Modern Software Experience

2011-04-20

Small Issue: Large Icons

Vista View menu: icon sizes

Vista icons

Late in 2006, Microsoft introduced Windows Vista to corporate customers. Early in 2007, Microsoft introduced Windows Vista to the retail channel. One feature

While Windows XP supported 16 × 16, 24 × 24, 32 × 32, and 48 × 48 icons, Windows Vista supports larger icon resolutions, up to 256 × 256. The icon resolution used depends on both the display properties and user preference; Explorer's View menu enables the user to explicitly choose to display Small Icons, Medium Icons, Large Icons or Extra Large Icons.

genealogy applications

Back in 2009, more than two years after the introduction of Windows Vista, I published Vista Genealogy Icons. This article discussed a simple issue with many Windows genealogy applications; they still did not provide large icons. Few provide large or extra-large icons. Shortly after publication, RootsMagic 4 was released with a large icon. Several other applications have upgraded their icon.

Windows 7

Vista was introduced more than four years ago. Vista Genealogy Icons was published more than two years ago. Things have changed since then.
Windows Vista's successor, Windows 7, was introduced more than a year ago. I upgraded to a new PC running 64-bit Windows. Many Windows applications saw a major upgrade or service pack.

Yet many genealogy applications, even applications that have been upgraded in the meantime, still do not support Vista icons.
RootsMagic 4 supports Vista icons. Support for Vista icons is one of the few things that Ancestry.com got right with New Family Tree Maker. They even change the icon with every version, which helps distinguish between versions when you have more than one version installed.
FamilySearch has abandoned PAF, and has not even bothered to make a large icon available for download. Millennia has issued major Legacy Family Tree updates, but neither Legacy 7 (2008) nor Legacy 7.5 (2011) supports Vista icons. In fact, Legacy Family Tree 7.x still not work on Windows Vista 64-bits.

Vista icons 2011

Genealogy application icons 2011

I do not have exactly the same genealogy applications installed as two years ago. Some apps no longer exist, others are new, etcetera. That the selection of applications has changed a bit matters little, the screenshot still shows that, more than four years after the introduction of Windows Vista, many genealogy applications still lack large icons.
The situation has improved, there are more genealogy applications with large icons now, but it has not improved much. Most remarkable is that even brand new applications such as My Family Tree do not include large icons.

The application icon is far from the most important feature, Twelve Ordinary Must-Have Genealogy Software Features does not even mention it in passing. The application icon is part of the application's visual identity, it even is the only visual identity the application has while it is not running.
The lack of large icons is surprising because most vendors do care how good an application looks in demos and screenshots, and this is a relatively easy improvement to make.

Many feature requests require changes to the code, so things need to be tested again, to make sure the changes did not break another feature. Upgrading the application does not require any code changes. It merely requires that someone create the higher resolution images and adds these to the icon resource. It is a low-impact change. That many vendors still haven't bothered to improve their application icons is disappointing.

Once again, the applications that do feature Vista icons, whatever their other features or shortcomings, have been rewarded with link love.

updates

2011-04-24 Chronoplex My Family Tree 1.0.6.0

Chronoplex has released My Family Tree 1.0.6.0 and it includes a large icon.

2010-05-21 FTB and TMG

Family Tree Builder (FTB) 5.0 and Wholly Genes The Master Genealogist (TMG) 7 are absent from the screen shot, as neither application was installed on the new PC yet, but both FTB 5.0 and TMG 7 feature a large icon. That the TMG 8 Public Beta does not include a large icon is probably a beta issue.

links

references

link love