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Sharing some experiences with UI team

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Ben Hayat
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Ben Hayat asked on 18 Jul 2008, 02:36 AM
I've been dealing with some [harsh] reality lately, and no matter how you try to explain it, it seems like the audience seem to forget it as fast as they heard it.

Even though SL is still a baby (time wise), but somehow, I'm running into prospects who all think, SL is Microsoft's version of Flash, with Flash animations and fonts and look and feel. I just finished a project for a client, who from day one showed me a flash site and told me to do that look and feel, but better. Imagine a flash that has 10 years of maturity, and I have the challenge of doing something better with a Beta program.

The reality is that, SL, will be used for LOB (that's why this company wanted me to do it in SL and not Flash), but they don't want it to look and behave like Windows application. They want it to look like Apple and Adobe products. They want sexy and new looking apps that run on Windows and Apple.

It's very, very essential that your SL products, not only has the functionality, but has the new look and the cool behavior (Animation). For example, You should offer a series of effects on how a window opens or how a window closes. How panel opens and closes.

I was showing your samples today to some devs to get them excited about SL and telerik products, and they said: "Well, it just looks like Windows".

I'm not criticizing,  but just sharing what I went through and what future looks like.

I hope your UI team, start looking at some flash sites and Apple products, because that's what people want from SL.

Hope this post had some value!

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Miroslav
Telerik team
answered on 18 Jul 2008, 07:58 AM
Hello Ben,

Yes, in some areas Silverlight has a lot of catching up to do :). I have spent some time doing flash/flex and understand very well what you mean. Animations can add "coolness" to an app if they are used appropriately.

I have always advocated the idea that a technology should be used for its strengths and not just for the sake of a technology.

Silverlight allows us to customize a lot of things but unfortunately Storyboards (Animations) are not one of them. The problem you have to sacrifice something if you need to make really good customizable animations.

If a designer cannot modify them, its no good. If they are performing poorly, its no good. If they are hard to use, it is no good. Internally, we have some ideas about how really good animations can be made (and our UI people have some ideas too :)) but it is always hard to tell how far should we go with them. We will definitely add animations and make them usable.

Take a look at the calendar for example, it has 20+ properties for DataTempalte, TemplateSelectors, Styles, StyleSelectors and Panels (and we are not counting the format and visibility properties). Currently there are some animations but you cannot edit them. I do not like that! And yes, we are looking for ways to make them customizable and easy to use. (And we are getting there).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience on the subject! It allows us to focus on the important things for you, and in the end, this is what matters.

Best wishes,
Miroslav
the Telerik team

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Ben Hayat
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answered on 18 Jul 2008, 02:21 PM
Miroslav;

Thank you for your frank response. I wanted to share my thoughts with a component vendor so [hopefully] Microsoft will hear it better coming from you than just a developer like me. In my 25 years of professional programming, I also try to use the right technology for the right job, rather than just for the sake of technology. So you're point is well taken.

Seeing the CTP2, I'm sure this is going to be a great product, but I just wanted to share some experiences with you, so you can in return, tell MSFT what people are asking.

Anyways, thanks!
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Valio
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answered on 19 Jul 2008, 07:22 AM
Hey Ben,

you will see a good improvement in the look and feel of our controls even in our release that is due next week. We are now adding 1 new theme for all controls.

I can assure you that we know how important this is and that we will have implemented all the ux goodies like:
  • more than 5 embedded skins/themes
  • custom animations for all the controls
  • blend design support
  • easy styling thru different styles

Its just too early now - the tools (like Blend) are still not ready for this, the animations in SL will have a lot of improvements, but for the official release and after that, you will see all these UX improvements implemented in our suite.

Thanks for the feedback - keep it coming :)

Best,
Valentin Stoychev
Telerik

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Ben Hayat
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answered on 19 Jul 2008, 12:25 PM
>>Thanks for the feedback - keep it coming :)<<

Thanks for being open minded!
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