case = Upper
IF (N < 0) then case = Lower

T (Tera) = 10^12
G (Giga) = 10^9
M (Mega) = 10^6
K (Kilo) = 10^3
m (milli) = 10^-3
µ (micro) = 10^-6
n (nano) = 10^-9
p (pico) = 10^-12