On the Web Standards Group mailing list today, Stephen Stagg posted his list of IE7 updates and downdates. I thought it was well put and wanted to share it.
- More informative Error Pages.
- As a general usability feature, I thoroughly approve of the more friendly error pages in IE7. That way, when your site’s server goes down, people won’t just be dumped with a nasty pile of technical text.
- Transparent PNGs
- This is a good one, I can’t wait to begin using transparent PNGs, tho I can see lots of usability issues arising from sites mis-using them.
- Default Font Size
- The IE7 default font size seems a very small, even for me (someone who likes his font sizes at about 70%). Perhaps this will be changed in the final release, but trying to read the Register in IE7 using the default size is pretty taxing.
- Zoom function.
- M$ seem to be trying to cater for everyone by including both font size and overall zoom controls. However their zoom feature doesn’t seem to be as well implemented as Opera’s one and I have noticed lots of odd effects appearing while zooming.
- Invisible Menu-bar
- I know it’s not a WSG issue but: I like what they’re doing with the menus. By default, the menu bar is hidden, freeing up screen-space for the tabbar. However, when you press a standard menu shorfut (Alt- f for example), the menu magically appears and then hides again when you’ve finished. (You can turn the menu-bar back on if you wish).
- Tabbed Browsing
- Well this one was just waiting to happen. I’m not someone who expects my tabs to do lots of wonderfull things so I’m just happy that they’re included in IE7.
The Microsoft team is still hard at work, trying to fix assorted rendering bugs before launch. While they deserved to be criticized for the sad shape of IE6, their work on IE7 also deserves some kudos. Granted, it’s not as good as Firefox and Safari, but it’s getting much closer.