Today Mary Jo Foley has spied an interesting image on a Russian Microsoft site which is thought to have posted an image of the eagerly awaited new version of Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 9. There was some text with it too that explained some interesting new features such as a combined address and search bar, I am very pleased to hear about this, and the ability to pin websites to the Windows Taskbar (its unclear if this is Windows 7 only or not).
However, whilst the features all sound well and good its the image of IE9 that I have an issue with. I like the interface in the screenshot as much as I like the new Internet Explorer icon; not very much.
Yes, the new design appears smaller but there seem to be some very odd and, from just looking at the image, annoying design decisions. The new forward and back arrows now appear pastel-ly rather than glossy like in IE7 and IE8 and even in Windows Media Player, I much prefer the glossy look (the same goes for the new logo which just looks cartoony). Another issue here is that the back arrow appears to be too large and is missing the bottom of it, it just looks silly.
I don’t have any complaints with the address/search bar, its looks to be simple yet functional. However the tabs look a little odd as it would appear they have a transparency gradient, why? The tabs, in my view, should be completely opaque and should have a definite border, the Aero UI around the tabs provides all the see-through-ness that is needed with the application. The tab is also too white, for a design that is suppose to all more room on a screen for websites the tab’s colour sure does a good job of drawing one’s eyes away from the page.
The three buttons on the far right look fine, but I just hope that all the options have been added efficiently within those buttons and Microsoft haven’t merged options and controls just for the sake of removing buttons.
Having said all that above though I think its good to see Microsoft being more adventurous with its designs and moving away from toolbars.
And yet, perhaps this isn’t anything like the design we will actually see for IE9 for a start the image could easily be photo shopped as I don’t believe that is a real Bing page. There are several discrepancies with it, I don’t think Kinect and Internet Explorer have even both been popular at the same time and one seemingly well informed reader on Engadget believes the photo on Bing is about a year old. Maybe this is only a place holder image for the article that was published early or a picture of a non final interface design.
I hope we something slightly different from the above image, don’t get me wrong I really like the smaller, simpler interface I just wish the design of some elements was better. I don’t want a cartoony web browser, I want a polished one.