Freedbacking Internet Explorer

Sorry I wasn’t able to get this up until now, but I promised I’d have it here within a day of publishing last night’s report (Internet Explorer Feedback).
The IE team has responded to my feedback on their latest beta. Can’t say I’m happy with their answers, but I’m extremely impressed with their transparency, honesty, and ability. Their responses have been italicized below, with the first five responses already online. I figured I wasn’t the only person with these pecadillos, so I wanted to share their answers with everybody…

Okay, I know I didn’t want to get into the UI problems in IE7b3, but the command bar’s Home icon menu items sport a different vertical height than others (like the Print menu). Why… why?! And why does the Quick Tabs button look different than the Home button, even though both of them have drop-down menu items?! The window flashes when I select options in the Favorites Center, WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE WAKE UP OVER THERE?

Home icon menu has different vertical height because we custom draw the menu with two more pixels of height in order to make favicons appear un-cramped. This is the same padding added to the classic Favorites menu or to the All Programs menu in the start menu. However, it does look a little odd for the bottom two items. We’ll investigate if we can use different padding for those items.

Quick tabs button looks different because we wanted to visually associate it with the tabs, since it is a tab management feature that operates on all tabs at once. All of the command bar functions operate on the currently active tab or the browser as a whole. We’re not able to reproduce the window flashing in the favorites center: Can you be more specific about what you mean by “selecting options in the favorites center?” In any event, a great deal of our time for the next few months will be spent on performance and polish issues, so it may be that we’ve already addressed this in internal builds, which is why we’re not seeing it internally.

You still can’t control the specific point size of a default font. IE7 would have you walk through a convoluted process rather than let you, for example, say that you wanted 9pt Courier New for the default fixed width font. That would’ve been too simple, methinks.

Today we do not have a simple UI to change the default font. We pick up the default font of the system. You can change the default font in a couple of different ways. (1) You can change the system font and that changes the default browser font. (2) You can change the default font through a user style sheet (for example you can create a style sheet with “:body {font: Arial 12pt;}” and load it through the accessibility tab under Internet Options). We’re looking into making this easier in a future version.

The “Delete Browsing History” dialog is still a kludge compared to the Firefox one. What’s the fear in making it work just as well – if not better – than the competition’s? Initially, I was also confused by the labeling of this feature – believing it only pertained to my URL cache. They should be using another word instead of History. Might I suggest… “Delete Browsing Social Studies?”

This particular design was chosen for usability reasons and it tests pretty well for initial usability. We have, however, seen that power users do prefer the checkbox model, so we are investigating changing the design in a future release. As for the name – it’s designed to make sense to the average user. The typical power user (that understands things like URL caches) will figure it out quickly enough, as you have.

Why does the entire window freeze and stall for a second (sometimes) before it closes completely? Seems to be a problem when I have more than one tab open. When I click the close button, the window should disappear instantly. It doesn’t.

There are known issues with third party toolbars causing this phenomenon. All tabs except the last one close quickly and then the last one stutters. IE7 itself frees additional resources when the last tab is closed, so sometimes this does result in a UI stutter as IE closes. It’s usually not very noticeable – much less than half a second. If you can give us some more information about what add-ons you have installed, perhaps we can confirm this for you.

When “ico” files are rendered in the browser, why are they just as aliased around the edges as they were in IE6? Firefox doesn’t have this problem, and Opera doesn’t have this problem… so I’m waiting for a damn good reason why Microsoft can’t fix it.

.ico files contain multiple versions of an icon. IE6 and IE7 both display icons in a web page by picking the first icon in the .ico file. In a future release, we’ll look into making the change to pick the highest-resolution icon in the file. The “good reason” for not fixing this now is simply that we have many more high priority issues to work on in IE7 before looking we can fix issues with rarely-used features. It’s not a great reason, but it’s the truth. If you’re interested, we have some script solutions that you could look into that allow you to open the .ico file and extract whichever version of the icon you’d like to see. Let me know if you’d like me to forward that information.

As noted above, the IE team responded to five other issues. This is great information – and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how IE7 improves before it goes gold.